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Westlake High School Teacher Incorporates Math, Music

Math teacher Brian McClintock has rock and roll all figured out.
Math teacher Brian McClintock has rock and roll all figured out. Photo Credit: The Mount Pleasant Central School District

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Westlake High School third-year math teacher Brian McClintock managed to weave both of his passions -- Jimi Hendrix and radical equations -- into student lessons after a trip over the summer to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He was among 10 educators who were selected to attend an expense-paid trip to the hallowed halls of rock through a teachers program run by the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. The theater sponsored the trip to promote music as an educational tool.  Among the participants were high school and elementary teachers of English, social studies and art. McClintock was, however, the lone math teacher.

"I was the oddball, I guess,” he joked. “I don’t think they expected a math teacher to apply.”

McClintock's application essay on ways he could use music in his pre-calculus, calculus, statistics and career math classes impressed the committee judges, and he found himself happily packing for Cleveland.

Run specifically for the Capitol Theatre teachers institute, McClintock and his music history colleagues attended seminars run by Ph.D.s in sociology and musicology. They were provided with lessons to unleash the power of music across the subject areas.

“I got some really great ideas on using statistical data to compare Hall of Fame bands past and present,” said McClintock. “They are giving us access to their entire collection of archives and databases.”

He also plans to write lesson plans for a “Rock and Roll Road Trip” where students in career math classes will be the accountants for the band and be responsible for keeping track of ticket sales, road expenses and contracts. McClintock plans to keep doing what he loves best: inspiring the next generation of mathematicians and staying plugged into music. He will perform with the all-teacher kazoo band The Mistletones in the halls of Westlake High School this holiday season.

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