The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


Posts by Kathryn Metz

Rock and Roll Goes Classical

Tuesday, January 29: 10 a.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz
A student channels Elvis Presley at 2013 "Teachers Rock" event that examined rock and other genres

Miami University of Ohio’s Dr. Ricardo Averbach believes that even seemingly disparate musical styles can come together in powerful ways. As the conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra, Oxford Chamber Orchestra, and annual opera production, Dr. Averbach also collaborates regularly with Miami’s world music ensemble director. Fusing classical music and world music poses its own challenges, but musicians are often even more reticent to mix classical and rock and roll, despite a long tradition of marrying the two. One need only listen to any Phil Spector, Gamble and Huff or Arif Mardin–produced songs for examples. In fact, the Rock Hall's education department currently offers a class called “Ambassador to the Orchestra: The Arranger in Rock and Roll,” where students listen to and examine the music of Maxwell, Dusty Springfield, Metallica and the Beatles to explore the intersection of classical and rock and roll. The Rock Hall had partnered with classical music organizations before, including Red {an orchestra}, Contemporary Youth Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra, so when Dr. Averbach and CODA’s President Dr. Anthony Holland of Skidmore College approached us with the idea of a collaboration, we were excited about the opportunity. 

This month, the Rock and ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Education, Event

A Bright Rhythm Nation

Monday, November 28: 5 p.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz
Learning at “Women Who Rock: Songwriting and Point of View”

The handwritten lyrics to Janet Jackson’s 1989 song “Rhythm Nation” are currently on display in the Museum’s Women Who Rock exhibit: With music by our side/to break the color lines/let’s work together/to improve our way of life/Join voices in protest/to social injustice. The song exhorts social change in the face of injustice, using music – and by extension, rhythm – as a unifying tool. It’s the perfect platform to talk about song structure (verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) More important, “Rhythm Nation” provides a unique point of view from which to draw conclusions about its author and her era.

We use the chart-topping hit as an example of songwriting in our Rockin’ the Schools class based on women songwriters, “Women Who Rock: Songwriting and Point of View.” We developed the class curriculum (one of three Women Who Rock–based courses) with a strong English–language arts focus in conjunction with the Women Who Rock exhibit. This gives students the opportunity to really explore ELA concepts while learning about the importance of women songwriters from Tin Pan Alley to Top 40 radio. Male and female middle school and high school students appreciate the dedicated listening ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Education

Twenty years after 'Nevermind:' Memories of Nirvana's hits

Friday, September 23: 4:59 p.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz
Nirvana's album 'Nevermind' was released on September 24, 1991.

Tomorrow, September 24th, marks the 20th anniversary of rock band Nirvana’s release of Nevermind. Widely credited for bringing the Seattle grunge and music scene to the mainstream masses, the album has since sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide. Kathryn Metz, education instructor at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, recounts hearing songs from Nevermind for the first time and shares how the album continues to influence two decades later.

Let’s be clear: I was a band geek for a long time. In some senses, I’m still that gangly kid who is all too familiar with Sousa repertoire and Mozart sonatas; I played the flute for 20-plus years. Raised on “oldies” and musicals, my parents always had a Rolling Stones, Supremes or West Side Story song on the record player. I learned how to play “As Long as He Needs Me” and “When I’m 64” with equal fluency as a Hindemith or Telemann sonata. On my own time, I religiously listened to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 every Saturday morning, memorizing Janet Jackson and Kriss Kross songs. Occasionally, however, something else would bubble to the surface and pique my curiosity, tugging at another part ...


continue Categories: Today in Rock

Video Treasures

Monday, January 10: 1:27 p.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz

Working in the Education Department at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has its perks.  For example, I have access to some of the best experts in the field, whether they are academics, journalists or musicians themselves.  Fortunately, the Rock Hall has worked hard over the years to chronicle exhibits, interviews and other opportunities that function not only as archival evidence, but also as fascinating windows into the thrilling culture of American popular music. 

Recently, we went through tens of videos that Director of Education Jason Hanley worked with our curatorial staff to create a few years ago and found that they would complement our education courses, providing supplemental material for teachers and fans alike.  We found an exciting sneak peek into the marketing strategy of Elvis, which we posted to our Rockin’ the Schools class site for 'Takin’ Care of Business: A Rock Band Finance Simulation.'  We unearthed a great video showcasing rhythm and blues pioneer Big Joe Turner that we now feature on our distance learning On the Road class page for 'The Big Bang: The Birth of Rock and Roll.'  We’re lucky to have our Vice President of Curatorial Affairs Jim Henke talking ...


continue Categories: Education

Teaching (Virtually) to Guatemala

Wednesday, August 19: 12 p.m.
Posted by Kathryn Metz
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

photo caption: Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Education Instructor, Kathryn Metz, talks about teaching the history of rock and roll to a Guatemalan school - from 2,000 miles away

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I never expected to be teaching the history of rock and roll to kids in Guatemala, but recently it became part of my job description. Now I can confidently say that I teach students from all over the world about the importance of rock and roll and how it impacts our lives, from listening technology to social consciousness. In fact, Guatemala was the fifth country (in addition to Mexico, Canada, England and Australia) outside of the United States that our videoconferencing program, On the Road, has reached. Yesterday, I taught one of the Rock Hall’s most popular distance learning classes, Great Moments in Rock and Roll: Popular Music Through the Decades, to the Instituto Experimental de la Asunción, an all girls private school in Guatemala City. The students were studying advanced English conversation and composition, and yesterday they put their skills to the test in the perfect setting of a survey class that gives a brief social and musical history of the 1950s ...


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