The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Toddler Rock

Toddler Rock is a music therapy program that uses popular music to teach nearly 400 Head Start children each week through instrument playing, movement, singing, storytelling and pre-reading.


These activities increase pre-literacy, language and socialization skills of the young participants while aiding teachers in expanding their base of knowledge and confidence in using music purposefully. Research continues to demonstrate that when a child is exposed to music at an early age, his or her chances for academic success later in life increase exponentially.

Since 1999, the Rock Hall has partnered with the University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Beck Center for the Arts, and Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland Head Start to teach Cleveland's underserved three to five year olds and their teachers. Dr. Deforia Lane, an internationally acclaimed music therapist, leads twelve music therapists who work with the toddlers once a week.

Toddler Rock

  • enhances skills important for learning to read including letter recognition, rhyming and alliteration
  • uses multi-sensory interventions such as performance, movement, singing, storytelling and pre-reading activities to teach children how to problem-solve and communicate
  • promotes positive interaction between children, their parents, caregivers and teachers


Music Therapy

Our board-certified music therapists use music to help students develops critical thinking, self-discipline skills and improve cognitive development, basic math and reading abilities, test scores, the ability to work in teams, spacial reasoning skills and school attendance. 


We test students' abilities against a control group and can report statistically significant gains in the following learning areas:

  • Identify a letter by name. (“Point to the letters you know and tell me their names”)
  • Identify the sound the letter makes. ("Tell me the sound that letter makes.”)
  • Identify a word that starts with the letter.  (“Can you tell me a word that starts with that letter?)

Toddler Rock Highlights

Toddler Rock has been a testament to the wonder and efficacy of music.  There is a palpable burst of energy when 300 pairs of little feet skip through the huge glass doors into the lobby embellished with cars, guitars and neon signs pointing the way to music and learning.  I love to watch the eyes of the children when they recognize the letter of the day on one of the Rock Hall walls or when they shout out "That's my acoustic guitar!" as they pass an exhibit, or "that's Otis Redding in that picture.”  I know then that we are impacting their mind, their spirit and their future.
- Dr. Deforia Lane, music therapist - Toddler Rock
“The Jackson Five sang about the ABCs. Aretha Franklin taught us how to spell RESPECT. So why not teach your toddler the basics with a beat…now that’s a good idea!”
- Meredith Vieira, host of The Today Show speaking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Toddler Rock program