Rockin' the Schools Class in Session

Class Descriptions

Rock Your Classroom!

Rockin' the Schools classes are free, on-site, interdisciplinary classes on the history of rock and roll that meet and exceed academic content standards.

Classes are offered throughout the academic year (October to June) at 10:00 am and 11:30 am in the Museum's state-of-the-art Foster Theater.

Find descriptions of each of our classes below.

Classes for Grades K-4

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"Shake, Rattle, and Roll": The Building Blocks of Music

Suggested grade level: K-4
Related Content Areas: Fine Arts, Science, Language Arts

This class is designed to teach elementary school students about the four basic elements of music—rhythm, pitch, volume, and color—in order to learn how musicians have used these elements to create some of the greatest rock and roll songs ever. Students learn by singing, clapping, dancing, rocking and rolling along with recordings of upbeat and fun songs such as Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" and the Isley Brothers' "Shout!" Video performances of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees are used to teach students about the history of rock music and help them apply analytical skills as they watch and listen.

 

 

Rock and Roll Band!: Meet the instruments

Suggested Grade Level: K-4
Related Content Areas: Fine Arts, Science, Language Arts, Technology

In this exciting, interactive class, elementary school students examine the instrumentation of a rock band, discovering the low notes of the bass guitar, the pounding rhythms of the drums and percussion, the melodies and harmonies of guitars, keyboards, and more. Students have fun learning about the characteristics of the instruments and their sounds—and even perform along with the band! By investigating how musicians arrange the various instruments of a band, students discover how the different parts of classic rock and roll songs are created. This class includes historic video performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, as well as love performances and demonstrations by the Rock Hall education ensemble. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, kids really do get a chance to ROCK!

 

 

"Tell Me Something Good": Music and the Language Arts

Suggested Grade Level: 1-4
Related Content Areas: Language Arts, Fine Arts

Many songs tell stories, describing their adventures in particular places at particular times. This class looks at some of the great stories of rock and roll and examines how lyrics can establish a setting, introduce characters, and develop a plot. Through exciting recorded performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees like Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Chuck Berry, and the Police, students learn how narrative can be developed. They will act out the undersea adventures of a "Yellow Submarine" and imagine what it would be like to be "Johnny B. Goode" by drawing what they hear and read in the lyrics, all while learning to summarize and retell the stories told through rock and roll.

 

 

The Roots of Rock and Roll: An American Journey

Suggested Grade Level: K-4
Related Content Areas: Social Studies, Fine Arts

In the 1950s a new and electrifying musical style called rock and roll swept the airwaves and grabbed the hearts of teenagers across the United States. This revolutionary music actually grew from strong roots in older styles such as blues, gospel, country, and rhythm and blues. Students examine classic video performances and recordings to see how musicians brought together these earlier musical styles together and connected diverse aspects of American culture. K-4 students will enjoy singing along with the Rock Hall education ensemble and using U.S. maps to explore various geographical regions, focusing on several key cities where the roots of rock and roll flourished.

Classes for Grades 5-8

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The Roots of Rock and Roll: An American Journey

Suggested Grade Level: 5-8
Related Content Areas: Social Studies, Fine Arts

In the 1950s a new and electrifying musical style called rock and roll swept the airwaves and grabbed the hearts of teenagers across the United States. This revolutionary music actually grew from strong roots in older styles such as blues, gospel, country, and rhythm and blues. Students examine classic video performances and recordings to see how musicians brought together these earlier musical styles together and connected diverse aspects of American culture. Students in grades 5-8 will dig deeper into the cultural meanings behind this music and analyze musical characteristics of each style.

 

 

Rock and roll and the Science of Sound

Suggested Grade Level: 5-8
Related Content Areas: Science, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Technology

We typically think of music as an art form, but every note we hear can be understood in relation to the laws of science. This class examines the basic acoustic principles in the sounds of rock and roll by investigating how all sounds are created by vibrations, how sound travels to our ears through moving air molecules, and how sounds can be represented in a graph by using an oscilloscope or a computer. Students will learn how the musical notes of instruments are determined by frequency and amplitude and how the shape of a waveform determines an instrument's timbre. Musical examples showcase Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and illustrate how we perceive the various elements of sound. The class concludes with a live demonstration of digital audio software in which audience volunteers get to record and manipulate their own voices.

 

 

"The Message": The Birth of Hip-Hop Culture

Suggested Grade Level: 5-8
Related Content Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts

In the early 1970s, the Bronx borough of New York City was home to the beginning of hip-hop culture. This class examines how young people responded to the social and economic crisis of the Bronx by creating hip-hop. By the 1980s, rap recordings took the voices of inner-city life into the mainstream, spreading it around the United States. Since then, parts of hip-hop culture—including the MC, the DJ, the graffiti writer, and the break dancer—have become some of the most important forms of expression for young people throughout the world. Students will learn about history, along with the musical tracks and vocal raps of old-school artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Afrika Bambaataa, musicians who sent a message to American audiences about what life was like in inner-city communities. Explore the history of the sound that changed American popular music forever.

 

 

"Fight the Power": Music as a Social Force

Suggested Grade Level: 7-8
Related Content Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts

In many times and places, people have used music as a powerful tool for social change. The story of rock and roll overlaps with some of the most turbulent times in U.S. history. In the 1960s alone, American society was being torn apart by debates over the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Liberation movement, and the Vietnam War. Since that time and well into the present, musicians have entered such debates by spreading messages of revolution, protest, and empowerment through musical styles as diverse as folk, rock, and soul. This class features songs from the 1960s and early 1970s that have challenged audiences to consider the alternatives and make changes in our society. Students explore recordings and videos of legendary artists to examine expressions of social commentary contained in lyrics, performance styles, and historical images.

Classes for Grades 9-12

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"The Message": The Birth of Hip-Hop Culture

Suggested Grade Level: 9-12
Related Content Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts

In the early 1970s, the Bronx borough of New York City was home to the beginning of hip-hop culture. This class examines how young people responded to the social and economic crisis of the Bronx by creating hip-hop. By the 1980s, rap recordings took the voices of inner-city life into the mainstream, spreading it around the United States. Since then, parts of hip-hop culture—including the MC, the DJ, the graffiti writer, and the break dancer—have become some of the most important forms of expression for young people throughout the world. Students will learn about history, along with the musical tracks and vocal raps of old-school artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Afrika Bambaataa, musicians who sent a message to American audiences about what life was like in inner-city communities. Explore the history of the sound that changed American popular music forever.

 

 

"Fight the Power": Music as a Social Force

Suggested Grade Level: 9-12
Related Content Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts

In many times and places, people have used music as a powerful tool for social change. The story of rock and roll overlaps with some of the most turbulent times in U.S. history. In the 1960s alone, American society was being torn apart by debates over the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Liberation movement, and the Vietnam War. Since that time and well into the present, musicians have entered such debates by spreading messages of revolution, protest, and empowerment through musical styles as diverse as folk, rock, and soul. This class features songs from the 1960s and early 1970s that have challenged audiences to consider the alternatives and make changes in our society. Students explore recordings and videos of legendary artists to examine expressions of social commentary contained in lyrics, performance styles, and historical images.

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