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Rockin' the Schools Materials

Course Descriptions

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

The basic elements of music, for K-4 grades

Description:  "Shake, Rattle and Roll" is designed to teach students to identify and describe four fundamental elements of music: rhythm, pitch, volume, and color. Students will sing, clap, and dance along to upbeat rock & roll songs such as Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" and the Isley Brothers' "Shout" while they learn how these elements communicate meaning. Participants will also practice their analytical skills by viewing video performances of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees.

Rock & Roll Band: Meet the Instruments

An introduction to rock band instruments, for K-4 grades

Description: Join the Rock Hall band the Backbeats as they introduce the instrument families most commonly found in rock music: guitar, keyboard, and percussion. In “Meet the Instruments,” students learn to describe the way sound is produced by various instruments from each family through live demonstrations—and even perform along with the band! By investigating the roles of the musicians who play each type of instrument, including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, students discover how classic rock and roll songs are arranged.

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

Rock & Roll storytelling, for grades 1-4

Description: "'Tell Me Something Good': Music and the Language Arts" explores the ways that rock & roll tells stories. Participants learn to identify key details in lyrics through performances by Hall of Fame Inductees—including the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, and the Police. This interactive class guides students as they retell what they hear or read through words, pictures, and movements.

The Roots of Rock & Roll: An American Journey

The musical roots of rock & roll, for K-4 and 5-8 grades

“Roots of Rock & Roll: An American Journey” is taught at two levels.

At the K–4 level, students sing along with the Rock Hall’s very own band—the Backbeats—as they learn that music is created in many different styles. This class focuses on three genres: blues, country, and vocal harmony, and students consult US maps to identify key regions and cities where these roots of rock & roll flourished.

At the 5­­–8 level, students learn to identify historical and cultural contexts that have influenced rock & roll music. Focusing on blues, country, and gospel, this class digs into both cultural meanings and musical characteristics. Students compare and contrast historic and modern recorded performances by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and other artists to understand how musicians connect earlier musical styles and diverse aspects of American culture.

Rock & Roll and the Science of Sound

The scientific principles related to sound, for grades 5-8

Description: “Rock and Roll and the Science of Sound” examines the basic acoustic principles through examples from music by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Students learn how sounds are created by vibrations, how they travel to our ears through moving air molecules, and how they can be represented in graphs. We introduce the concepts of frequency, amplitude, and waveforms, and teach how these directly impact music by way of pitch and timbre.

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

Hip-hop's origins, for grades 5-8 and 9-12

Description: In “'The Message:' The Birth of Hip-Hop Culture,” students learn about key elements of early hip-hop: MCing, DJing, graffiti, and dance. By focusing on music production and interpreting vocal raps, students understand how artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Afrika Bambaataa expressed a point of view to American audiences about what life was like in their inner-city communities.

Fight the Power: Music as a Social Force

Music's role in social changes eras 1960's and 1970's, for grades 7-12

Description: In "Fight the Power," students will think critically about how rock & roll musicians in the 1960s and early 1970s challenged audiences to consider alternatives and make changes in their communities. Students will listen to and view performances by legendary artists as they are engaged in identifying social commentary in lyrics, performance styles, and historical images.

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