Steven Van Zandt’s School Of Rock
The curriculum, dubbed “Rock and Roll: An American Story,” was announced this week at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Combining history, literature and sociology, students will learn about the influence rock ‘n’ roll has had on American culture, politics and social movements.
Executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation Warren Zanes noted that one lesson from Rock and Roll: An American Story will use Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right” to look at the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case.
The program will cover the roots of rock in blues, country music, gospel and R&B as well as the genre‘s connection to early hip hop. Plus, the curriculum will examine the latest version of rock ‘n’ roll kids might hear today on YouTube, Spotify or Pandora.
“The reasons for this project are many, obviously,” Van Zandt said. “But as I looked into it, I saw one word recur in discussions of the drop-out epidemic: ‘Engagement.’ At-risk students are very often the students who do not feel engaged in school. Put another way, they are not seeing how the classroom relates to their lives.
“I met an educator – in my case, a librarian – who saw my interest in Bob Dylan. She encouraged me to make connections between Dylan’s songs and the world of literature. She helped me to see that ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ was part of a cultural legacy that included the Beats, and that the Beats were part of a story that included the very youth culture that was springing up around me. Suddenly the classroom came alive for me. I was engaged. Learning related to my life.”
Rock and Roll: An American Story is being piloted in four New York City schools and the pilot phrase will continue for two years in NYC and New Jersey schools.The curriculum, which is endorsed by the National Association for Music Education and the National Council for the Social Studies, will be available to schools this fall at no cost.
The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and NYU Steinhardt are holding a week-long teacher institute this summer about using the curriculum in the classroom. Additional teacher-training events will be held across the country after that.
For more information visit RockAndRollForever.org.