Monday, August 19, 2013

Observations from the Rock and Roll Forever conference

At the recent Rock and Roll Forever Summer Teachers' Institute in New York City, Patel Conservatory instructor Deborah Lynch studied how to incorporate rock history into standard academic curriculum for middle and high schools.

Patel Conservatory instructor, Deborat Lynch, right, with
with Hugo Burnham, drummer for the post-punk rock
band, The Gang of Four
Lynch is the coordinator and vocal coach for the Patel Conservatory Rock School program. She also teaches the new Vox-Voice Rocks! class offered at the Conservatory.

Here, Lynch shares some observations from the program she attended last month...

“As part of our final project at the Summer Teachers' Institute, my group looked at photos of the Beach Boys, The Beatles and Bob Marley (Killer Bs, as my team came to call them) when they first became popular, and compared them to photos taken later in the artists' careers. Among the changes that took place are the hairstyles of the artists.

We examined whether hairstyles influence music, or if music influences hairstyles.

We then created a lesson plan with the essential question, ‘Are musicians making personal, social and/or artistic statements with their hairstyles and how can these be identified through their music?’

This is just one example of some of the ways we can incorporate rock history in the classroom to help kids get excited about learning.

Overall, I walked away with some really fascinating discoveries about the history of Rock and Roll at the Summer Teachers’ Institute. Here’s a few fun facts you can use to impress your friends:

  1. The word "lyric" comes from the ancient Greek practice of singing poetry to the accompaniment of a lyre.
  2. John and Alan Lomax are known for their documentation of the American folk song before and during the advent of recording devices, primarily by visiting penitentiaries because prisoners sang folk songs to keep busy.
  3. "Punk" rock can be traced, in part, back to British "skiffle" bands that sought to emulate American blues "jug" bands of the 1950s.
  4. Background vocalists on recordings and in concert are really talented people who do not typically achieve fame with solo careers.
  5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, rock history has a place in social studies, history, fashion, anthropology, literacy, mathematics and music curricula.
Lynch with Phil Galdston, songwriter
who co-wrote Save the Best for Last
by Vanessa Williams.
It was a privilege to be part of the pilot program of "Little Steven" Van Zandt's Rock Institute.  I look forward to being an ambassador of the content when the program goes live on the web at the end of September!”

The curriculum of Rock and Roll: An American Story, which meets Common Core State Standards, will be available online September 23, 2013 to schools, at no cost.

Come train with us at the Patel Conservatory and create your own rock and roll history through our Rock School and Vox-Voice Rocks! classes.

Join Lynch and our other talented artists/instructors, Paul Stoddart and Dean Tidey, at a free Rock School Workshop on Tues., Sept. 3, 2013. For more information, click here.

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