The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


Ball of Confusion: Rock Music and Social Change in the 1960s

Suggested Grade Level: 7-12

The history of rock and roll overlaps with some of the most turbulent times in U.S. history. In the 1960s in particular, American society faced challenges stemming from the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women’s Liberation movement. During this time many people felt that the world was a “Ball of Confusion,” as described in lyrics of the popular Temptations song. This class features songs from artists including Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and Jefferson Airplane, and helps students identify ways that popular musicians have used messages of revolution, protest, and empowerment to question society and effect change. Supplemental media includes recordings and videos of Hall of Fame Inductees.

Suggested pairing – Land of Confusion: Rock Music and Social Change in the 1980s

Interested?  Click here to book this program!

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Videos are offered as supplemental content to classes.

Assistant Curator Meredith Rutledge talks about Counterculture band the Charlatans.

See below for additional video resources related to this class.

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Selected Song List

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Class Resources

Students will explore the ways rock and roll musicians reacted to domestic and international events

Registering for this Class

To sign up for this class, click on the REGISTER NOW button below and follow the instructions for program registration. An education department representative will contact you within 2-3 days of the program request submission. If a representative does not contact you within 5 business days, please call the Education Department at 216.515.1202.

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Additional Resources




Students were able to make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and the material presented in the video conference. The clips presented gave the students a deeper insight into the events of the 1960s. I like the method the instructor used to have students analyze song lyrics to gain a deeper understanding of a time period
- Patrick Kelly, Holicong Middle School
The connection that the facilitator made with the students created such a positive environment for learning. Both John and Kathryn made the program successful and fun for my students.
- Andy Zimmer, Emerson School in Ann Arbor, MI
Brings an important part of American culture and history to the forefront and helps bridge connections between generations. Now students can talk with their parents, grandparents, and community members about the music and its meaning.
- Kimberly Young and Laura Bell, Cairo-Durham High School
Our students were highly engaged. The teacher guide was comprehensive. Using the teacher guide we were able to fully prepare the students. Students clearly saw a connection between music and history. Highly informative and engaging. Museum educator fully understood how to connect with high school students
- Tanya Lucas, Altoona Area School District