The Big Bang! The Birth of Rock and Roll

Suggested Grade Level: 4-8 / 9-12

In the early 1950s, a new form of music exploded onto the scene, exciting the growing teenage audience while startling many others who preferred the music of Bing Crosby and Patti Page. Popularized by disc jockey Alan Freed in 1951, the term “rock and roll” came to be used to describe a new form of music, steeped in the blues, rhythm and blues, country and gospel. Teenagers fell in love with this new sound, listening to it on transistor radios and buying it in record stores. Many parents believed that this music was simply noise that had a negative influence on impressionable teens. No matter your position, it became clear that rock and roll was here to stay, bringing with it important changes. Teenagers often rejected the values associated with their parents’ generation and white and black audiences broke down racial barriers as they sought out the latest rock and roll artists. This class will examine the importance of geography, race, technology, and teen culture in shaping rock and roll music. Students will learn about the changes that took place in this remarkable era as they watch and listen to vintage performances by Hall of Fame Inductees such as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.

Interested?  Click here to book this program!

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Videos are offered as supplemental content to classes.

 

"The Geator with The Heator" Jerry Blavat, a DJ from South Philadelphia known for spinning Oldies tunes, talks about the early days of rock and roll.

See below for additional video resources related to this class.

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Looking for project-based learning for your students?

Find out more about Voice Your Choice, an international project that invites students to create their own Inductee class. Looking for research projects for your students? Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library and Archives - onsite or online. You can find research guides about specific topics, explore what our collections have to offer and even find books at a library near you.

Selected Song List

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Class Resources

Students will learn about several pioneers of early rock and roll music

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

Photo Galleries


    Videos



      The presenter was very informative and full of energy. He connected well with the students and they enjoyed it greatly. They are asking when they can go on another videoconference with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
      - Jennifer Betz, Sheridan County School District #3
      It is a good way to get a Fine Arts half credit started and keeps the student engaged and interested in the art of music. It is an excellent way to get students involved in learning and understand that learning does not have to be dry and dull, but rather something that they should show interest in and engage themselves into the learning process rather than just be a spectator.
      - Mr. Lutz, Mr. Montgomery, Ms. Roberts of Newark Digital Academy
      This program did a nice job of showing how the economic and social changes in the United States after World War II caused change in popular music and how popular music of the time cause change in the culture of the United States. The music, videos, interviews coupled with a good presenter made for a very nice presentation that engaged my senior high band students.
      - A high school band teacher in Hinckley, MN
      My compliments to the Rock Hall for creating such an excellent program. [The Rock Hall education staff] proved to be excellent presenters and knowledgeable beyond the context of the prepared program. My students were impressed and inspired that such a cool job exists out there for someone who holds a college degree. This was AWESOME! My kids loved it! Thank you so much!
      - A high school U.S. history teacher in Arlington, TX