"Fight The Power": Music as a Social Force

Suggested Grade Level: 7-12

In many times and places, people have used music as a powerful tool for social change.  The story of rock and roll overlaps with some of the most turbulent times in U.S. history.  In the 1960s alone, American society was being torn apart by debates over the Cold War, Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women’s Liberation movement.  Since that time and well into the present, musicians have entered such debates by spreading messages of revolution, protest, and empowerment through musical styles as diverse as folk, rock, and soul.  This class features songs from the 1960s and early 1970s that have challenged audiences to consider the alternatives and make changes in our society.  Students explore recordings and videos of legendary artists to examine expressions of social commentary contained in lyrics, performance styles, and historical images.

Related Standards:  English-Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts-Music

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Videos are offered as supplemental content to classes.

Director of Curatorial Affairs Howard Kramer talks about folk singer Pete Seeger's acoustic guitar

See below for more video resources.

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Click here for teacher research guides related to this class.

 

Selected Song List

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Class Resources

Students will discuss political turmoil that faced the nation in the 1960s.

Registering for this Class

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Additional Resources

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    Videos



      It was a BLAST. Not only did the students love it, but the teachers did as well.
      - Ashley Aumiller, Spectrum
      The presenter was exceptional and held the students’ interest throughout. She engaged students and related well to them.
      - Joanna Clancy; Elyria High
      The multi-dimensional presentation challenged each student and myself to consider different ways of understanding how music affects culture and consequently, the world.
      - Anonymous teacher