The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Toddler Rock

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Imagine over 100 eager and wide-eyed toddlers entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for the first time. The enormity of the Rock Hall is evident in their expressions as they point to the larger-than-life props that hang from the ceiling such as the U-2 cars, and the infamous Phish hot dog and marvel “Look! that’s my car!” and “I want that big hot dog!” They can be seen strolling through the exhibit hall, gazing at the artifacts, identifying the parts of a guitar, and soaking in like little sponges, all the wonders they see. What they don’t know is that when they step through these doors, their enlightenment is ONLY THE BEGINNING!

Toddler Rock is a nationally acclaimed music-based outreach/education program for underserved preschoolers, their parents, caregivers and teachers. It was created at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The program was designed and is implemented by board-certified music therapists and targets 3-5 year olds. Its purpose is to promote positive interaction of children with their parents and teachers, and to increase the children’s academic, social, communication and music skills through the structured use of music. Skilled music therapists design music interventions aimed at enhancing the pre-academic skills that have been shown to be most indicative of later success in school, including letter recognition, rhyming and alliteration, all important for the acquisition of reading skills.

Music Therapy is a research-based profession.  The music therapist’s education and training equips them to apply music to accomplish non-musical goals.  Toddler Rock embraces this research in each session to give the preschoolers the best preparation for academic success. Toddlers in the program are continually assessed as part of research study to determine the impact of the program on student learning and behavior. For example, In the first session of Toddler Rock, the children were off-task an average of 43 times per hour. At the end of the 6-week pilot session, their off-task behavior decreased to only 12 times per hour. An impressive improvement of 72%.

Music becomes the center of the toddlers lives every Thursday morning as they walk into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and enthusiastically begin to identify musical instruments, and yes, even Rock Hall Inductees! As they clap and dance to the music of legends such as Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, James Brown, the Beatles, the Supremes, the Temptations, Bruce Springsteen and more, they are learning to appreciate and embrace music beyond the doors of the Rock Hall.

Toddler Rock has been chosen for recognition as a 2006 Coming Up Taller Semifinalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Humanities. The committee reviewed more than 350 nominations from 48 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Toddler Rock’s selection as a semifinalist, distinguishes it as one of the top 50 arts-humanities-based programs in the country serving youth beyond the school hours.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a magical place where we have witnessed the magic of the Museum’s Toddler Rock program since its inception in 1999.  Since the beginning of time people have been using music for many reasons. Music sets a mood, sets the stage, and sets the occasion to broaden one’s horizons. Nothing captures the essence of the human spirit like music.

The winning combination of music therapy, toddlers and the Rock Hall, equals an amazing magical experience for Cleveland’s toddlers.

Todder Rock is generously underwritten by the following organizations for the 2007-2008 school year:


  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Medical Mutual
  • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland

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