TeachRock is Transforming the Education Landscape

Aug 29, 2023 at 11:03 am by JC Bowman

TeachRock is an educational initiative launched in 2006 by Stevie Van Zandt, a musician and actor known for his work with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. The initiative was founded with the support of prominent music and entertainment industry individuals, including Bono, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen.

The fundamental aim of TeachRock is to provide all educators, students, and families with free and standards-aligned educational resources. Van Zandt founded TeachRock to keep music and arts in the DNA of school systems and empower teachers to engage a generation that already has the internet in their pockets.

Van Zandt saw music as presenting positive representations of all learners, making real-life connections between the classroom and student experiences, and inspiring student success. TeachRock offers diverse resources that utilize music's power to enhance learning experiences and engage students in various subjects. Their program is especially beneficial for schools or students who have no way to access a music program.

TeachRock employs educators in the organization. In a recent conversation with the Executive Director of TeachRock Bill Carbone and Imani Wilson, Director of Media & Culture at TeachRock, I was able to confirm the organization's resources cover a variety of topics, including history, social studies, language arts, and more. They also shared success stories with students.

Imani Wilson

Music is utilized to explore various historical and cultural contexts, helping students connect with the material on a more personal level. These resources can include lesson plans, multimedia presentations, videos, audio recordings, and other interactive materials.

Imani Wilson shared, “We try to identify ways popular music shares our stories. Popular music can enliven any topic.” She adds, that “knowing how to learn is a skill that never leaves you.”

Bill Carbone sees music as “helping with the overall development and academic success of children,” especially when educators can differentiate learning activities to accommodate each of the intelligences in their classroom. Children thrive on social interaction and engagement while learning. These resources are designed to help educators and parents make their lessons more interactive and engaging by incorporating music and its cultural significance into the curriculum. Carbone discussed the benefit of collaboration through music, “children can develop skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”

TeachRock aims to inspire and motivate students while offering a deeper understanding of the subjects being taught, which allows students to connect with content in a way that suits their individual learning styles. One of TeachRock's strengths is its commitment to aligning its resources with educational standards, making it easier for teachers to integrate them seamlessly into their existing curricula. This ensures that the materials are engaging, educationally rigorous, and relevant to classroom learning objectives.

Throughout its existence, TeachRock has contributed significantly to enhancing the educational experience for countless students and educators. By recognizing the power of music as a teaching tool, the initiative has demonstrated how creativity and cultural elements can be utilized to create more dynamic and effective learning environments. Aligning interactive materials with learning objectives is a crucial aspect of their instructional design.

This initiative brings the world of music and education together. TeachRock offers students opportunities to learn and interact with their musical idols. TeachRock formed an Artist Council on June 5, 2023. This council comprises a group of renowned and celebrated musicians, all of whom are well-known in the industry. The members include Marty Stuart, Erykah Badu, Common, Sheryl Crow, Peter Gabriel, Norah Jones, DJ Khaled, Skip Marley, Darryl McDaniels, Melle Mel, Margo Price, Rapsody, Gina Schock, and Taboo.

These artists have come together as part of TeachRock's Artist Council. The primary objective of this council is to actively engage in educational activities by participating in lesson plans and other initiatives. They will also connect directly with students and educators who are benefiting from TeachRock's curriculum. Through this involvement, the Artist Council members aim to support TeachRock's mission and shine a light on the importance of music education in schools.

TeachRock recognizes the power of music to capture students' attention and make learning more relevant to their lives. TeachRock's transformative approach aligns with the skills that are increasingly important in the 21st century, such as critical thinking, creativity, cultural awareness, and adaptability. Music reflects societal values, beliefs, and struggles.

In Tennessee, TeachRock is now in Hamilton County and Davidson County schools. TeachRock functions as part of the 501(c)(3) The Rock and Soul Forever Foundation and is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Association for Music Education, the National Council for Geographic Education, and has collaborated with and partnered on projects with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Grammy Museum, Scholastic, CNN, PBS, ABC News, among others. If you are an educator or parent, you can access TeachRock at their website https://teachrock.org/. For additional questions email info@teachrock.org.


JC Bowman is the executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee

Sections: Education