Apply for a New Summer Institute–Rock and Roll: An American Story

During its early stages,“Little Steven” Van Zandt (left) discussed the creation of  The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation during a visit to the National Association for Music Education in Reston, VA. He met with John J. Mahlmann, former executive director of the Association, in 2007.

The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created by Steven Van Zandt. Rock and Roll: An American Story (RRAS) is the Foundation’s national middle and high school curriculum initiative.

Van Zandt supports music education and its numerous benefits. In 2007, he visited Capitol Hill on behalf of his Foundation and for the National Association for Music Education, and discussed that topic with elected officials.

Geared toward national and state standards, interdisciplinary in scope, featuring legendary performers, the Rock and Roll curriculum will be made available at no cost to teachers at every interested middle and high school in the fall of 2013.

In addition, teachers who are chosen from a pool of applicants, will attend the foundation’s new summer Institute , July 8-12, 2013, in New York City. Much of the cost of attending the Institute will be covered by Rock and Roll Forever Foundation donors.

Registration: 24 participants will be chosen for the Institute, 12 from the New York City area, and 12 from other locations. Applications are due by March 31st, 2013 and notification of acceptance will go out by April 20th, 2013.

Date and Location:  July 8-12, 2013 in New York City, on the campus of New York University (NYU)

Purpose: The goal of the summer institute is to train a select group of passionate, enthusiastic teachers who will become ambassadors of the Rock and Roll: An American Story (RRAS) project—both in their own classrooms, and in their communities.

The Institute: Over the course of the week, participants will engage in a variety of activities intended to familiarize them with the RRAS curriculum. In interactive sessions with the Rock and Roll Forever team and distinguished guests, participants will explore the course materials and consider the rich pedagogical opportunities that the Rock and Roll story offers. Activities will include:

  • Collaborative discussions and lectures about the curricular content, which emphasizes the social, political, and cultural contexts that affected the music and its audience.
  • Explorations of the curriculum’s instructional approach, which leans heavily on examining media—interviews, concert performances, archival journalism and video, and recordings.
  • Interviews and Q & A ‘s with Rock and Roll scholars and guests from the New York area.
  • Roundtable discussions with team members and fellow participants to consider how material might be adapted and configured to specific student populations and classrooms.
  • Final project: Creating original lesson plans with the Rock and Roll Forever team, using resources on the site. The best of these will become part of the online curriculum, which will roll out to the public later that summer.

The institute aims be an immersion in Rock and Roll history, culture, personalities, and ideas that will prepare teachers to make the content come alive in their classrooms.

Costs: Donors to the foundation are sponsoring each institute participant, including housing, one meal a day, and certain course-related activities. Teachers flying to New York City, will receive a travel voucher for up to $400. Participants will be responsible for the remaining meals, some transportation in the city, and additional activities.

Housing: Teachers from outside the New York area will be housed in pairs in hotels near the conference venue. Those who prefer to upgrade to a singe room, will pay for housing.

In addition to the teachers who attend the institute, in  fall, 2013,  the foundation will make materials available to teachers nationwide. The materials will  include lesson plans geared toward social studies, general music, language arts, media studies, as well as:

  • Multimedia support materials featuring legends of popular music
  • An arts-driven project geared toward an environment in which schools face cuts to arts funding
  • Designed to keep students engaged and in school

For additional  information or to apply for the Institute.

Photo by Becky Spray

Roz Fehr, NAfME managing editor for news, February 7, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (