The Music of Rock and Roll has had a profound impact on the world of music and popular culture. Its influence can be seen in a wide variety of musical genres, from punk rock to hip-hop, and its musical legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians. For middle school music teachers looking to introduce their students to the history and culture of music rock and roll, there are a wealth of classroom-tested resources available. In this blog post, we will explore 10 of the best resources for teaching a full year of music rock and roll appreciation in the middle school music classroom. From music rock and roll lesson plans and music analysis activities, these resources offer a variety of approaches to exploring the genre and can help students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for rock and roll music.


Are you looking for some more lesson ideas to transform your music lessons? Then grab your copy of the 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum here.


What is Rock Music?

Before diving into the music rock and roll resources that will last you a full year of music appreciation lessons, it is important to know what rock music is, and what is a rock music definition.

Rock music, also known as rock and roll, is a genre of popular music characterized by its energetic rhythms, amplified electric guitars, and strong vocals. Emerging in the 1950s, rock music combines elements of rhythm and blues, country, and gospel. It embodies a rebellious spirit, challenging societal norms and pushing musical boundaries. With its powerful guitar riffs, driving basslines, energetic drumming, and dynamic vocals, rock music creates a visceral and intense musical experience. It has produced iconic artists and bands that have left an indelible mark on popular culture. Incorporating the music of rock and roll into music education can provide your students with a diverse musical experience, deepen their understanding of the genre, and encourage creativity and teamwork skills.


What is in the Music Rock and Roll Bundle

There are 10 Resources included in the Music Rock and Roll Bundle.

Each of the 10 resources is listed and linked below. Make sure you read on to find out more about each part of this fun and engaging music curriculum bundle.


The Origins of Rock and Roll – African and Jazz Music

The first unit of work to start your rock and roll journey is the Beginnings of Rock Music – African and Jazz Music.

In this unit of work, there is a focus on the origins of rock music and the captivating journey that takes middle school students through a rich tapestry of musical influences. Starting with the rhythms, melodies, unique instruments, and storytelling traditions of African music, students will explore how these elements found their way to the United States during the era of slavery, becoming integral to the development of jazz music.

The unit will then delve into the origins of Jazz Music. Students will explore the instruments that are used in Jazz Music, the rhythms of jazz, as well as listen to popular jazz standards that are still popular today. This study of African and Jazz music sets the foundation for the music of rock and roll, and will help your music students to appreciate the origins and roots of rock and roll.

Embedded into this unit of work are African Folk Tunes to play and perform on classroom instruments, along with several Elements of Music listening activities for both African and Jazz music.

You can learn more about this unit of work in this blog post, click the link here.


Rock Music History – The Pioneers of Rock and Roll

The next unit of work to continue your music rock and roll journey is the History of Rock Music – Pioneers of Rock.

In this unit of work your music students will be immersed in the electrifying world of rock music with a captivating unit of work that shines a spotlight on the origins and pioneers of rock and roll.

Your students will explore the dynamic sounds and revolutionary spirit of music rock and roll, this unit takes students on an exhilarating journey through time. Your music students will dive deep into the rich history of the genre, uncovering the iconic artists and trailblazers who laid the foundation for what we know as rock and roll today. From the rhythmic, blues-infused melodies of Fats Domino and the rebellious energy of Elvis Presley to the revolutionary musician Buddy Holly, students will discover the roots of this groundbreaking genre. By examining the influential figures and their musical contributions, students will develop a profound appreciation for the transformative power of rock and roll music, understanding its impact on society and its enduring relevance in contemporary music.

Incorporated into this unit of work are links to suggested pieces of music to play as well as Listening Activities for the 8 Elements of Music focusing on the musicians and their music that are featured in this unit of work.

You can learn more about this Unit of Work by reading this blog post. Link here.


Music Rock and Roll – The Instruments of Rock and Pop

The next unit of work to continue your musical rock and roll journey is to study the Instruments of Rock and Pop.

This fun, and hands-on practical unit of work focuses on the instruments of rock and roll and popular music. It is a highly engaging way to introduce middle school students to the different sounds and elements of rock music.

This unit could cover the various instruments commonly used in rock and roll, such as the electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboards, as well as their respective roles in creating the characteristic sound of music rock and roll.

By studying the musical instruments and techniques used in music rock and roll and popular music, your music students will gain a deeper appreciation for the technical and creative aspects of music-making. They will also have the opportunity to experiment with these instruments themselves, whether through playing or listening exercises, and develop their own musical tastes and preferences. Overall, this unit of work on the instruments of music rock and roll is a fun and interactive way to help middle school students explore the different sounds and elements of this exciting genre.

This unit of work also has links to several pieces of music to learn and play, along with lost of Elements of Music Listening activities for each rock musical instrument studied.


Popular Rock and Roll Musicians

The final unit of work for your music rock and roll journey is to study the Kings and Queens of Rock and Pop Music.

This unit of work delves into the key musical figures of rock and pop music from the 60s to today and is an enriching way to introduce middle school students to the influential artists who have shaped the current landscape of rock and popular music.

This unit explores the iconic musicians, bands, and solo artists who have left an indelible mark on the genre and popular music as a whole. From the Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 60s to the likes of David Bowie, Queen, and Madonna in the 70s and 80s, and the contemporary figures such as Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift, there is a vast range of artists to study and appreciate.

By studying the work of these key musical figures, students will analyze their unique styles, musical innovations, and cultural impact. They will also develop a deeper understanding of the evolution of rock and pop music, the social and political contexts that influenced these artists, and the ongoing relevance of this genre of music today. This unit of work on the key musical figures of music rock and roll provides middle school students with an opportunity to explore and appreciate the immense talent and creativity of these influential artists throughout the decades.

This unit features lots of music to listen to and study using the 8 Elements of Music. Each piece has been carefully selected to suit a variety of musical tastes, but you can of course change the music to something that will suit your and your students!


Music Rock and Roll Assessments

While studying music rock and roll with your middle school music classes, you will also need to assess your students in some way. To assess your students performances is an easy task, but sometimes you need other fun music rock and roll assignments to keep your students motivated and learning.

The first assignment to try is the African Music Composition Assignment. This music performance and composition project is the perfect accompaniment to the Beginnings of Rock Music – African and Jazz Music.

The “African Music Composition Project” is a fun and engaging music assessment that allows middle school students to explore the rhythms and melodies of African music. In this project, students arrange and perform an African Folk Tune on classroom tuned and untuned percussion instruments, incorporating their own original rhythmic and melodic ostinatos to enhance the composition. Through this process, students will develop their listening, composing, and performing skills, as well as gain an understanding of the cultural and historical contexts of African music. Additionally, students will write a music review of another group’s composition performance, which will encourage them to reflect on their own work and provide constructive feedback to their peers. This project also has the potential to foster a sense of community and collaboration, as students work together to create a cohesive and engaging musical piece. Overall, the “African Music Composition Project” is a fun and meaningful music assessment that allows middle school students to explore the rich rhythms and melodies of music rock and roll while developing their musical and critical thinking skills.


The next assignment will give your music students the chance to unleash their creativity. The Rock Music Design Project works best when competing the Kings and Queens of Rock and Pop Music and is a great way to finish the school year.

The “Rock Music Design Project” is a fun and creative music assessment that encourages middle school students to explore the marketing and branding aspects of music rock and roll. In this project, students choose a musician or band and create a logo, t-shirt design, and other marketing materials that represent the artist and their music.

In this creative assignment, students will learn about the visual and promotional elements that help make music rock and roll so popular and successful. They will also develop their design and marketing skills, as well as their ability to think creatively and critically about how to promote a product or service. This project can also be a great way to incorporate other subjects, such as art and graphic design, into the music curriculum. Overall, the “Rock Music Design Project” is an engaging and hands-on assessment that allows middle school students to apply their creativity and knowledge to a real-world scenario in the context of music rock and roll.


Bonus Music Rock and Roll Bundle Resources

Along with these 4 complete music curriculum resources, and 2 music assessments, several other music teaching resources are included in this year-long music curriculum.

The collection of resources in the music rock and roll bundle offers a variety of activities, worksheets and lessons to enhance middle school music education, particularly in the realm of music rock and roll.

This bundle includes two different Elements of Music Paragraph Writing resources that provide students with effective frameworks for organizing their thoughts and ideas when writing about music. The PEEL framework helps students structure their paragraphs by focusing on the main point, providing evidence, and explaining their thoughts. On the other hand, the TXXXC framework guides students to consider the topic, text, technique, and context when analyzing music. These resources empower students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills while exploring the elements of music rock and roll.

If you would like to know more about the 8 Elements of Music, read this blog post here. 


In addition, the bundle includes the popular music theory resources—Rhythm Music Theory and Pitch Music Theory. These resources delve into the fundamental aspects of rhythm and pitch, providing students with a solid foundation in understanding and applying these concepts in their musical endeavors. Overall, the music rock and roll bundle offers an invaluable toolkit for middle school music educators, providing engaging and comprehensive materials for teaching the elements of music writing and music theory in the context of music rock and roll.

It goes without saying that introducing rock and roll music appreciation into the middle school music classroom brings forth a myriad of benefits. Not only does it offer an engaging and relatable way for students to connect with music, but it also provides an opportunity for them to explore a rich cultural and historical heritage.

Rock and roll’s infectious rhythms, rebellious spirit, and diverse subgenres allow students to broaden their musical horizons, fostering creativity and self-expression. By studying the evolution of music rock and roll, students develop a deeper understanding of its profound impact on society, both past and present.

Moreover, the study of this music genre encourages collaboration, as students come together to form bands, experiment with different instruments, and perform classic music rock and roll hits. By embracing rock and roll music in the middle school classroom, you will not only ignite a passion for music but also inspire a lifelong appreciation for the transformative power of music itself.

Until next time

Happy Teaching

Julia from Jooya

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