“I’m going on tour,” says Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Steven Van Zandt, “traveling the only way we can right now–on Zoom.”
Van Zandt’s tour, which is underway, visits teachers and students at TeachRock partner schools around the country who have been using the foundation’s curriculum throughout the year. Van Zandt and TeachRock staff observe classrooms and Van Zandt takes questions from students.
On Thursday, May 27, Little Steven visited Mr. Bradley’s Comparative Religions class at Newbury Park High School, as one of eleven classes throughout the United States, on the tour, during the class’s unit of study Religion and the Beatles? This unit of study examines the religious background and views of the groundbreaking musical group The Beatles. The religious aspects of Beatles hits, such as: Help!, Nowhere Man, Within You Without You, All You Need Is Love, Let It Be, Helter Skelter, George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, and John Lennon’s Imagine are analyzed. Particular emphasis is placed on the “spirit” of rock and roll during the Cultural Revolution, Harrison’s devotion to Hinduism and Eastern instrumentation, and Lennon’s advocacy of secular humanism. The Beatles’ religious interpretation by Charles Manson and the Manson Family cult will also be examined.
The impact of the Beatles upon popular music and global society cannot be exaggerated; they revolutionized the music industry and impacted and influenced the lives of all who heard them in profound and fundamental ways. They literally stood the world of pop culture on its head, setting the musical agenda for years to come. Even adults typically given to scorning rock and roll as worthless "kid's stuff" were forced to concede that there was substance in their music and quick-witted cleverness in their repartee. Without exaggeration, they mesmerized and transformed the world as we knew it.
Little Steven’s Virtual Classroom Tour also serves to highlight and draw attention to the impactful work of his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and raise vital funds to continue providing it to districts, teachers, and students.
TeachRock provides curriculum and training to districts for free and is funded entirely by grants and donations.
Launched by Little Steven and the Founders Board of Bono, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen, TeachRock.org has provided free, standards-aligned resources to help teachers, students, and families succeed for more than a decade.
TeachRock empower teachers and engage students by using popular music to create interdisciplinary, culturally responsive education materials for all 21st-century classrooms. The more than 200 lesson plans in the RRFF’s TeachRock curriculum integrate arts throughout social studies, language arts, STEAM, math, general music, and more. From The Beatles to Beyoncé, from early elementary to AP History, in the classroom or safely distanced—TeachRock offers engaging and meaningful material, all at no cost to teachers, students, and families.