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Cleveland museum offers a rockin’ education

Education has been a component of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission since it opened in Cleveland 25 years ago.

In a year with virtual classrooms, students learning from home and teachers and parents scrambling to find ways to educate children under those conditions, the Rock Hall’s resources never have been more popular.

“As of the current date, we’re reaching nearly a million students across 5,700 cities and 116 countries,” said Joe Butler, the Rock Hall’s manager of education programs. “We’re seeing a steady increase in usership from all corners of the globe.”

Rock Hall EDU, accessible from www.rockhall.com, includes professionally developed lesson plans, activities and downloadable activity sheets, presentations, videos, playlists and digitized source material from the museum’s library and archives.

“It’s a great asset for music teachers in this current climate who are really looking for and seeking out ways to engage students in a virtual place, where they can’t have recorder concerts or xylophone groups to keep kids engaged,” Butler said.

The resources aren’t limited to music teachers. There are lessons that use music to teach everything from math and science to language arts.

“Part of our core philosophy is being interdisciplinary,” he said. “Language arts teach plot, character, settings for stories. A lot of songs are great examples of those things in a small, compact, accessible format.”

Music can help teach those lessons to students with reading disabilities in a way that literature sometimes can’t, Butler added.

Programs have been built around 2020 Rock Hall inductees and the exhibition “It’s Been Said All Along,” which explores the roll black artists have played in shaping and changing attitudes on social and political issues.

Many Rock Hall inductees have been participating in creating special programming for Rock Hall EDU, from Chuck D of Public Enemy to Max Weinberg of the E Street Band.

With support from PNC Bank and PNC Foundation, Rock Hall EDU resources are available to educators and the public for free.

While the museum is unable to offer many public events due to COVID-19 restrictions, it has started Virtual Fam Jams to reach out to families. The first event held earlier this month on the Rock Hall’s YouTube channel included live performances from the Beck Center for the Arts, crafts with the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, a storytime with Cleveland Public Library and music education activities curated by the Rock Hall’s education team.

Future Virtual Fam Jams are scheduled at 11 a.m. Dec. 12 and 11 a.m. Jan. 9, 2021.

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