Tonight I finally had the chance to see #standwithteachers, a virtual fundraiser for the benefit of the educational TeachRock program, that Steven Van Zandt hosted on December 21.
The TeachRock program is a standards-aligned, arts integration curriculum that uses the history of popular music and culture to help teachers engage students. The rich multimedia materials at TeachRock are offered free of charge. I have an account and I’ve used the lesson plans on numerous occasions . If you want to know more about my experience of a TeachRock workshop in connection to a Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul show read here.
As well as being used in a classroom the curriculum can alos be used in online education, and the foundation reports that use of its open-source, online curriculum has increased by nearly 400 percent during COVID-caused school shutdowns. According to a press release, “TeachRock currently reaches 23,000 schools in nearly 7,000 districts representing all 50 states. TeachRock has users in 121 countries.”
The hour-long event of music and conversation included honoured educators who talked about working with the TeachRock curriculum. There were also segments that encouraged people to support teachers and students in their communities AND there were special, socially distanced, solo appearances of Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello, Margo Price, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen.
Remember, it’s most important to teach the kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think.Steven Van Zandt
Eddie Vedder was the evening’s first performer. He briefly mentioned teachers he remembered from school but also other musicians that had been his teachers throughout his life. After introducing it as “a song about a rebel in school”, he performed a rendition of Springsteen’s Growin’ Up, which was both energetic and dynamic.
Tom Morello, who was sitting in his home studio, was interviewed by Bill Carbone, (Executive Director, TeacRock.org). Morello talked about his mother (Mary Morello), who was a teacher, and the importance of education and of critical thinking. A quote from Morello’s new book Whatever It Takes finished the interview.
The world is not going to change itself; that is up to you. The people who’ve changed the world in radical or even revolutionary ways, throughout history, are people who had no more money, courage, power, influence, or creativity than anybody watching or listening to us.Tom Morello, Whatever It Takes
Margo Price then performed her own The King Is Dead, sitting by her piano and, at the very end of the broadcast, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen performed- also solo.
Browne sang his Christmas-themed The Rebel Jesus, and Springsteen, wearing an ugly flat cap, offered a slow, pensive take on Letter to You. “This is Bruce Springsteen, and I stand with teachers,” he said, after he performed, echoing the statement that most of the night’s other participants made as well.