Music-infused workshops revolutionizing education


The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, is partnering with rock legend Steven Van Zandt’s TeachRock organization to host a series of transformative workshops that promise to revolutionize the way teachers approach education.

The TeachRock workshops, sponsored by Harmony Insurance, will take place at LIMEHoF’s Stony Brook location at 97 Main St. The first workshop, “Intro to TeachRock,” is Sunday, Sept. 17, with another workshop themed “50th Anniversary of Hip Hop” following on Sunday, Oct. 15. Both workshops will run from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Steven Van Zandt founded TeachRock in 2002 which is supported by a Founders Board featuring luminaries such as Bono, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen. It offers free, standards-aligned resources that utilize music to enhance learning in various subjects, including science, math, social studies, and language arts. The mission is to fill every classroom with the sound, stories, and science of music, with nearly 60,000 educators from all 50 states registered.

“We are so excited to give teachers this opportunity to learn more about Steven Van Zandt’s TeachRock curriculum and to give them some time to explore our museum,” Tom Needham, LIMEHoF’s educational programs director said. “My hope is that this leads to many music-themed lessons in the classroom and field trips to the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame moving forward.”

The inspiration for TeachRock came from Van Zandt’s personal experience. Music was his anchor during his high school years, and he wished there had been a curriculum that used music as a teaching tool. With the goal of reducing high school dropout rates and increasing student engagement, TeachRock was born.

“TeachRock teachers don’t tell kids to take out their earbuds, they ask them what they’re listening to and then make connections between their favorite music and the core curricula they need to master to succeed in life,” Van Zandt said in a press release. “This partnership will help my TeachRock team create more of those educators whose cool class keeps kids coming to school.”

The workshops are not just any professional development sessions. They are an opportunity for educators to tap into the power of music as a teaching tool, and at the heart of it all is TeachRock Star Teacher Stephanie Arnell.

Arnell, a seasoned educator from Freeport Public Schools, is a fifth grade music teacher at Caroline’s G. Atkinson School. She has been at the forefront of promoting arts integration in her district.

Arnell shared her insights into the TeachRock curriculum and the upcoming workshops. She said TeachRock uses the universal language of music, spanning genres like rock, blues, and hip-hop, to engage students and enhance their learning experience.

The curriculum is entirely free and aims to teach various subjects, including history, mathematics, science, and more.

“All teachers will have the opportunity to integrate the curriculum into their classrooms effectively as there’s different lessons that are scaffolded for students ranging from elementary to high school levels, offering lessons that are specifically tailored to each educational stage,” Arnell said.

“There’s lessons that covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including STEM, music, history, and mathematics. We hope that educators will attend the workshops and discover valuable teaching resources that they can incorporate into their lessons. Even if they choose not to adopt the entire curriculum, but maybe there’s a lesson in there that you could say, oh, great, you know what this lesson is perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month or so.”

Arnell will lead the workshops and share her expertise in using TeachRock lesson plans with local educators. She emphasized the curriculum’s flexibility, which can be tailored to different grade levels and subjects. Teachers attending the workshops can expect to discover engaging lessons that connect historical events to music, making learning more relatable and enjoyable for students.

“Looking at curriculum through a musical lens keeps students engaged while they don’t even realize they are learning,” Arnell said. “For example, learning the history of MLK Day through Stevie Wonder’s song “Happy Birthday” or using data from Beyonce’s Instagram account to practice calculating ratios.

“I’ve seen in my classroom the way students gravitate towards TeachRock lessons and I’m excited to spread that enthusiasm to teachers and students on Long Island.”

Attendees will not only gain valuable insights into TeachRock’s curriculum but also receive free access to the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame museum. This partnership between LIMEHoF and TeachRock aims to provide educators with the opportunity to explore the rich musical history of Long Island and integrate it into their teaching.

“We’ve seen for years how the shared interest in music helps forge connections between teachers and students, and every year we witness how arts-integrated math, science, and social studies classes pull students from the margins and inspire them to participate,” Bill Carbone, TeachRock executive director said in a press release. “We’re thrilled to partner with LIMEHOF to help as many LI teachers as possible get excited about inspiring their students through the arts.”

Additionally, these workshops offer a chance for teachers to earn NY CTLE credits through TeachRock. Many educators are required to accumulate professional development hours.

“By coming to these workshops that are free, you can get hours for your professional development,” Arnell said. “Many times, you have to pay for the CTL, you need to take a course and pay for it. But since TeachRock is offering this for free, and they got their nonprofit, they got a company that is backing them that’s paid for it all.”