Because History Lives in the Present


Make a short smartphone video in which you answer one question: Who or what helped you become the artist you are now?


In some parts of the US, more than 40% of kids don’t graduate from high school, but studies show that when a kid likes one class or connects with one teacher, that student is much more likely to graduate. Music makes that happen.

Your video will help spark a student’s interest and empower a teacher to be that special person who sees that student to the finish line.


Little Stevie Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s curriculum uses the history and culture of popular music to make K-12 lesson plans for every classroom–History, English, Science, Music, etc. The free curriculum is currently used by 25,000 teachers and in all 50 states. Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Martin Scorsese sit on the RRFF Founders Board alongside Little Steven.


  • Keep music alive in the school system.
  • Help teachers create the cool class that keeps kids coming to school.
  • Use music as the common ground shared by all ethnicities, genders, and generations.
  • Teach in the present tense, engaging students’ interests, and working toward shared goals.
  • Create a pathway for touring artists to participate in a class and make the teacher a hero.


  • Open your video with, “I’m ____, and I’m Tracing it Back with,” and then tell us who or what helped you become the artist you are now. Want to go deep? Try one of the additional prompts below.
  • Your video can be as short as 30 seconds and as long as you like.
  • Send your video to


  • We’ll build a short lesson plan around your video that helps teachers make connections between your current career and the subjects they teach.
  • Optional: Add your name to the TeachRock Affiliated Artist Board, alongside our Founder’s Board of Little Steven, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese.
  • Artists will be offered occasional opportunities to participate in projects, but will NEVER be asked for a financial contribution.


Want to take it further? Try one of the prompts below, or make up your own. Students will love to hear you to speak your mind and recall what it felt like to be their age. 

  • If you could go back in time and speak to yourself as a teenager, what would you say?
  • Who was around you then, and how did they influence your career?
  • Do you think any of your favorite musicians are historically important beyond the music they made? How and why?
  • Who inspires you musically right now?
  • Do you remember a teacher or class in school you really liked? What was so great about it?
  • Do you remember a class in school you didn’t like? What was bad about it? How do you think it could have been made better?
  • What changed in your life when you began to make music?


We promise that we will not sell, license or lease the video to anyone else, or edit your video unless you ask us to do so.  When you provide us with your video, you grant us the exclusive rights to: (a) host the video solely on TeachRock servers (but not servers owned or controlled by others, such as YouTube or Vimeo); (b) feature the video as part of a lesson plan on; (c) use all or part of the video to promote such TeachRock lesson plan on Rock and Roll Forever Foundation social media sites; and (d) at no cost, offer and provide the video to teachers for use with associated TeachRock educational materials.