“When we see a student wearing headphones, we don’t tell her to put them away, we ask what’s she’s listening to and then Trace It Back” –Stevie Van Zandt

The Trace It Back Library encourages students to learn more about their favorite artists and to explore the lives and influences of artists with whom they may be unfamiliar. Each Trace It Back entry provides rich background information on the artist, and highlights the influences of other artists on the selected musician.

Teachers can engage the whole classroom by choosing a current Trace It Back artist students love and following a path to a full TeachRock lesson plan. Trace It Back entries can also be used as a stand-alone resource. Students can select an artist, read the associated Trace It Back selection, and then show what they know through a variety of arts-integrated projects:

  • Create an Infographic: Students create a drawing or trace a photo of the selected artist and write interesting facts, song lyrics, or quotes around the drawing to create the infographic. This infographic rubric can be used to guide student work.
  • Create an Illustrated Timeline: Students use information from a selected Trace It Back entry to create a timeline of that artist’s life, then create illustrations to accompany points on their timeline. The timeline can include milestones in the life of the artists as well as quotes, lyrics, concert dates, etc. Use template #1 or #2 as inspiration for timelines, or have students create their own design.
  • Create a Comic Strip: Students depict events in the artist’s life in a comic strip format, creating a short graphic novel. Information in the Trace It Back selection is included to bring the comic strip to life. These templates can guide students’ creative work.
  • Create a Brief Video Biography: Students utilize the information found in the Trace It Back selection, along with creative commons images, to create a narrated video about the artist’s life and their musical influences.
  • Create a “Family Tree”: Students create an illustrated Family Tree which depicts the musical influences of their selected artist. This project will involve additional research to trace musical influences and the progression of the artists over time.
  • Write a Letter: Students write a letter to the artist sharing what they have learned about them, highlighting interesting facts, quotes or lyrics, and offering their opinion of the artist’s body of work to date. Here is a link to the format for a friendly letter.