Overview

“When we see a student wearing headphones, we don’t tell her to put them away, we ask what 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.

People

Trace It Back:
Jamila Woods

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Lana Del Rey

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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St. Vincent

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Selena

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Kesha (aka Ke$ha)

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Lizzo

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Big Freedia

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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P!nk (aka Pink)

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Mavis Staples

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Gorillaz

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Tame Impala

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Billie Eilish

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Ariana Grande

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Beyoncé

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Nicki Minaj

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Camila Cabello

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Dua Lipa

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Prince

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Selena Gomez

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Amy Winehouse

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Tyler, The Creator

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Rosalía

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Gary Clark Jr.

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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H.E.R.

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Chance the Rapper

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Kate Bush

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Betty Davis

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Thundercat

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Mitski

Grades: AP/Honors/101, Elementary K-2, High, Middle

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Drake

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Janelle Monáe

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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The Chicks

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Bonnie Raitt

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Nina Simone

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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Alice Bag

Grades: AP/Honors/101, High, Middle

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LADAMA

Grades: All Ages, Elementary K-2, High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Geography, Physical Education, Social Emotional Learning

Trace It Back:
ChocQuibTown

Grades: All Ages, Elementary K-2, High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Geography, Physical Education, Social Emotional Learning

Trace It Back:
Margo Price

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: General Music

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Mickey Hart

Subjects: Art/Design, General Music, Math, Science

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Steve Aoki

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Little Richard

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The Beatles

Grades: All Ages

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Whitney Houston

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Missy Elliott

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Grateful Dead

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Jackson Browne

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Thomas A. Dorsey

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Ma Rainey

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Mahalia Jackson

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Howlin’ Wolf

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Robert Johnson

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Aretha Franklin

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Gladys Bentley

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Louis Armstrong

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Bessie Smith

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Gil Scott-Heron

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Bad Brains

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X-Ray Spex

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Death

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Run-DMC

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Aerosmith

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Queen

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Bad Bunny

Grades: All Ages
Subjects: General Music

Trace It Back:
Miguel

Grades: All Ages
Subjects: General Music, Social Studies/History

Trace It Back:
Cardi B

Grades: All Ages
Subjects: General Music

Trace It Back:
Desi Arnez

Trace It Back:
Rita Moreno