Skip to Main Content

Rockin' the Schools: 5-8/9-12 From Four Tracks to Break Beats: Music & Technology



From Four Tracks to Break Beats: Music & Technology

Suggested Grade Level: 5-8 / 9-12

This research guide serves as a resource for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Education Department course, From Four Tracks to Break Beats: Music & Technology. For additional information on the course and for more teacher resources, see

Since the 1950s, rock and roll has been shaped by the craft and artistry of songwriters and performers who use innovative music technology to significantly impact the sound of music.  In this class, we will see how Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees have used technology to record, manipulate and create the ever-changing sounds of popular music.  Students take part in in-depth discussions of the earliest tape recorders used by Sam Phillips at Sun Records and the hip-hop beats used by MC Roxanne Shanté.  This class includes several live demonstrations in which students analyze the impact of music technology on a given sound.  Don’t miss this chance to gain insight into the world of music production in a variety of styles – from rock to hip-hop.

Search the Catalog

Click here for search tips and how to use the catalog!


These research databases can be accessed within the Library and Archives.

For Your Students

Online Resources

Rock Hall Video: Interviews

Carol Kaye

Arif Mardin


These resources, pulled from class discussion and selected from the Library and Archives' collections, will help you to:

  • Identify ways that artists have used recording technology to capture live performances and to create the various components of musical sound.
  • Describe how the use of multi-track recording technology, the synthesizer, and sampling opened new avenues for experimentation with musical instruments, composition, and sound engineering.
  • Give examples of ways that a computer enables musicians to play, create, and store music on computers



Inductee Spotlight: Tom Dowd

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer discusses Tom Dowd's career. Dowd was among the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of Inductees.

Archival Resources

New to Archives? Check out:

Rock Hall Video: In the Museum

Jimi Hendrix's Mixing Console

Depeche Mode's Synthesizer

Record Players

The Les Paul Guitar

YouTube Videos

Kraftwerk, "Trans-Europe Express," live at Roskilde Festival, July 7, 2013

Kangol Kid and Roxanne Shante, "Roxanne, Roxanne" / "Roxanne's Revenge" / "Have A Nice Day," Central Park

Depeche Mode, "Just Can't Get Enough"
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Library & Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |