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Rockin' the Schools: 7-12 Women Who Rock: Songwriting & Point of View



Women Who Rock: Songwriting & Point of View

Suggested grade level: 7-12

This research guide serves as a resource for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Education Department course, Women Who Rock: Songwriting & Point of View. For additional information on the course and for more teacher resources, see

Songwriting is a powerful form of expression that allows musicians to convey personal feelings, describe the feelings of others and even depict political and social issues. In order to communicate their point of view, songwriters must successfully write lyrics using rhyme scheme, metaphors and poetic devices and compose music employing melody, harmony, form. In this class, students will explore different song writing techniques by female musicians from the 1960s until now in order to understand distinct musical styles and interpret point of view within cultural and historical terms. Students will analyze and contextualize the lyrics and music of the Crystals, Aretha Franklin, Patti Smith and Sara Bareilles, gaining new insight into the diverse roles that women play in the history of rock and roll.

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

For Your Students

Online Resources


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

  • Give examples of ways songwriters convey point of view
  • Interpret the lyrics of songs by applying knowledge of poetry and historical references, especially considering women’s positions in society throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
  • Identify songwriting elements, three major songwriters of American popular music and contextualize songwriting trends historically and culturally.




Archival Resources

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Below is a list of links to archival materials on artists and topics associated with this course:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Video

Patti Smith performs at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, 2007

Carole King performs Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, 1990

Rock Hall Video: 25th Anniversary Show

Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Show

YouTube Videos

Adele, "From the Artists Den"

Carole King on songwriting

The Crystals - Da Doo Ron Ron

Patti Smith, "Times Talks"

PJ Harvey, Guide to Songwriting
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