Expand/Collapse Sound and Vision

Explore lesson plans and video to accompany the PBS series, Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music.

TeachRock has partnered with PBS, Higher Ground and Show of Force to create these lesson plans for the eight-part Soundbreaking series. These lessons are tailored for students in social studies, language arts, geography, science, and general music classes. Each lesson includes clips from the Soundbreaking series, archival photography, period advertising and journalism, and activities for students to experience the music-making firsthand.

The TeachRock project is an online educational resource from the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. See, where these materials and more are available free-of-charge to students and teachers everywhere.

  • From “Illustrated Songs” to the Music Video: A History of Sound and Image | Lesson Plan | Soundbreaking


    Uncover how the relationship between sound and image has shifted throughout the history of recorded music using this lesson. Students will learn about "talkies" (the first moving picture with sound), "musical shorts," television, and how the rise of MTV brought that relationship to a culmination.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Dressing the Part: MTV and the Disruption of Gender | Lesson Plan | Soundbreaking

    David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

    Learn about MTV created a visual space for artists to challenge gender norms, using this lesson. Students will study advertising to detect the things–clothes, haircuts, postures, body types–perceived as “masculine” and “feminine.” Students will then view images of Rock artists from the 1970s to identify the ways in which they do or do not mix gender symbols. By viewing and discussing clips from Soundbreaking Episode Seven, students then learn about the ways in which bands from divergent genres, such as Mötley Crüe and The Eurythmics, used the visual nature of MTV to present unexpected takes on masculinity and femininity. Studentswill also address the power of the music video in current culture by discussing the portrayals of femininity in a clip of Beyoncé Knowle’s visual album of 2013.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Annie Lennox on Using Music Video | Soundbreaking

    Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart discuss the music videos they made as the Eurythmics. Lennox explains that their choices in costumes, staging, etc. were deliberate and not superficial, such as her choice to wear a man’s suit as a means to demonstrate her equality with Stewart.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Annie Lennox and the Musician's Image | Soundbreaking

    Annie Lennox and Brian Eno discuss what it means to portray an "image" as a musician.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Beyonce's Visual Album | Soundbreaking

    Writers and video directors discuss the importance of originality to Beyoncé and other artists in video making and self-presentation, as exemplified in Beyoncé's 2016 visual album, Lemonade.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Bowie and Rock and Roll Characters | Soundbreaking

    A look at how musicians choose to portray themselves. David Bowie serves as a prime example of an artist whose image constantly metamorphosizes with the music.
    Grades: 9-12
  • Madonna and the Music Video | Soundbreaking

    Madonna's emergence as a performer coincided with her emergence as a music video star, notably in her hit single's video "Like a Virgin.”
    Grades: 9-12
  • The Divine Ms. MTV | Soundbreaking

    A look at the importance of Madonna's pioneering and life-long career as a musician and music video star.
    Grades: 9-12
  • The Early Videos of MTV | Soundbreaking

    An MTV VJ describes how MTV began, with hardly any videos, and almost none by well-established musicians.
    Grades: 9-12