Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Really Rad Rock ‘n Roll Recital

A rock ’n roll recital provides motivation with a capital R-O-C-K! Your students, families, and friends will never forget the time they rocked their recital.

This is the fourth in a series of magical music recital ideas from my sister, Vicky Dresser.  It bursts with energy, entertainment, and educational value!

Energy and entertainment go without saying. But education enters in as students not only learn new music but the history and roots of rock and its rhythms. You might even have one or more students do a study of classical works used in—or as—rock pieces.

Ideas for Your Rock ’n Roll Recital


You can go casual or go all out for this sort of recital. Does anyone own a sequined Elvis Presley-esque suit? One of my students did!

T-shirts and torn jeans

Beatles’ era Nehru collars

Colorful hair



Rock ’n Roll Party Décor at Amazon

Oriental Trading Co. hanging records

Inflatable guitars


Bread cut into star shapes; add cheese spreads or deli meat

Music themed cupcakes

Mini microphones

Sample Program Order


Play recorded or live rock music as guests are seated. Each one should receive an 8 oz plastic cup to be used as rhythm instruments during the recital. (link to Wendy Stevens’ r cups) When it’s time to begin, students process to the front singing the phrase, “We will, we will rock you!” They use the plastic cups to replace the usual stomping and clapping.

As you introduce each student, (s)he should trot or run to the instrument or mic to keep the energy level high.

Possible Songs

These are in no special order. I’ve included oldies for a historical slant.

  • Your Momma Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock-n-Roll
  • Beauty School Dropout
  • A Groovy Kind of Love
  • Sooner or Later
  • Surfin’ Safari
  • Rock Around the Clock
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • Rockin’ Robin
  • Splish Splash
  • Blue Moon
  • At the Hop
  • Love Me Tender
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Yesterday
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Unchained Melody
  • Dust in the Wind
  • Bobbi McGee
  • The Beat Goes On
  • My Heart Will Go On
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • On Broadway
  • The Letter
  • Stayin’ Alive
  • Dizzy
  • Build Me Up, Buttercup
  • Spinning Wheel
  • Proud Mary
  • Tears of a Clown
  • I Dig Rock and Roll Music
  • Old Time Rock and Roll
  • Crocodile Rock
  • Roll Over, Beethoven
  • A Horse with No Name
  • The Peanut Butter song
  • Roll Over Beethoven (the Electric Light Orchestra version quotes bits of the 5th Symphony in both intro and outro)
  • Pictures at an Exhibition as done by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Fanfare For the Common Man as done by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Rhapsody in Blue by Liquid Tension Experiment, progressive metal
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King, Apocalyptica—cello rock band
  • Canon Rock by JerryC (Pachelbel Canon in D)
  • Madness, a ska version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake

Rock for the little ones

It’s not hard to turn a child’s song into a rock song. Your youngest students can get in on the fun with the easiest songs. You provide the rock beat as accompaniment, or bring in an older student or a drummer to help out. Tweak the title if you want. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Mary Rocked Her Little Lamb
  • Brush Your Teeth—by Raffi
  • Mahna Mahna
  • Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears by the Monkees
  • Muppet Show theme song

The outro

Now the rock ’n roll recital is over. Students are giddy with relief. Call them up front again for applause and photo opps. Thank the audience and invite them to stay for refreshments and to use their plastic cups for beverages if they are still in good shape following the intro.

Ways to Organize the Recital

Choose songs by artist or group

You could create medleys or mini sets of songs based on performers.

  • Beach Boys
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Doobie Brothers
  • The Beatles
  • The Monkees
  • Chicago
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • The Association
  • The 5th Dimension
  • Cat Stevens
  • Neil Diamond
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Seals & Croft
  • Carole King
  • Simon & Garfunkle
  • Three Dog Night
  • Eric Clapton
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Peter, Paul & Mary
  • Joan Baez
  • Bob Marley
  • Neil Young
  • Elton John
  • Billy Joel
  • Chuck Berry
  • Deep Purple
  • Elvis Presley
  • James Taylor
  • Janis Joplin
  • The Bee Gees
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • The Who
  • Eagles
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Choose Songs by Sets of Genres or Subgenres

You might select one or several songs—mini sets—representing types of music.

  • Classic rock
  • 50’s rock
  • Pop rock
  • Blues rock
  • Country rock
  • Hip-hop
  • Beach music
  • Celtic rock
  • Christian rock
  • Folk rock
  • Rock-a-billy
  • Soft rock
  • Surf music

Whew! You rocked this recital!

Join me next month for a fifth and final magical music recital idea. Until then, you might enjoy reading the three preceding ones:


Music Teachers Helper readers would love to hear about your recitals. Post in the comments!

About the Author

Robin Steinweg has found music to be like the creamy filling of a sandwich cookie--sweet in the middle--especially making music with family.
A great joy is seeing her students excited to make music for themselves. From her studio in Sauk-Prairie, Wisconsin, she teaches ages 4-84 piano, guitar, voice, woodwinds, ukulele and recorder.
Musically, she composes, arranges, performs, directs, consults... [Read more]


  1. Darren P

    Amazing article. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Robin Steinweg

    Darren P, thanks for reading! Let us know how your recitals come out, okay? 😉

  3. Antonia

    love the ideas! thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Robin

    Antonia, I’m so glad they were helpful!

  5. Rock Robbins

    Antonia – this is Rock from Music Teacher’s Helper. Thank you for jumping in and replying – the whole rock and roll recital idea sounds like tons of fun, doesn’t it?

  6. Rock Robbins

    Hi Robin – this is Rock from Music Teacher’s Helper. Thank you so much for sharing this article – the whole idea sounds like a blast. I’ve done a fair amount of recitals, but never like this. 🙂

    Rock on!

  7. Robin

    Rock Robbins, thanks for reading–so glad you liked it. Happy recitals!

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