Teaching Students About The Runaways

The Runaways, an iconic all-female rock band of the 1970s, shattered stereotypes and paved the way for women in the music industry. Introducing students to their revolutionary story can be a powerful tool in teaching them about gender equality, perseverance, and artistic expression. This article will discuss how educators can effectively teach students about The Runaways and inspire a new generation of musicians and world-changers.

Begin with the Band’s History

To engage students with The Runaways’ story, provide a comprehensive overview of the band’s history. Explain their formation in 1975 by drummer Sandy West and guitarist Joan Jett, who later recruited singer Cherie Currie, bassist Jackie Fox, and lead guitarist Lita Ford to form the pioneering group. Highlight their quick rise to fame after the release of their self-titled debut album and their most famous song, “Cherry Bomb.”

Discuss Gender Stereotypes in Music

The 1970s music scene was male-dominated, making The Runaways an anomaly for daring to break into such a heavily biased industry. Discuss how the band members navigated and challenged conventional gender norms by mastering musical instruments typically played by men during that time. Encourage students to critically think about gender stereotypes persisting in other aspects of society.

Emphasize Perseverance

Teach students about the struggles that The Runaways faced during their career – from lineup changes to managerial difficulties and negative criticism due to their young age. Discuss how these experiences tested their resolve but also fueled them to push boundaries further.

Showcase Their Impact on Music

Explain how The Runaways inspired a new wave of female artists such as Debbie Harry of Blondie, The Go-Go’s, and Patti Smith. Make connections between these artists’ responses to contemporary social issues and the foundation laid by The Runaways.

Creative Exercises and Group Activities

Encourage students to explore The Runaways’ music by listening to their albums, watching documentaries, and reading interviews. Use creative exercises like writing fictional band biographies or designing album covers to foster imaginative thinking. Organize group activities like debates on women’s representation in the music industry or invite local female musicians for a talk.

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