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Learner Reviews & Feedback for History of Rock, Part One by University of Rochester

1,136 ratings

About the Course

This course, part 1 of a 2-course sequence, examines the history of rock, primarily as it unfolded in the United States, from the days before rock (pre-1955) to the end of the 1960s. This course covers the music of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and many more artists, with an emphasis both on cultural context and on the music itself. We will also explore how developments in the music business and in technology helped shape the ways in which styles developed. Rock emerged in the mid 1950s as a blending of mainstream pop, rhythm and blues, and country and western--styles that previously had remained relatively separate. This new style became the music of the emerging youth culture and was often associated with teen rebellion. We will follow the story of how this rowdy first wave of rock and roll (1955-59) was tamed in the early 60s but came roaring back with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and then went psychedelic by the end of the decade....

Top reviews


Mar 12, 2018

Provided insight into what I was listening to as a pre-teen. I didn't have the exposure to some of the older roots or the an understanding of the business forces that shaped the music I had access to.


Oct 1, 2016

This course has really helped to fill out my piecemeal understanding of the development of rock music. The pace and content of learning has been well considered and Prof Covach is to be congratulated.

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1 - 25 of 330 Reviews for History of Rock, Part One

By Nathalie L

Aug 31, 2015

As a standard overview, the course is fine. However, the lecturer skirts around or hand waves away controversial or difficult subjects, and he's apparently afraid of offending anyone by getting too close to saying "fuck" or "sex" even in an academic setting. Additionally, this course won't introduce anyone to forgotten and erased artists of the past - women are largely absent from his history of rock, even though Janis Joplin and The Supremes didn't come out of nowhere. The quizzes are also too heavy on the trivia - "who published what when" questions rather than critical thinking questions about why or how.

By Kimberly D

Jan 18, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed the class! I would do 5 stars but sometimes the professor begins to talk about a topic you think you need to take notes on but then goes "but we'll talk about that in another week" or he jumps around a lot. Sometimes it is hard to follow. But other than that I enjoy the class a lot! Music is a passion of mine so being able to take course to dive deeper and to discover new music is amazing.

By Simon B

Jan 31, 2020

Excellent course that explores the history of Rock from the early 20th century to 1969. Alongside the various musical genres and currents that defined Rock, and the artists it involved. Though I wish some of the videos could be shorter or divided into 5 minutes format, allowing more relaxing time frame listening to them, the subjects are fascinating as we explore the important topics surrounding Rock (ex: The racism that black artists have experienced (and still face) over their artists' rights, the psychedelic era, the Payola scandals, the culture of UK Rock versus USA rock, etc.) In sum, a course that explores so many society issues that still affect us today. Since the teacher offers courses on the Rolling Stones and Beatles, it would be interesting to have courses dedicated to other artists as well (ex: Michael Jackson, Prince, James Brown, The Supremes, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, etc.). To conclude, an excellent course everybody should discover.

By Virat M

Apr 8, 2016

Fantastic!! Really enjoyed the course

Informative and enjoyable course which helped me understand the history of Rock/Popular music upto 1970. Prof Kovach's lectures helped me explore music and artists who I had long forgotten or did not even know of. This is a good course for both professionals like Dj's, student's as well as lay people like me who love both music as well as history.

The only problem I had is that one had to do a lot of hunting on the net and that took a lot of my time. But it was well worth it because of what I heard and saw.

The quizzes were sometimes too detailed and memory oriented. Maybe a more conceptual framework of questions can be considered in the future.

Will definitely do Part 2 shortly!

Thanks Prof Kovach and the Team. We are blessed by your effort and dedication

By Nefise Ç

Aug 13, 2021

Did not think I could learn this much about music when I first enrolled in this course. It not only expands one's rock music knowledge but general music knowledge as well. Changed my perception about music and definitely improved my taste. The professor is a perfect teacher and he is so easy to listen to, easy to understand. If I could give more stars, I definitely would. I would recommend this course to any music nerd.

By Chema R

Dec 10, 2020

Amazing teacher with incredible knowledge of the history of rock. From the very beggining you're hooked with all the many different and interesting stories he uses as references.

I recommend 200%.

By Phil G

Jan 16, 2017

I found the course to be very interesting. I enjoyed learning about the artists and songwriters that shaped the birth of Rock and Roll and made it into the genre that so many are great fans of.

By Mary A

May 29, 2020

This is a very comprehensive course. I learned a lot about both the major and lesser-known bands important in the rise of rock music. I am looking forward to taking part two of this course.

By Andrew G

Jun 30, 2016

Very, very well done course -- great information, well presented and well paced. Highly recommended!

By Hugh M

Apr 22, 2016

It's a great course and so is the book that accompanies it. However the Course and Book titles are not entirely accurate. It should be called 'An American History of Rock'. There is relatively little discussion outside of America and this is only to serve the discussion of American rock.

The book in particular would benefit from a section at the end of each chapter or sidebars 'Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic'. As music becomes more fragmented in the 70s I imagine this criticism will become more important.

Another thought would be if the Course put a play list together in 'Deezer' and 'Spotify'. That would definitely 5-star the course

Still it's a great course and I really enjoyed it.

By Aygul O

May 15, 2017

A compact course pulling together a vast amount of information. The quizzes could be designed to provide better help in storing the newly acquired knowledge in long term memory. Currently they seem to be designed to support the memorization of inessential knowledge.

By Sam A

Dec 4, 2015

Really enjoying this course (nearly done).

The subject is perfect for my age (about 50) as I grew on much of this music and play guitar.

Wish there was a way to incorporate the music.

I am pausing, going to youtube and back constantly but it is worth it.

By Sergey S

Sep 8, 2017

Everything perfect, but quizzes sometimes dig really deep in dates

By Geraldine S

Nov 23, 2016

Sorry but although I found the topic of interest I found the delivery very dull. Yes, Prof Covach knows his stuff but basically what we got here was little more than a reading of text from his book. I know he explained why the actual music was not included but think he could have done more to provide links and stimulate listening. I eventually just started reading the transcribed text of the lectures as I did not find looking at Prof Covach's talking head at all stimulating. Prof Covach did nothing to stimulate discussion in the forums and although I posted a few things there was very little going on in the forums. I bought the book on the basis of being interested in the topic but it is not at all necessary for the course.

By Carlos E A B

Feb 19, 2021

Very interesting course. I have been a rock fan since for as long as I can remember. I have never studied music formally, but even if this course does not seem intended for professionals, I could understand some concepts, specially when combining the videos with the book, the songs, and the additional videos from other sources.

I am very happy that Coursera allows us, in countries with difficult access to information and education, to learn and enjoy these types of courses, with Universities and Professors who only inspire.

I have come to understand many things from the music I love, and the context and background behind movies and/or series that portrait these times in history. All this while having fun and listening to new and known music.

By Paula S

Nov 2, 2020

I really enjoyed this course! I found it quite interesting. I plan to take "The History of Rock, Part Two. I am an old-timer, age 68, who lived through a lot of the musical periods described, but I learned a lot of new information. I was surprised that few performers wrote their own songs, in the early days and that performers were pretty much free to sing anybody else's music.

I do have a suggestion. I would like to see a quiz of less intensity, at the end of each week, rather that every two weeks. That is a lot of information to remember, especially if there is going to be so much focus on dates. I had a lot of trouble remembering if something happened in 1965 or 1956, for example.

Thank you for creating and presenting such a great course!

By Philip B

Aug 29, 2020

As a 66 year old lifelong Rock musician originally from NYC, with significant recording and live playing experience, as well as being a sometimes contributor to music ( mostly guitar) specific magazines, I was intimately involved with the subject matter. I found the course very entertaining, as well as instructive. Even for someone like myself. Kudos to excellent editing. Any facet or figure from the accepted historical record Can lend itself to overindulgence in excessive detail. There was none of that. Although, I enjoyed hearing about my long time acquaintance, Lenny Kay. We’d lost track years ago. But, hung out frequently during the 1970’s, I look forward to part 2.

By Doris G U

Oct 12, 2015

Hello. I really want to thank you to University of Rochester for this marvelous opportunity to learn without spending. I love music and rock over all that's why I decided to do this course first but I will keep on doing courses with you until I die.

I also want to thank Professor Covach. He's very clear and accurate on teaching and his comments are very objective. Thanks so much for making me feel very glad. I've been enjoying this time so much for giving me a very clear idea about rock. Please keep on. I deeply thank you. My best regards.

By shai f

Apr 2, 2016

First of all the course was fantastic!

It helped learn to appreciate a lot of different styles of music I wasn't even aware of.

It exposed me to copious amounts of great music I was missing and taught me so much about the music and the development of rock and music in general. The professor was awesome, and I loved to see how enthusiastic he was to teach the subject matter, which kinda made the whole learning experience so awesome.

I am starting now the next course and I just can't wait to begin.

Thanks again for all the greatness,

In regards,


By Deleted A

Nov 1, 2015

It has been a memorable experience! I thought that I knew all about Rock 'n' Roll until I was introduced to the course that was put together by University of Rochester! Well I was wrong! I got to know the historic essentials that helped me to build a competent and articulated opinion about the early Rock 'n' Roll era. I would gladly recommend this course to all people out there looking to dive into the Beautiful Madness of Rock 'n' Roll that will completely and totally take over their life and leave them sick and longing for more!

By Irma R

Sep 14, 2015

This nice course helped me to understand the rock music in more systematical, organized way. The lecturer was very good, the visual part of the videos helped a lot, and supplementary materials too. The only disappointment I had with sometimes too specific questions in the quizzes, which meant that I must stop the video all the time to make an enormously specific notes, and this kinda spoils the integrity here. Nevertheless it was a great experience, and I definitely plan to go to the part 2 in the next year.

By Zofia D

Mar 19, 2016

You can clearly see that the professor is a passionate and has got a huge knowledge about the topic he is talking about. What he says is interesting and valuable, I also liked to learn facts about historical facts and anecdotes accompanying the lectures. I learnt a lot and listened to a lot new music.

It takes quite a lot of time to watch all the videos, take notes (the exams are not that easy :) ) and listen to all of the examples, but it was definitely worth it.

By Samantha E

Aug 14, 2017

I am grateful for this class and I learned a lot about the History of Rock and Roll. I will definitely be taking Part 2 of this class.

My only suggestion would be to have music playing maybe even in the background or just some small clips to make it interesting. I understand that it would take more time and I know that this was discussed in the beginning but it would just be a nice addition. Otherwise, everything was great and I really enjoyed myself. Thank you!

By Корцуб П П

Oct 14, 2016

A great course that tells not just about history of rock, but about history of american popular music and about interceptions between different styles and approaches and how they formed rock music. It also covers topics about influence of technologie, people attitude, economy and business on it`s evolution. Don`t miss it, if you want to know about history of music more, or, as me, just to broaden your horisons. Interesting and entertaining in the same time.