Let's talk Rock!

A new course from The British Institute of Florence: a short thematic course of conversation and music!


English speaking practice in the context of your favourite music covering five decades from the 50s to the 90s.


Mondays 19:00-21:00

From 18th March to 29th April (no lesson 22nd April)

Cost €170. Single sessions €35.

Special price for British Institute students €150 enrolled on course 2018-19

Level of English required: Upper-intermediate +

Here is the teacher's presentation of the course:

Six ‘stand alone’ workshops that look at British Rock music with reference to social and political changes in each decade. Rock music as a talking point for sharing opinions.

The emphasis is on the music as a source of conversation in class. Each week students are invited to comment on and share views and reactions to the music of the period.

Before each weekly session, students will be asked to choose a favourite song from the coming decade under discussion. They will then be asked to talk about their songs for a few minutes. They simply need to say why they like the song, and share some personal reflections on how and when they first heard it and what it means to them personally.


A workshop for those with a curiosity for Rock music and know very little and for experts!

Week 1.

1950s and 1960s

Beatles / Rolling Stones / The Kinks / The Who

An evolution of sound in 15 years. The move from the single to the album and concept album with Sgt. Pepper. The emergence of ‘teenagers’ + swinging 60s and London. Vietman and revolutions of 68/69. Radio Luxembourg + Caroline.


Week 2.

1970s Part 1

Pink Floyd / Led Zeppelin / Bowie and Bolan / Nick Drake and Fairport Convention /

Changes in equipment and recording processes leading to louder rock sounds and heavy metal. Radio 1 and standard charts. New expressions with Glam rock and identities.


Week 3.

1970s Part 2

Queen / Slade / Punk Rock (Sex Pistols + Clash + women in protest with Susie Sioux and The Slits) / Kate Bush

The mid 70s politics/society and crisis and the punk attitude and rebellion. ‘Back to basics’ music with accessibility to music + similarities of punk and reggae and ‘outsider’ culture.


Week 4.


Joy Division / The Cure / The Jam / The Smiths / Madness / New Romantics

Crisis in society and political changes in early 1980s with Thatcherism and Nuclear tension. Reaction v ‘commercial’ music and growth of alternative scene and bands.


Week 5.


Stone Roses + Happy Mondays and Madchester / Britpop (Oasis + Blur) / Radiohead / Bristol trip hop (Tricky + Massive Attack + Portishead)

Manchester v London bands and Post Britpop. New Labour and Cool Britannia decade.


Week 6.


Post Brit pop: Verve + Travis + Coldplay / Muse / Elbow / Arctic Monkey / Amy Winehouse

Internet generation with streaming sites and downloading + eclectic sounds

9/11 attacks + 2003 Iraq War + politics of uncertainty with Financial crisis of 2007

Free placement test