This class rocks

Feb 06, 2017

Emma Conard, DelVal honors student in Classic Rock class

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Emma Conard ’18 participates in Classic Rock, a new honors program elective at Delaware Valley University. 

Emma Conard ’18, a zoo science major at Delaware Valley University, grew up with classic rock. Her mom sang her “Hey Jude,” by The Beatles as a lullaby.  So, when she found out she would have the opportunity to take Classic Rock as an elective she was thrilled. 

As part of the University’s honors program, Conard is getting to hear directly from some of the music icons who have had such a large influence on her life. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Dick Taylor, an original member of The Rolling Stones and a member of The Pretty Things, spoke with the class through a webcam. Students were able to ask questions and hear about his memories directly. 

“It honestly blew my mind that we were going to do that (chat with famous classic rock artists through Skype),” said Conard. “I don’t think I would have had that experience somewhere else. It’s humbling to be able to talk to superstars. My mom and dad were both really into classic rock growing up. My dad has really influenced my music taste. Music brings me a great deal of comfort.”

Stephen Tow, the faculty member who teaches the course, has published a book about grunge music, contributed to music blogs and is currently working on a new book about the London music scene in the ’60s. He was able to connect with the guest “speakers” who Skype with the students through his writing career.

“They were gracious enough to do this as a favor,” said Tow. “I’m grateful that they’re willing to take the time out for our class.”

The course covers music from about 1963 to 1973. Students learn about the roots of classic rock, music imitation and innovation, and the creativity of artists during that decade. 

Classic Rock, an honors program elective at Delaware Valley University

Credit: Delaware Valley University. DelVal faculty member Stephen Tow’s Classic Rock class chats with Dick Taylor, an original member of the Rolling Stones, using a webcam. 

About 22 students are taking Classic Rock this semester. Students listen to 20 to 25 assigned songs per week and write about them. They also discuss the songs in class and write a paper at the end of the course. The course helps students develop writing, creative and analytical skills. 

Upcoming guests who will talk with the students via webcam include: Terry Marshall, from Marshall Amplification and Steve Howe, a guitarist from the band Yes. 

“Steve Howe has consistently been ranked one of the top guitarists of all time,” said Tow. “I had the privilege of interviewing Steve a few years ago and I’m grateful that he’s willing to talk with us.”

Marshall started the Marshall Amplification Company with his father in London in the early ’60s. Artists such as Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend would frequent the shop in search of amps. 

“Through the efforts of musicians and engineers, the Marshall name would become the sound of rock by the late ’60s,” said Tow. 

In class, Conard asked Taylor about his favorite memories of playing music, what songs he liked the best and his favorite bands. The former member of the Rolling Stones was happy to take questions, smiling and laughing as he shared his incredible memories. 

Conard is looking forward to coming to class this semester and especially to hearing from more of the guest speakers. 

“I really wanted to learn more about the history of Rock and Roll,” said Conard, of her reason for choosing the elective. “What the people were really like as humans before they became these icons who would influence generations.”


Watch a video about the new Classic Rock elective:


Join the Class: Members of the Delaware Valley University faculty, staff or student body who are interested in joining class to hear from the upcoming guest speakers are welcome to visit. Please reach out to Stephen Tow at to RSVP if you would like to visit the class to participate in one of the video chats with guests. 


To learn more about the Delaware Valley University Honors Program, please visit: