Harmonious Beginnings MTS

Sparking Creativity with Hip Hop

Date:                   June 20, 2020

Bibliographical Information:

Hinton, Marva. (January 9, 2020). Hip Hop EDU: Use Music To Spark Students’ Creativity and Learning. School Library Journal, retrieved June 20, 2020 from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=Hip-Hop-EDU-music-Sparking-students-Creativity-and-Learning-libraries-literacy

Article Summary:

Finding innovative ways to hook our young students can be a challenge. Marva Hinton found educators from several different areas that are using Hip Hop to engage learners in many ways, and everyone is seeing the positive impact of it. When we incorporate the things that excite our students, it honors them in a unique way. It gives validity to their voice and helps them to feel accepted, but it also provides them with an opportunity to use their language and literacy skills, create something original and collaborate with other students that they may not typically work with. One librarian in Georgia created a recording studio in a high school library where students could produce their own hip hop tracks. It was so popular that students discovered the best way to get a turn in the studio was to collaborate with classmates so that everyone could have a turn to write a verse. Other students who have a talent for producing ended up working with students they might not have ever met if it weren’t for the recording studio. Another library media specialist at a Georgia Middle School used Hip Hop to motivate her students to learn the rules of citation- they were allowed to listen to songs they cited correctly, which was always a boring skill that didn’t go over very well, but with the new motivation of preferred music, they were excited about citations. Establishing rules and boundaries around controversial lyrics is an important step to consider when incorporating Rap and Hip Hop, but in the end, it sends a message of acceptance and gives students a place where they feel welcome and encouraged to express themselves.

Reflection on the State of the Content:

The article by Marva Hinton comes from a library journal source that is not my area of expertise, but I do find the subject of hip hop in the school setting to be an important topic to explore as a music teacher. The poetic characteristics of rap and hip hop are great for incorporating language arts into a music class, but also allows students to open up, be themselves and communicate in a language that feels like home to them. Hip Hop and Rap are the voices of our young adults and transcend racial and cultural boundaries. Although the history of Hip Hop is rooted in black culture, you will find that most middle- and high-school students spend at least a portion of their down time listening to it. That provides a unique opportunity to use a genre rooted in Black culture, with messages that speak to the Black experience and educate all our students about black culture in a way that honors their voice.