Middle Schoolers Explore Rhythm and Poetry

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​In World Music classes, ​Middle School students have been exploring rhythm. Their unit culminated with an unforgettable “rap” presentation. Nowadays, when one thinks of “rap” music or “rapping”, it is usually considered synonymous with hip hop music. Its origin, however, predates this genre of music. Rap essentially refers to spoken word superimposed on rhythm and rhyme, and stylistically blurs the boundaries of speech, prose, poetry, and singing.

Anandhi, the music teacher, explained the evolution of the unit and how she introduced this form to the students: “The word ‘rap’ is often considered to be an acronym for the phrase ‘Rhythm and Poetry.’ Rap is found in hip hop music, and evolved as a form of expression particularly for disenfranchised youth to convey the social, economic and political realities of their lives that were not in the public forum. Usually, when people think of rap or hip hop, there is an immediate association with violence and vulgarity. We wanted to get back to the roots and the original spirit of the genre, and provide a medium for students to express their thoughts and feelings in a candid and witty manner through musical form. Also, it is very accessible for everyone to explore regardless of musical talent.”

On the night of the performance the students had the chance to display their talent as they performed the poetry they had themselves written to background music they had worked on for weeks with the support of the music department archives. It was a memorable night for both teachers and Middle School students!