Rapping and Writing

by Stacie MacBush

Rapping and Writing

I have really noticed a huge decline in writing with my students. When asked to write a complete sentence more than half of my students miss points for writing incomplete sentences. I have thinking of ways to make sure I incorporate writing into my music lessons every week.

One cool lesson that I have been working on with my Jr.High students has been helping with writing. This lesson has also been really fun! It incorporates character education that our school has really been focusing on lately.

Students are required to write a rap about following the “Warrior Way” which is our character education program. They work in groups to write a rap that uses rhyming and uses complete sentences. Writing a poem and a rap are so similar that students do not even realize they are working on their writing skills.

The next step is students write music to go along with their rap, practice it with their groups then I record them. We also make a PowerPoint to play on my projector while student perform their raps.

We invite younger students to our classroom to listen to the raps and view the PowerPoint. Each class gets a copy of our Warrior Way Raps and a book of the lyrics (PowerPoint presentations) for their classrooms.

Warrior Way Rap Performace Rubric

CATEGORY

           3                              2

1

0

Rhythm

The beat is secure and the rhythms are accurate for the style of music being played.

The beat is secure and the rhythms are mostly accurate. There are a few duration errors, but these do not detract from the overall performance.

The beat is somewhat erratic. Some rhythms are accurate. Frequent or repeated duration errors. Rhythm problems occasionally detract from the overall performance.

The beat is usually erratic and rhythms are seldom accurate detracting significantly from the overall performance.

Attention in Class

Student is focused and attentive throughout class and follows directions to the best of his/her ability.

Student is usually focused and attentive during class, but sometimes is distracted by others.

Student is sometimes focused and attentive during class, but is easily distracted by others and sometimes distracts others.

Student is rarely focused and attentive during class. Sometimes disruptive to rest of class.

Practice

Student’s performance indicates regular and sustained practice in class, with great attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates regular practice in class with some attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates some practice in class, but with little attention to areas of difficulty.

Student\’s performance indicates there is very little practice in class.

Dynamics

Dynamic levels are obvious, consistent, and an accurate interpretation of the style of music being played.

Dynamic levels are typically accurate and consistent.

Dynamic levels fluctuate but can be discerned.

Attention to dynamic levels is not obvious.

Expression and Style

Performs with a creative nuance and style in response to the score and limited coaching.

Typically performs with nuance and style that is indicated in the score or which is suggested by instructor or peer.

Sometimes performs with nuance and style that is indicated in the score or which is suggested by instructor or peer.

Rarely demonstrates expression and style. Just plays the notes.

Articulation

Secure attacks, sticking, hand patterns. Markings (staccato, legato, slur, accents, etc.) are executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Attacks, sticking, hand patterns are usually secure, though there might be an isolated error. Markings are executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Attacks, sticking, hand patterns are rarely secure, but markings are often executed accurately as directed by the score and/or the composer.

Few secure attacks, sticking, hand patterns. Markings are typically not executed accurately.

Memorization

90-100% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

75-89% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

50-74% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

Less than 50% of the piece was memorized and played accurately.

9 Points will be given for recording the rap as a group.

Total Points_________________/30 Points__________________

Grade =

 Warrior Way Rap Check List

  • o Rap Lyrics               20 Points
  • o Rhythms                  20 Points
  • o PowerPoint              20 Points
  • o Presentation             30 Points
  • o Participation            10 Points

_________________/100 Points Total

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie K.
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 01:12:59

    I really like this post about “rapping and writing.” Writing skills are important to success in education and in life, but many students would like to think otherwise. I teach a seventh grade world drumming class, and I require my students to write a character rap, too. Each quarter, my school promotes a new character word, and that word becomes the focus of the rap. I try not to set too many limits because I want to allow my students the opportunity to be creative. But, as Stacie pointed out, it is also a great opportunity to work on writing skills. After the students have written their raps for me, they perform them for the class. In my opinion, this also helps students develop speaking and performing skills. The students can take pride in it because it is something they created. We are helping them to take responsibility for their own learning and they do not even know it. It is a win-win for all! As music educators, we really do benefit our students when we choose to find ways to incorporate writing and other skills into our music curriculum.

    Reply

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