Music in Me – The start of term 3

A group of song writers.

What a privilege it is to have an opportunity, through music (primarily Hip-Hop these days) to share my life with the students of Bloubergrant High through our shared enjoyment of music and creativity . June 2013 marks the completion of 4 years of the Beyond Ed/ Outloud Music collaborative project,Music In Me” at the school and the beginning of our 5th – what an amazing reality! It seems as if it was just the other day that I met with 20 interested students in the hall. Those 20 dwindled to a regular 6 girls in a matter of weeks (who were the stalwarts of the first 2 years). Our first (half) year in 2009, saw us producing about 6 songs together, including the BRHS School Song.

4 years later, meeting every Thursday from 3pm until about 6:30pm, it is now mainly boys in the studio (although the girls do make a show every now and then – sometimes on the mic, but often just to support the boys). The half-year so far has produced no less than 53 songs! Rap Titles such as “My Time”, “Put it on for my City”, “Up in Flames”, “All Night”, “Holla at ya Boi”; Rapper names like Illmatic, M.T.O (Myster the Omen), Killaboy, Young King, T-Man and Rap Crews like New Generation and New Life, are all part of this vibrant, growing culture. I am beginning to make sense of the lightning fast rap lyrics garnished with “haters” and “swag” and “shout-outs” and “cyphers”. The students are creating their own beats, downloading beats, writing lyrics and rapping while reading them off their cell phones. While one person is at the mic recording, it is common to see a number of others sitting, earphones in, rapping silently to the beat in their head (with hand gestures), or pacing up and down, earphones in, rapping silently to the beat in their head (with full body gestures). It has also been interesting to work with some new genres such as Spoken Word Poetry and a smattering of Deep House.

This term has also seen some brand-new rappers stepping forward – boys I have never met, yet who come loaded with enthusiasm. It is wonderful to see how the more established guys support and encourage them – there really does seem to be camaraderie between them, as if rap is their universal language. It is my privilege to coach these newcomers in mic technique and vocal control, gently supporting their efforts in the hope of seeing their confidence grow (some who arrive with this pre-installed, but a desperate need to grow their skills!)

A Malawian friend has at times been able to accompany me and is learning the ropes of making a good recording. He has a good ear, an aptitude for working with the equipment and a confidence to tell the students what they could do to improve their raps. As his skills grow (which in future for him may well develop into generating a sustainable income for him back home), I can be released more to develop the program by interacting with the students in their lyric creation and perhaps grow the “acoustic” side of things, writing songs/ arranging music from scratch, as we so often used to do (maybe draw the girls in again?).

The greatest success has to be the relationships (read friendships) that form. When I arrive, there is invariably a group all talking together, listening to beats, practicing/ performing a section of a rap. There is a bond of trust that is growing that leads to a deeper sharing of our lives. It was so special to receive a message from one of the group over the holidays merely(!) asking how my holiday was going. That, and the WhatsApp conversation that followed, have put me on a high!

In closing, I would like to cite two examples (and there are multiple):

One of the boys was angry about something at home (?) and an older boy said, “Don’t let it get under your skin. Do what I do. When I’m angry, I rap about it.”

One of the more proficient rappers arrived for a session and was clearly focussed on writing lyrics. When it came time to record, this normally fluent rapper kept “choking” (making mistakes). It turned out that the rap was addressed to his father whom he had not seen since his father walked out on him and his mother when he was 7 years old. It was the emotion of that memory that was causing him to falter. The words of the chorus: “If you knew I was dying, would it change you”.

Humbled and privileged.
Myles Bing

fake oakleys cheap oakleys cheap Michael Kors fake oakleys replica oakleys cheap oakleys fake oakleys fake oakleys fake oakleys replica oakleys Michael Kors outlet fake oakleys