The creativity and innovation of two music teachers resulted in a trip to Orlando for themselves and their students.
On November 7th, Brandon Catt, Andrew Packer and 8 class members presented to educators from all over the country about Hip-Hop Production at the National Association for Music Education Conference. The class, which started last year, is a very unusual class that does not exist in many high schools which is why they were invited to the national convention.
“We are one of the only schools that have [the hip-hop class],” said Keaton Roberts, a student and conference attendee.
Along with Packer and Catt, the students who attended are Roberts, Taniyah Evans, Victor Marquez, Daniel Stojanov, and Aaron Alerre. They all helped deliver a presentation about the program in Orlando along with Kaliyah Donald, Taylor Koziol, and Keithan Bond.
Evans mentioned, “We went to state in January, and we just got back from Nationals. But Mr. Catt has been working on this course for the past 4 or 5 years, and he wanted to share it with others.”
Marzquez gave some more insight on the topic, saying the purpose was “to share with other music teachers, and he [Mr. Catt] wanted to bring students to share their experiences and what they thought of the class.”
At the conference, the students and teachers gave an interactive presentation in order to help the audience experience the Hip-Hop class.
Marquez said he “went around with an iPad doing a beat synthesizer (it’s a ton of drums)… and I was going around to teachers and I was like ‘make a track real quick.’”
Allere said that during the presentation he performed a song he wrote to show what the class is about and what kind of energy the class has.
“I wrote a song the night before the presentation in the hotel room and we [Allere and Roberts] called it 9103 and it was just about having fun in Orlando he said.”
The students said they enjoy the class because it offers them a unique music experience, but they also relate the music to the world.
“We talk about real world problems and other political issues,” said Roberts, “we talk about everything, not just music.”
Evans, who took the very first class with Mr. Catt, circled back to their class discussions or, as they call them, the daily affirmations. Mr. Catt explained the way he taught and introduced the daily affirmations was to have the students “speak their truth and for the topic to either relate back to hip hop and music, or something that relates to their inner truth.”
Catt, said he wants his students to have a class to express themselves, and views it as an important environment for students to have.
Next semester, Mr. Packer will start teaching Hip-Hop Production 2. These two classes are designed to be taken as many times as a student wants.
According to Mr. Catt, “each time you take it, it’s a different experience and a different learning experience.”