This lesson, re-posted on EducationWorld with permission from Seattle radio station KEXP, was created by Tiffany Grobelski, Educational Coordinator-KEXP Documentaries and Michele Myers, Producer-KEXP Documentaries. The original lesson plan appears here.
See also on EducationWorld: What is Hip-Hop? A Music, History, Art and Culture Lesson
EducationWorld note: In the course of doing Internet research on hip-hop related topics, or in the course of accessing the resources (videos, Web sites, articles, etc.) listed in this lesson, students may encounter material that contains objectionable language or content. Teachers may want to limit Internet access and/or screen specific resources ahead of time to select the options that will be most appropriate for their class.
GRADES: 6-8, 9-12
TIME: Four to six 50-minute sessions
SUBJECT AREAS: Music, Cultural Studies, Language Arts
In this lesson, students will:
SKILLS: Analytical listening; critical thinking; expressing and supporting opinions in writing and discussion; independent research; collaborative learning; presentation skills
A classroom or computer lab equipped with:
II. LISTEN TO KEXP DOCUMENTARIES
The following are part of the Masters of Turntablism series:
#3 The First Turntablist Grandmaster Flash
#4 Grandwizzard Theodore and The First Scratch
#5 Grandmixer DST and Rockit, all i.
Students should take notes on what they hear, writing down important points. Give them a short break in between each documentary to finish taking notes and re-focus.
III. DISCUSS QUESTIONS
Keep these next questions in mind, since we will revisit them later:
IV. TEACH YOUR CLASSMATES
Each of these activities requires students to get into groups of four.
1. DJ YOU. "Everyone is a DJ…when you’re the one choosing music in the car, or loading up a CD player at a party; you’re a DJ." –Jam Master Jay.
If you make mix tapes, CDs, or iPod playlists, you are a DJ...at least an amateur one!
Some factors that make a DJ set good are: mixing skill, track selection, programming, and originality. Mixing is about using the equipment to incorporate blends, tricks, scratches, or effects. Track selection is about the quality and appeal of the tracks the DJ chooses. Some people say that the track selection should be a blend of popular/accessible tracks with new/unique tracks. Programming is about the flow of a DJ’s set. The DJ should try to make it progress smoothly and make sure the audience is not bored. Originality can be about sound, look, or effects—anything that makes a DJ stand out.
Create your own 20-minute DJ set. Some things to think about:
-Do the tracks you choose go well together? Why?
-How do you want your set to flow? How do you want your listeners to feel at the beginning, the middle, and the end of your set?
-Are you original? What can you do to make yourself stand out as a DJ?
Write down your set list and explain the choices you made.
2. Turntablism Argument. Is a DJ a musician? Is the turntable an instrument? Construct an argument in response to these questions. Outline first, then write an argumentative essay. Make sure you have a clear thesis supported with facts and examples. Your tone should be objective. Where necessary, address counter-arguments. Revise your essay at least once before turning it in.
VI. EXTENSION ACTIVITY
If the expertise is available locally, give your students the chance to get some hands-on experience with turntables. You can:
AllMusic: Turntablism. http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/turntablism-d4563
DMC World DJ Championships. http://www.dmcdjchamps.com/
Experience Music Project Sound Lab. http://www.empsfm.org/exhibitions/index.asp?categoryID=218&ccID=51
Washington Asian Pacific Islander Community Services (WAPI) Katalyst Arts Program. http://bgirlmedia.com/category/education
Runell, Marcella, and Martha Diaz. 2007. The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook Volume 1. New York: Hip-Hop Association.
Schloss, Joseph Glenn. 2004. Making Beats: the Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
Webber, Stephen. 2008. DJ Skills: The Essential Guide to Mixing and Scratching. Oxford, Focal.
Webber, Stephen. 2009. Turntable Technique: the Art of the DJ. Boston, MA: Berklee Press.
Associated Press. "Turntable Class Teaches the Art of the Scratch," 24 February 2004. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4296937
Czyzselska, Jane. "Let’s Talk About Decks Baby…" The Observer. 3 November 2002. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2002/nov/03/artsfeatures.features
Katz, Mark. 2007. "Men, Women, and Turntables: Gender and the DJ Battle." The Musical Quarterly. 89 (4): 580-99.
McNamee, David. "Hey, What's that Sound: Turntablism," The Guardian. 11 January 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jan/11/hey-whats-that-sound-turntablism
Norris, Sian. "Turning the Turntables," The Guardian. 28 December 2007. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/28/women.electronicmusic?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487
"Scratch." 2001. Directed by Doug Pray.
"X-ecutioners - Built to Scratch." 2004. Directed by Jake Davis.
International and National
-International Society for Technology in Education Standard 2, 3, and 4 – Communication and Collaboration; Research and Information Fluency; Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.
-National Association for Media Literacy Education Core Principles
-Washington State Writing EALR 1, 3 – Student understands and uses a writing process; writes clearly and effectively
-Washington State Communication EALR 1, 2, and 3 – Student uses listening and observation skills and strategies to gain understanding; uses communication skills and strategies to interact/work effectively with others; uses communication skills and strategies to effectively present ideas and one’s self in a variety of situations.
-Washington State Arts EALR 2 – Student demonstrates thinking skills using artistic processes of creating, performing/presenting and responding.
-California standards for Media Literacy, English-Language Arts Content Standard 1.7 (Grades 9 & 10) – Use props, visual aids, graphs, and electronic media to enhance the appeal and accuracy of presentations.
-California standards for Media Literacy, English-Language Arts Content Standard 1.10 (Grades 11 & 12) – Evaluate when to use different kinds of effects (e.g. visual, music, sound, graphics) to create effective productions.
-Seattle Public Schools Essential Writing Standards LA 9-12 – W1 Argumentative Writing
-Seattle Public Schools Oral Language Essential Standards LA 9-12 – Listening closely and participating productively; classroom discussions and collaboration; exchanging information and speaking effectively; presentation of ideas and information.
Copyright © 2012 Education World