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Connecting through Music

Group of ninth-grade boys around a keyboard

By Patrick, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow serving at High School for Recording Arts

“I have a student who is interested in music of all kinds. His taste is as wide as his knowledge of each genre is. That is definitely one thing we’ve been able to bond the most over. Hearing his insights into genres of music I don’t often listen to has been helping me to acclimate to the school’s equally unfamiliar social world. For example, he loves rap and hip hop, because that’s what he grew up listening to. When he describes what he listens for in a rap song, what makes it good, it resonates with me more deeply than it would if I heard it alone. In a similar vein, his explanations of what makes a good rap song give me a clearer lens to see into the lives of these students. Values like community, respect, independence, and dedication run deep in these students’ lives, and it’s plain to see that by listening to the same music that they do.The cultural gap is what I was most worried about crossing when I started this job; talking about the universality of music with my students is one big way I’m learning that the gap isn’t as big as I anticipated.”

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