DAY 2: Students file into the room on day two after deciding they wanted to work on music videos as a group. The first step was to decide on the style of the music they wanted to make. Almost unanimously the students decided on rap music. Arranged at tables students decided on the names of their groups. Students who did not want to be part of the actual music were assigned to produce the music groups. The following is a weekly synopsis of the entire process.
WEEK 1: Students come into the class it takes about 10 minutes to get students into their seats and calm down all the fighting before I can even begin to explain the task for the week. I am holding in my hand album covers from, Snoop Dog, Monica, Parliament Funckadelic, Patty Label, MC Lyte, Destiny’s Child, and various other artists for students to pass around and discuss the various things to think about in terms of their video album cover art. After discussing the art in groups students meet with their producers to plan an album cover. Producer would spend the rest of the week working on graphic design presentations as artists worked on lyrics.
WEEK 2 : Students work solely on lyrics. As students began to write individual lyrics it became clear we needed to spend some time discussing the importance of cohesion in the lyrics and talk about the chorus. Groups were encouraged this week to complete individual lyrics that would take 45 seconds to perform and to work collaboratively to come up with a chorus. Because we only have 2 functioning computers able to run the photo shop software only 2 producers could work on album covers at a time. The other producers assisted artists with lyrics and timed artists performances to make sure they were at least 45 seconds long. It also became the job of the producers to help artists type lyrics and brainstorm ideas for their chorus.
WEEK 3: Moving into this week some artists are typing lyrics and working on choruses. Other groups are slowly progressing through their lyrics. Producers are changing backgrounds and letter designs on album cover art as they consult with their groups. I am finding myself in the midst of productive chaos and trying to remember this is the students opportunity to creatively express themselves and I am their to assist in their creating. At the end of the week I was completely shocked by the actual amount of production that took place in what appeared to be utter chaos. Two students decided to leave their group and become solo artists. I assigned them both to one producer.
WEEK 4: Students are finishing and typing lyrics. The have moved to the next phase which is beat choice. I showed each group how to navigate the website buffed beats to choose a beat appropriate to their song. Slowly groups are making progress and I’m reminding them of their goal. It is hard for me to have a class with this much creative control given to students, however they have taken complete ownership of the learning process. Some students stand in corners of the room practicing beats. Others diligently type and retype lyrics. Screaming my name when they need one of the 7 available computers, or are stuck on a rhyme, or having a conflict with another student.
WEEK 5: Students are working at their own pace. Some are continuing to work on lyrics. Some are in the process of choosing beats. Others have chosen beats and are working on photo shoots with their producer as the photographer. Some artists are practicing their lyrics to their beats. I notice students writing and rewriting lyrics as they perform their songs to the beats. Students have began working well over into recess and one group has began to eat lunch with me to stay and work through lunch. I cancelled one of our sessions this week and several students bombarded me with wondering why and when they could make up the work. I am learning to relax in the chaos and let the students guide the work. As we go into Spring break each artist has a CD with their chosen beat and are expected to come back to school after having finalized, memorized, and learned their rap/song to the rhythm of the beat.
WEEK 6: Students begin practicing rapping in front of the group as we prepare for video shoots. I collected all student lyrics prior to spring break and began analysis of the second part of my question. All students created cover art for a CD cover. All but one solo artists completed video shoots.