University of Cambridge > > Arts and Creativities Research Group > Beats Matter: Educational, Therapeutic and Cross-Cultural Applications of Hip Hop Beat Making and Culture

Beats Matter: Educational, Therapeutic and Cross-Cultural Applications of Hip Hop Beat Making and Culture

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Hip Hop is now the most listened to genre of music in the world, yet it is not widely implemented for educational, therapeutic or cross-cultural uses despite incredible potential and promise. While the uses of rapping have been examined and used somewhat, the applications of beat making and DJ’ing have not, despite its inherent multiple literacies/intelligences and applications. Dr. Gann will present on how and why Hip Hop beat making and culture can be used in a culturally responsive/sustaining way as an educational, therapeutic/wellness and cross cultural intervention as illustrated by the work of his non-profit organization, Today’s Future Sound. This includes an exploration of his Therapeutic Beat Making (TBM) model, which also addresses complex and developmental trauma, and an introduction to understanding the difference between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex/Developmental Trauma. Additionally, strategies to integrate Hip Hop beat making and culture into classrooms to increase cultural responsiveness and student engagement and deliver core content including STEM /STEAM content in non-traditional and innovative Project-Based Learning ways. Participants will learn basic history of Hip Hop as well as an introduction to beat making/music production with a live demo and audience participation to make an instrumental composition, or “beat,” on the spot and to perform live.

A clinical child and adolescent psychologist/psychotherapist by training, producer/beat maker and DJ, Dr Elliot Gann has been teaching in Oakland and San Francisco Bay Area schools and community settings for over a decade, and the past six years he has done this work with his non-profit, Today’s Future Sound (TFS). As Executive Director and lead instructor, his work with TFS has taken him across the globe teaching, presenting, consulting, organizing and performing in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia and working with more than 40,000 youth, as well as putting on “beat battle” fundraisers in almost all of these locations. In January of 2015 he joined the U.S. State Department and UNC Chapel Hill’s joint “Next Level” program to do conflict resolution and cultural diplomacy in Dakar, Senegal, and since then hasn’t stopped traveling doing similar cross-cultural work. In the past two years, Dr. Gann has taught and presented beat making/music production to 15,000+ students across the globe, and more than 40,000 over the past six years, including a recent teaching trips to, Lima, Peru (collaborating with D1 School of Dance), São Paulo, Brazil, El Salvador, and Colombia. Building off of both his research findings and experience, Dr. Gann is now leading TFS to continue such work and further advocate for its use, including expanded wellness/mental health, educational, economic and social justice applications, including his Therapeutic Beat Making (TBM) Model.

This talk is part of the Arts and Creativities Research Group series.

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