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become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Summer 2022 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Teach Me About Hip Hop: Learning and Creating Hip Hop Experiences in Elementary Music


June 27-July 22, 2022

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,065, due in full with registration


The use of Hip Hop music in the elementary music classroom is becoming more prevalent as music teachers attempt to keep students actively engaged in learning. Hip Hop music is continuously evolving and is displayed in movies, books, commercials, and a host of other arenas that our students consume daily. In this one week course, Mr. Franklin Willis will provide teaching strategies and ideas on how to utilize Hip Hop music to enhance student engagement and cultural relevance in the elementary music classroom. The participants will also learn the historical context in which Hip Hop was created and how that relates to students today. Throughout the course teachers will experience Hip Hop music making experiences through singing, rapping, movement, playing instruments, songwriting, using a digital audio workstation, and so much more. At the conclusion of this one week course, teachers will know the importance of Hip Hop music and be able to use the lessons, songs, and ideas presented to diversify their elementary music curriculum.


  • Gain an understanding of the historical importance of Hip Hop music
  • Break down barriers and stereotypes of teaching Hip Hop music
  • Acquire knowledge to teach Hip Hop elements to their students with creative and innovative teaching methods
  • Create unique Hip Hop lessons, ideas, and plans to integrate into their elementary music curriculum.
Housing Information


Chat Session

The course will have one weekly chat session and will be self-paced through the four weeks



Required Text(s)


Learning Platform Information (Online Courses Only)

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


Franklin Willis

For more than a decade, educator and leader Franklin Willis has served the students and families of the Metro Nashville Public Schools community. Through music, Willis has educated, mentored and developed young minds to be forward-thinking contributors to society. A servant leader specializing in authentic and culturally relevant teaching, empowering student contributions, and developing teachers to reach their full capacity, Willis finds true joy when at the service of others. As Elementary Music Coach for MNPS, he equips teachers with instructional support and necessary resources to strengthen their professional acumen and enhance their classrooms. This includes shepherding colleagues and teachers through the realities students are faced with around equity, inclusion and racism. Through his work, he has developed a passion in the cultivation of musicianship for young minds as every child has musical potential and deserves a music teacher who will see the best in them. Willis believes that music education is a vital tool to teach students about other cultures, create community, and inspire a love for learning. Willis consistently uses his network to provide opportunities for students to utilize their passion for music for all to see. This includes producing music videos and stadium performances at CMA Fest, a four-day music festival in Nashville, TN. Willis has created and facilitated professional development sessions for music teachers of all grade levels, sharing his unique and relevant teaching practices. He consistently collaborates with colleagues, community organizations, local businesses, colleges and universities to advocate for the importance of music education in our schools as well as developing curriculum that will lead to higher engagement from students. Through his work, Willis has received national recognition for his commitment to student learning, his passion for the profession, and his innovative teaching practices. He is a three-time recipient of the CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence Award (2016, 2018 and 2019). Willis is a children’s book author and graduate of the University of Memphis, earning a BMEd with an emphasis in choral music in 2009. In 2012, he earned the Master of Education Degree in nonprofit leadership from Belmont University. Most recently, Willis completed the Education Specialist Degree with an emphasis in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
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The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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