Hip Hop in Elementary Music

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Hip Hop in Elementary Music

June 7–July 3, 2021

The use of hip hop in the elementary music classroom is becoming more prevalent as music teachers attempt to keep students actively engaged in learning. Hip hop is continuously evolving and is displayed in movies, books, commercials and a host of other arenas that our students consume daily. However, there are few resources that inform teachers on how to teach meaningful lessons while incorporating Hip Hop music into their curriculum. 

Through research, group discussions, lesson planning, and using a digital audio workstation, students will gain strategies on how to teach music standards using hip hop. Participants will also learn about the historical context in which hip hop was created and how that relates to students today. Students will discover that connecting Hip Hop into the elementary music classroom has numerous benefits for both the teacher and learner. At the conclusion of the course, students will be equipped to utilize the lessons, strategies and ideas presented to create more diverse, inclusive classrooms that value the legitimacy and importance of hip hop.

Instructor: 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, mentoredand 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.

Course Details

 Hip Hop in Elementary Music

Course Code 7851

Franklin Willis

June 7-July 3, 2021
(asynchronous online)

1 Graduate Credit 

$355, due in full with registration

Chat Session
Two live Zoom sessions, dates to be determined with participants once the course has commenced.


Required Text(s)

Required Materials



MECA Online
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Summer 2021 MECA courses officially begin on Monday, June 7. Soon after you register, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. On the morning of June 7, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

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