Lyric Genius

Submitted by Trevor Black –

“LYRIC GENIUS” was a fall night program we ran to get kids who were less interested in MAKING music more involved.

HOW TO: Members split into teams, and then answer questions on how to interpret lyrics from artists they like. (All of ours were from the teen’s suggestions.) Some questions are “voting style,” where each team interprets a lyric, and then the group chooses the best answer. Teens are encouraged to think critically about their favorite artists messages or clever wordplay. (note: not all of the linked videos are clean versions. check ’em out yourself beforehand to be sure…sorry¬†ūüôā¬†

Here are some links to our sessions, with details below: 

Pass the Aux

Submitted by¬†Rafael Vaca –¬†

One program tip I can quickly share is an ice breaker I do called “Pass the Aux” which allows members to share their favorite songs and we discuss the musical elements of each. This helps me get an understanding of what genres they are fans of and what they might be interested in learning. It’s my go to whenever we have a new camp or the semester is just beginning so that we can all get to know each other.

Target Method Lyric Writing

 РSubmitted by Anne Joseph

Anybody having a hard time getting your students to write songs? Well, for me, the Target Method really helps my kids with getting words onto paper and allowing creativity to flow. I used this method with my class, and we won the Little Kids Rock songwriting contest in our age group and category!

First you start off by drawing a 3 ring target. The most inner ring is where you write the topic of the song i.e. Food, The Beach, Love, Friendship, etc.
Then in the middle ring, you ask your students to call out words that first come to mind when you say the topic word (food) i.e. greasy, delicious, plenty, fruit, snacks, junk, tasty, fried, chips, baked.
After establishing those words, you then choose out of that middle selection one word (i.e. baked) to then expound upon in the last ring i.e. cake, dessert, apple pies, sweet, brownies, cookies, filling.

Now, you have a whole bank of words, that you came up with as a class. You task your students to write 2-4 lines using the words on the board. After some time, the students present their 2-4 lines with a melody they have come up with, or some students may rap their lines. As the teacher, you discern which melody is catchy, simple, and easily played. You also establish the notes that are being sung/played, the rhythm, beat, & the tempo.

A student’s example could be:
Thinking about food gets me hungry all the time
The grease, the taste of it is now on my mind
Chips, brownies, cakes, I would choose
Even though my mom says “Eat more fruit!”

Give it a try! And if there are other methods you use to get your kids to start writing, please let me know!

Example “Target Method Lyric Writing”¬†


10-step process that gets your students learning quickly, efficiently, and making it fun! –¬†Submitted by Anne Joseph¬†
“Hey All! Wanted to share my teaching style program that works for any age. We’ve perfected it and actually have teenagers using this model to teach music even if they’re not an expert. Our motto is staying 1-step ahead of the kids we are teaching. The style is called BRING MAGIC and it’s an easy 10-step process that gets your students learning quickly, efficiently, and making it fun! This teaching style is the foundation of all our teaching at New City Kids and it makes learning fun for all ages and levels of musical experience. Check out the video!”

Recommended Mic Reflection Filter

Omar A. MirandaA review of the Aston Halo Mic Reflection Filter – Submitted by Omar Miranda

For the past couple of months, we have been testing the Halo in the Music Clubhouse as a possible addition to the iPad stations. The idea was that we could have good quality recordings no matter where the station was set up and because is such a cool looking and intriguing accessory, members would be more interested in exploring new things and producing on the iPads.

After receiving the Halo we immediately set it up and guess what? There was a massive line of members jumping with excitement and looking forward to recording with “that spaceship” or “futuristic” awesome “thing”. This has been a great incentive for younger members to get excited about music production and to participate regularly on our beat making and sound recording workshops. We’ve also tested it in our recording studio and works amazing as well. I would recommend taking it to the studio if you don’t have good acoustics or if you don’t have a vocal booth. I also recommend it for podcasting.

About the Halo itself. This is a very well made filter, sturdy and solid. You can fit pretty much any mic but some might be harder to set up or won’t work well due to their shape (ex. sm 58)

Some other things to have in mind:

  • The Halo is not small.
  • Members “will” feel tempted on touching and pressing the inner foam. Also knocking on the back shell.
  • It’s a bit hard to use when you have large groups.
  • This will not cancel noise. It improves the sound but if you are surrounded by loud sounds they are going to leak onto the recording.

In general, this is an awesome addition to your program space and I can guarantee more participation from your members.


Hip hop, grit, and academic success: Bettina Love at TEDxUGA

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, beardHip-Hop builds characteristics of grit, social and emotional intelligence, and the act improvisation – proven to be predictors for academic success –¬†Submitted by Corey Depina

This impassioned talk explains how students who identify with Hip Hop culture have been ignored or deemed deficient in schools because of mainstream misconceptions associated with Hip Hop culture. Through Hip Hop, these students embody the characteristics of grit, social and emotional intelligence, and the act improvisation – all of which are proven to be predictors for academic success. So where is the break down between formalized education and the potential for success for these students? Dr. Love argues that ignoring students’ culture in the classroom is all but an oversight; it’s discrimination and injustice that plays out in our culture in very dangerous ways.