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Urban Arts and Culture

Our urban arts and culture projects are part of our work supporting music educators and teaching artists address popular music and culture in schools and community settings. K-12 music education approaches for addressing popular music in schools have focused largely on forming bands and rock or pop music. We are helping music educators expand such approaches to address music and musical practices relating to urban arts and culture such as Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music (EDM). 

Current Initiatives

Urban Arts in Schools

Our urban arts in schools initiative has its roots in research and teaching in Arizona State University’s Urban Music and Movement ensemble and related work in K-12 music education. To explore the potential for a similar integrated approach to music and movement in K-12 settings, we began asking questions such as:

  • What might Hip Hop and EDM music and musical practices look and sound like in K-12 music programs?
  • What is the potential for urban music and movement ensembles in K-12 settings?
  • Who would be interested in facilitating Urban Music and Movement Ensembles in their schools?
  • What skills and understanding do music and dance teachers need to facilitate Urban Music and Movement Ensembles in their schools?
  • How might music and dance teachers collaborate to facilitate music and movement ensembles?
  • What roles might musicians and dancers play in supporting K-12 or community music and movement ensembles?
  • How might secondary students engage in Urban Music and Movement Ensembles?
  • What might secondary students learn in Urban Music and Movement Ensembles ?
  • What are secondary students’ perspectives on engaging with urban arts and culture in music programs?

We are primarily interested in developing long-term sustainable solutions, pedagogy, and curricula that can impact young people and school or community programs while transforming music programs by expanding the types of musical opportunities that exist for young people. (Feel free to contact us if you are interested in partnering or collaborating on this work).

Phase 1

To address these questions and develop the pedagogy and curriculum for facilitating Urban Music and Movement Ensembles in K-12 schools, we began phase 1 of the Urban Arts in Schools initiative. With the support of a Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Research Council Grant we partnered with a local high school to build capacity to form an Urban Music and Movement Ensemble  as a pilot project to answer the above questions. Phase 1 is complete and we will soon share some of our findings. 

Phase 2a (in progress)

Phase 2 of the Urban Arts in Schools initiative began during the Fall 2015 Semester. Phase 2a focuses on developing the skills and understanding of people who wish to support Urban Music and Movement Ensembles in school or community settings. For the most part, this means:

1) Pre-service and in-service music teachers:  Expanding the understanding and skills related to music and musical practices focusing on Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music

2) Artists who already have experience with Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music: Expanding the understanding and skills of related to pedagogy and facilitating learning 

We are working to develop an ecosystem where music educators and artists or teaching artists work with one another in a robust, ethical, and equitable manner. This includes collaboration and relationship building. 

Phase 2a launched with a collaboration between CITME, ASU Music Education, ASU Urban Music and Movement Ensemble, ASU Urban Sol, and Today’s Future Sound to host several workshops in the School of Music and a number of community outreach initiatives at local school partners with CITME. This programming was supported by generous funding from the ASU School of Music and School of Film, Dance, and Theater through Urban Sol

Throughout 2015-2016 ASU music education masters student (now an alumn), Samuel Pena developed and facilitated beat labs throughout the Phoenix Metro area. The beat labs provided both community engagement and an opportunity for ASU music students to build their skills in beatmaking and with relevant technology and instruments. This work further developed into a new organization, AZ BeatLab, led by Samuel Pena. 

Phase 2a will continue as we continue to support opportunities for people to develop their musical and pedagogical skills and understanding related to supporting young people engage with and learn aspects of urban arts and culture.

This work is also being phased into several courses in the ASU music education department. 

Phase 2b (in planning)  

During Phase 2b we will focus on supporting musical aspects of Urban Arts and Culture and Urban Dance Music Ensembles in K-12 and Community settings. This includes developing and curating resources. We plan to launch phase 2b during with several CITME partners throughout  the Phoenix Metro area during Fall 2016 .