“Shaw is the first student in Harvard’s history to submit a rap album as a senior thesis in the English Department, the university said. The album, called ‘Liminal Minds,’ has earned the equivalent of an A-minus grade, good enough to guarantee that Shaw will graduate with honors next week” (1).
“Durham District School Board Chairman Michael Barrett says the DDSB participates in programs like the School Alliance of Student Songwriters competition, and this year started offering a Grade 11 hip hop appreciation course at J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate in Ajax… The board recently purchased sets of African djembe drums, ukuleles, and indigenous hand drums for schools to use, with training provided to classroom teachers.” (2).
This is the text of a letter-to-the-editor I sent off to Oshawa This Week (durhamregion.com) in response to the second item quoted above:
“Re ‘Durham schools get creative with hip hop, hand drumming as traditional music classes decline’ (Jillian Follert, May 22): If the DDSB is purchasing African and indigenous drums, and ‘training’ teachers in their use, it is hardly surprising that ‘traditional music classes’ are declining. Is this yet another attempt at social engineering intended to favour ‘diversity’ and destroy the underpinnings of Western culture? I see that Harvard recently accepted a rap album as a senior thesis in the English department (1), obviously there is a contrived movement in that direction. As for me, I much prefer Beethoven and Mozart to percussion only, and I fail to see how this deliberate regression will benefit society.”
Interestingly, this backward move is being blamed on a shortage of “specialist music teachers”. I think we would benefit more from training teachers in classical music, rather than training presumably humdrum ones in crude, primitive music.
Presumably, the ukuleles were thrown in as an attempt to appear even-handed…(!)
(1) – See “Harvard student submits rap album as his senior thesis” here.
(2) – See “Durham schools get creative with hip hop, hand drumming as traditional music classes decline” here.
See also “Is it any wonder traditional music classes are declining, asks reader” (May 24th, 2017) here.