Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Today's Future Sound - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Today's Future Sound

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After school programs that don't have big budgets don't have to be boring. After school programs that don't have big budgets don't have to be boring.
It's the same stuff you find in text books, but much more exciting. It's the same stuff you find in text books, but much more exciting.
They start with a foot stomp and hand clap exercise that will become a piece of their music. They start with a foot stomp and hand clap exercise that will become a piece of their music.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Rap and hip hop music as learning tools? It may sound like a stretch but a Jackson city councilman has teamed up with a PHD researcher to show that it not only works, but kids are having fun.

They are doing it in the Virgie P. Middleton Community Center, in the middle of an area where opportunities are not always plentiful.

After school programs that don't have big budgets don't have to be boring. Just ask the kids at the center.

"We're just learning about sampling and we're just having fun," said elementary school student Josie Thurman.

And whether Josie and the other kids here realize it or not, they are also learning. They are laying down hip hop beats in a program called Today's Future Sound, based in Oakland, California. They start with a foot stomp and hand clap exercise that will become a piece of their music.

"How do you translate that on to the computer and do you interface with this technology; that's media literacy skills which is absolutely necessary for the modern workplace," said Dr. Elliot Gann.

It's the same stuff you find in text books, but much more exciting. It's the brainchild of Dr. Gann, who says his mission is to use music production and media arts as a vehicle to empower disadvantaged young people.

Ward 2 Jackson City Councilman Melvin Priester, junior brought the team there and he did it with private funds.

"They are music and arts educators that have taught all over America and what they do is use hip hop and DJ'ing to train kids about computers and science education," said Priester.

Today's Future Sound only spent two days in Jackson, but it's clear by the look on the kids faces that there was a significant impact.

"I mean, last week, they were teaching at Yale University," added Priester. "So what I wanted to do was give a chance for kids in Jackson to have that same sort of experience where we can get the same sort of world class things that other kids get."

"We're saying you're important, right?" said Gann. "These kids, who are often forgotten by society and are pushed to the side and you know, who don't have political power and clout because they don't have money; they're often forgotten and we're saying, you're important, you matter and we care about you."

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