Kruse, 2016 – ‘They wasn’t makin’ my kinda music’: A hip-hop musician’s perspective on school, schooling, and school music

Recommendation – 4/5


Kruse questions whether schooling, as it is done today, is relevant to all American children. Through researching and befriending a hip-hop musician named Terrance, Kruse questions his belief that schooling is fundamentally a positive force in the lives of all students. He comes to understand that Terrance’s decision to drop out of a high school experience filled with anxiety and irrelevance was the right choice for him. Then Kruse reflects on his own shortcomings as a middle school band director in engaging students like Terrance.


Kruse, A. J. (2016) ‘They wasn’t makin’ my kinda music’: A hip-hop musician’s perspective on school, schooling, and school music, Music Education Research, 18(3), 240-253, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2015.1060954

Further Reading

“Influenced by an arguable disconnect between in- and out-of-school musical experiences (Kratus 2007; Lamont et al. 2003; Tobias 2014; Williams 2011; Woody 2007) as well as young people’s gen­eral preference for popular music genres (Hargreaves and North 1997; Mills 2000), many music edu­cation researchers have explored learning processes in musical genres outside of the academic canon with the hopes of informing and improving the experiences of students in school music classrooms (e.g. Abramo 2011; Allsup 2003, 2011; Cope 2002; Davis 2005; Dunbar-Hall and Wemyss 2000; Green 2002; Jaffurs 2004; Rodriguez 2004; Seifried 2002; Söderman and Folkestad 2004; Thompson 2012; Woody and Lehman 2010).”

“… those in favour of an increased presence of vernacular music in American classrooms have argued for both musical and social advantages. Such advantages have included… better reaching student populations not enrolled in large ensemble classes (Ginocchio 2001; Williams 2011), and increasing lifelong participation in musical activities (Kratus 2007; Woody 2007).”

“One limitation of vernacular music education literature is that it has predominantly focused on the pop and rock music genres (Kruse 2014; Tobias 2014).”

“Given its many meaningful connections to often-marginalised populations (Chang 2005; Forman 2002; Keyes 2004; Rose 1994), hip-hop musical cultures might provide invaluable additions to the vernacular music education discourse… Söderman and Folkestad (2004) reported on hip-hop composition process, Thompson (2012) investigated learning experiences and encultura­tion for DJs, turntablists, and other electronic musicians, and Söderman (2011) compared hip-hop music education to a Swedish self-education concept of ‘folkbildning’.”

“…excluding traditions beyond western art music from school music settings contributes to an exclusive, irrelevant, and ‘place-bound’ (Stauffer 2012) music education…”