Intermixing Rap and Songwriting Skills

by admin on April 23, 2013


The weather in the Rochester area of New York state is a crazy mix of temperatures and weather conditions in early Spring. This last week we had 75 degree gorgeousness one day, followed by plummeting temperatures and snow flurries the next.  I wanted to incorporate a songwriting experience into one of my group sessions as we were exploring different songs about sun and rain.  I decided to center the experience around the popular chorus of “Joy and Pain” by Old School Players.  Selecting popular hooks or choruses from existing rap songs is a great step in exploring rap in creative songwriting.  I then outlined four different rap verses for students to choose from.  Since this small group of students needed a lot of visual and language support in the songwriting process, I included a vocabulary bank for each fill-in-the-blank section.  One student used the vocabulary list as more of an example of words to use, and then selected their own words.  Here is a sample of one of the verses.


I created the background music for the rap using rhythm loops in Garageband and adding a simple repeating bass line.  I kept the music the same throughout to make it easier for students to perform their rap without the stress of trying to time their solo to fit between verse and chorus changes.  Each person took a turn saying their rap into the microphone.  We would then repeat the rap again with everyone saying it together.  The group repeated the chorus section between every rap verse and also added simple movements to the words.

You could simply use a keyboard accompaniment style like rap or hip-hop to provide the backbeat.  Garageband for the iPad has a Smart Drum section that can create amazing looped rhythms.  Below is a sample of this feature I found on YouTube.

Become a Song Shop member to download the MP3 I created in GarageBand, plus the Pages/PDF files for the songwriting experience.

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