Hip Hop Songwriting Residency


Residency Overview

Mic Jordan’s Hip Hop Songwriting Residency is offered to middle and high school students. The residency focuses on the connection between language and music, specifically hip hop music, and has proven to be particularly impactful at schools whose vision and mission include attention to cultural values. In this residency, students experience elements of music and songwriting such as rhythm, beat, song layout, verse structure and basic editing and mixing. Woven into the study of songwriting are the exploration of critical reading and writing skills such as plot, point of view, the use of details in writing and the writing process.  

Respect for the local culture is also an integral component of this residency. Given that historical and current context of a place is vital to consider when designing this type of residency, Mic works with schools to create customized residency plans that incorporates the needs and challenges of the community and school in which he is working.

Residency Goals

The purpose of this residency is to create a safe space for students to identify and build their personal voice in their writing and through music. Mic uses songwriting to productively explore issues that matter for middle and high school students including issues in the community, such as violence, trauma, substance abuse and mental health challenges, to issues that are deeply personal. By addressing both music and language arts content as well as the social and cultural influences that impact the school, the goals of Mic's residencies include:

  • Build confidence by creating a space where participants can develop a stronger self-esteem by identifying and respecting their personal voices. Students also work to identify and break down social barriers and fears;

  • Foster a sense of belonging by creating a supportive environment where all participants feel safe, accepted, and respected for their thoughts and ideas;

  • Empower students by providing opportunities for participants to feel encouraged and celebrated by their peers and community; and

  • Develop skill by providing hands-on experiences in creative self-expression (writing, performance, and musical production) as well as supporting the development of empathy as kids share their stories embedded within their lyrics.

Student or Teacher Quote:

“Mic Jordan's charisma and personality draws out the quietest of student.  He is a natural teacher, mixed with natural music ability he creates an atmosphere of togetherness.”

-  Tami Liberty, Culture Teacher, Red Lake Middle School

When I worked with Mic Jordan, he made me feel happy.  He is nice.  I think it was cool that he spent his time with us creating a song.  

-  Red Lake Middle School student

Intensive Residencies

Mic is based in North Dakota and will travel to your site for residency lasting between one and five days. While on site, Mic can work with up to five classes and requires at least 75 minutes for each session. Below is a sample schedule for a four-day songwriting residency. This schedule can be condensed based on the number of classrooms or students he will work with or the number of days he is on site.

Day 1: After introductions, students learn the basics of song layout, choose a beat, brainstorm relevant topics as focus of songwriting process, learn more about the writing process and apply learning by writing first draft of song verse. Mic will also introduces songwriting resources that are readily available and accessible for students.

Day 2:  Students continue verse writing and revise and edit their drafts in small groups. The group comes together to write a chorus and learn more about the recording process.

Day 3: After revising their verses one final time, students learn about performing, mixing, and recording their music. They make a plan to record their music during the final day of the residency. Homework after this class may include practicing their lyrics .

Day 4: Students rehearse their lyrics one final time then record their lyrics.