Final Lesson: Street Performing

Every since I was a kid I have admired street performers. I always thought they were the coolest for sticking themselves out there, entertaining random audiences, and making money. Loved it.

When I was 16 I started, I knew one song. I played “You and Me,” By Life House over an over again on Main Street across from Pizza Sam’s until someone gave me money. I don’t know if it was a sympathy give or if it was because I was good, but as soon as I made a dollar I ran with it. Learned more songs, made up songs, traveled to New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. I have never invested in something that has taught me so much about people. and myself.

So, since I am a teacher I want to teach about things that make me excited too, that way my job isn’t boring. So I took some of my kids street performing in Frankenmuth. We had our Drums, a few mics, and a keyboard.

They. Killed. It.

Wow! Natural performers, they way they interacted with the crowd. The way the took control of the street and gained peoples respect and attention was incredible. I was able to guide with tips on how to keep an audience and show gratefulness for people’s time and especially their tips, but I could tell that 2 hrs. performing on the street was more impactful than anything in the classroom. They made $190 in 2 hrs.

The coolest part was seeing them encourage each other and loving watching them feel like rockstars while people pulled out their phones to video them and compliment them.

I’d encourage any art teacher to take a group of students to a street to perform, it is a great experience.

Keon finishes a custom verse about one of the fans on the street.
Keon finishes a custom verse about one of the fans on the street.
Beasts of the Beat set up on the corner
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Using our tip money to grab some ice cream
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The boys in the middle of their new song “Champion”
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Ice cream before heading back to Highland Park

 

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Beasts of The Beat

I started a before school group called “Beasts of the Beat.” These kids were hand picked by me. There are nine of them 4th-8th grade. I wanted to start getting these kids writing.

Working with this group has been interesting. As the teacher in the group we are fighting the tension of popular writing and I am looking to not just give them a voice, but to give them something to say.

I am trying this through mentoring and relationships. Praising progress and forward motion in the verses they write as I see them realize the potency of their words. I’m trying to curb the writing style from self glorification/sex and pretend lives to social justice, commitment and character. It’s a hard turn, it’s gradual and consistent.

They have started challenging each other like, “why are you rapping about that? that’s not even the life you are living.” Forward progress.

Watch their Debut Video and keep an eye out for them. These guys are starting off right, I’m happy to be behind them.