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Monday, October 17, 2011

Rapper Psalm One coming to Shaw Middle School through ASCAP Songwriter Residency

Rapper Psalm One
It’s the middle of October, which can mean only one thing.

It’s time to make some music!

A year ago, I was witness to Philadelphia-based The Great Unknown’s visit to MacFarland Middle School as part of the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES. Over the course of three afternoons, I watched as a group of about 20 students worked with the alternative band to create — from scratch — a song and then record it in a studio.

From there, the story is pretty familiar.

The students took the song, practiced it, and made it their own. Then came the first-place Poetry Slam! performance. Next, they wowed the audience at the Inspired Art Gala.

And, finally, the CD with their song on it was released.

Well, now it’s the turn of Shaw Middle School @ Garnet-Patterson. Beginning tomorrow, the Shaw poet-athletes will spend three afternoons with Psalm One creating their very own song and then traveling to a local studio to record it.

Psalm One is described as a “seasoned writer with a soulful and vulnerable style.” Not only is she the lone woman signed to the well-known and independent record label Rhymesayers Entertainment, but Psalm One (born Cristalle Bowen) has always dedicated herself to working with kids.

So she should fit right in at Shaw!

A Chicago native, Psalm One started the mentoring and tutoring program Charm Lab in 2008. She also worked at DC SCORES’ affiliate America SCORES Bay Area as a poetry and soccer coach, creating her first ASCAP song with students at a school in the area.

And with the District the fifth stop on her nine-city tour, Psalm One will undoubtedly be able to create a quick connection and chemistry with the students as they begin brainstorming their song.

But the beauty of the program — and our creative expression curriculum, in general — is offering the freedom and ability to express oneself in many ways. No one, at this point, knows what the final product will be when Shaw’s poet-athletes leave the recording studio Thursday evening.

We’ll just have to wait and see, as we let creative minds work together to brainstorm, practice, then make sweet music, with the help of a professional, to share with their school and the community.

Let the ASCAP experience begin (again)!

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