Music – the original multiliteracy – an ode

Posted by nicholaspelafas on August 7, 2011

[note on the 2pak track: this is the first lp by these new cats from chicago, with that traditional summertime chi-town boom-bap flav.  some of their rhymes are a little bit juvenile, but their flow is generally on point and production tight.  i chose this track because it came out a few weeks ago and deals with technology and online literacies in a very contemporary way that reflects both the shallow and deep ways youth are relating to these ideas.  make sure you check the 2nd verse @ 1:25 especially]

PEACE! Music, for me at least, has always been the original multiliteracy.  Although we seem to discount music as being less important that other literacies, I have always believed that music literacy could be just as beneficial, critical, reflective, motivating, creative, and complex as any other literacy.  Jazz, Reggae, Funk, Blues, Rock, and especially Hip-Hop have made crucial contributions to progress in the complexity of music literacy.  It is important to consider that, in a fashion parallel to multiliteracies, technology has played a central role in the evolution of music literacy.

I think music literacy in some degree should be required by all students.  Music is good for your brain and your soul and social cohesion.  Some students don’t like music?  Well, plenty more people don’t like to read books on a regular basis, and others can’t at all.  Music allows you to be free in your expression in ways the written word never could.  It is a form of expression and communication that is perhaps just as ubiquitous as the written word.  It allows people to challenge traditional literacies and the power structures they hold up.  Music also will never ever ever claim to be an objective analysis, music recognizes its subjective nature and calls people to relate to that subjectivity.   Written scholarship has only begun to recognize the extent of subjectivity present in what it claims to be objective/scientific.

The most amazing thing about music is that it also the original ubiquitous technology.  It allows communication across cultures and languages.  It inspires collaboration and democratic participation.  It encourages praxis – free your mind and your ass will follow (Big UP to George Clinton who’s 70th b-day party I was at last week!).

I love you music. 4eva.

Word to your Mother.

If the above track is the hiphop equivelent of a poem, here is a short story from Brooklyn:


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