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Literacy Through Lyrics
A Michigan State University music program merges literacy with songwriting to empower Detroit youth.
Launched in 2016 by the MSU Community Music School-Detroit, Verses uses hip hop, spoken word poetry and music technology as teaching tools. Students improve their literacy skills through the art of songwriting, composing, performing, mixing and recording.
Faculty members include some of Detroit’s leading professional musicians, recording artists and engineers. In addition to mentoring services, students have access to instruments and high-tech studio equipment to produce professional recordings of their original music.
The program’s innovative curriculum was developed in collaboration between MSU’s College of Music and College of Education with the goal of better preparing the students for college and careers.
Since its launch, hundreds of youth in Detroit have participated in Verses, which is offered free and funded by the Marshall Mathers Foundation and Michigan-based Carhartt.