Mott Haven Students Create, Perform a Musical Based on Their Own Lives

Aug 27, 2019 by

At one time, renowned hip-hop musician Jay-Z is reported to have said that he considered his creativity as a therapy session. In an interview with The USA Today, he said that he wasn’t the kind who would tell people about his feeling. But this would easily be pulled out by the music. This seems to be the same thing with the students at Mott Haven who are using music to tell their own stories.

Mott Haven is referred to as a high school’s “second chance” as it focuses on helping students who were previously considered to be outcast by society to rebuild their lives. The Mott Haven students have in the last six years used a hip-hop therapy program to inspire themselves. They believe that while it is impossible to change the past, the future is in their hands. The program was formed by J.C Hall who was inspired by a former lecturer and mentor, Dr. Edgar Tyson.

In the program, students get an opportunity to express any interior qualms and understand their world in an evocative way using rhymes. The program was recently immortalized in a documentary that lasted for 25 minutes. The documentary that was directed by Kyle Morrison, an award-winning director chronicled the lives of teens in the booth as well as in their battles like losing kids, the need to pass New York State’s Regent Exam to graduate and the ability to navigate the hard South Bronk area.

Free essays samples are what it’s good to get you on the right path to your tutorial success.

One thing we can learn from this documentary is that music is a form of literature. It is therapeutic. It tells the story that the composer is compassionate about. In literature, students are often required to write a personal essay which should be original. They even use plagiarism checker to check the originality of their papers. Likewise, music students in Mott Haven use their music to tell their real lives stories.

Real-life experiences of students in the program

The life of the Mott Haven students can be seen in the experiences of two students who went through tragic conditions. One of the students who go by the name Ephraim was stabbed ten times before the start of the filming. Another student by the name Joshua was stabbed in a fatal incident. The loss of Josh was shocking to the group. To pay homage to Josh, a creative musician Fienyx together with Kelleyann Royco-Giron, a former English teacher, created a tribute show.

The film shows the group grieving the loss of Joshua as they cry and use rhymes to extol his legacy even as they excel in their craft. The students own the stage, and their performances are a clear indication of how hip-hop can help in healing.

Why the MHC approach is different

At the start of 2014, a student by the name of Jaemz recorded his first song known as Diary of a sinner. The one thing that makes MHC stand out the fact that the administration recognizes the fact that the traditional approaches to education have failed and have therefore chosen to think outside the box.

The teens consider life to be explicit, and if their music is to be a reflection of reality, it should have graphic content. The youth will discuss issues that adults often consider to be a taboo, whether the adults appreciate it or not. If these teens feel that nobody is listening to the subject matters, some of which are very deep and personal, they will have no option to figure this on their own. Many times, the youth are told that to get respect, they should give it first. But that can also work the other way.

How music therapy has helped children outside the classroom

There are students in the program who claim that they would not have been alive were it not for the program. Many of them speak about how they feel like when away from home and how they never considered leaving. They say they have found a sense of belonging which is above their expectations.

Lessons to learn from the documentary

Children growing in poor neighborhoods such as South Bronx are often stereotyped. The video has a lesson that students from such locations should not be written off. It provides insight into humanity that we share, and it is an inspiration of the subconscious judgments that we make.

It is a lesson that adults do not always have the answer, and they should be open in understanding the youth. It is a reminder to always truly understand what someone is going through and always to remember that when we are interacting with other people. Adults should have a patient before they begin judging others. The documentary is also a reminder to adults of how they felt in their teenage and incite some empathy. It helps to assuage people’s fear and misunderstanding, the two factors that are the source of hate.

Mental health professionals and educators have to understand that we should look at a person’s inner world before writing off a student as unreachable or unteachable. Teens are resisting learning or are not taking part in therapy as we do not teach or engage them in the right manner. Why should we custom-make culturally-responsive methods to therapy and education?

How graduates of the program are fairing

Many of the students who graduate from the program are doing well. No matter the challenges they face in life, they stay in pursuit of becoming a better version of who they were yesterday no matter how that may look to them. Some of them continue with school, get jobs, or deal with both, but everyone continues making music.

Nearly all of them had at a particular point, dropped out of school, or were considered unlikely to finish. This means that no matter what they chose to do later in life, they are all quite successful. This is because they were able to turn around their lives and proved their critics wrong.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.