KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Plaza Academy teacher Justin Gillespie is bringing hip hop production to his classroom.
The class is called ‘The Beat Academy of KC’ and is the 5th and 6th hour at school for students.
“It's the only program in Kansas City that teaches kids how to make hip hop production,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie launched the program back in August.
“It's been something I've done in my personal life,” Gillespie said. “I've been a professional musician for 15 years and it's been super rewarding.”
From beats to rhythms, students take their creativity to a whole new level.
“I'm excited to go here everyday,” freshman Thom Van Til said.
“I get joyful when I come here, like it helps me calm down,” 8th grader K’ron Lyons said.
The class is producing more than just quality hip hop, it’s also producing higher grades and more engagement from students.
“Justin would probably say you cannot perform because your grades is bad, so he encourages me to like make sure I do my work,” Lyons said.
Students plan to perform what they’ve been working on at the Beat Academy Block Party. There will also be guest performances by Ces Cru, JL & Info Gates, Adrian Truth and Suli4Q. It will be from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Ruins on 1715 Main Street. Tickets are $10.
The school is raising funds to build a recording studio this summer, to make more courses available to students next year.