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McNally Smith Introduces Hip-Hop Diploma Program

McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN, has announced the introduction of a Hip-Hop Studies Diploma program. The program, which kicks off with the school’s September 2009 fall semester, is the country’s first college-level diploma from an accredited institution devoted to the study of hip-hop music and culture. The diploma course spans three semesters, which can be completed in one calendar year, and will be taught by leading hip-hop practitioners and other music industry veterans from McNally Smith’s faculty. Toki Wright, a much honored emcee and organizer, is the coordinator for the new degree program and will be one of its prominent instructors.

Courses in music (including music theory), the language of rap and spoken word, music history (from the African diaspora to hip-hop’s origins in the South Bronx in the 1970s to today), recording technology, rhythm studies, and the music business make up the core of the diploma’s curriculum. Students will develop creative writing skills, learn techniques in beat production and engineering, as well as undergo hands-on experience in the art of DJing and turntablism. They will also get an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes aspects of hip-hop in the music business. Hip-hop has a monumental global impact on television, cinema, alternative media and more. McNally Smith’s Hip-Hop Studies Diploma, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, will equip students with the skills and knowledge that are crucial in pursuing a career in hip-hop.

In addition to Toki Wright, McNally Smith’s faculty includes a number of highly accomplished artists from the hip-hop world. Faculty members who will be teaching in the new diploma program include Dessa (a member of the Doomtree crew and published author), Sean McPherson (bassist and leader of the band Heiruspecs), Joe Mabbott (an engineer and producer for numerous projects, including multiple Atmosphere releases) and others. This well connected faculty will also bring in prominent guest speakers from the world of hip-hop. In addition to the outstanding hip-hop faculty, McNally Smith boasts state-of-the-art recording facilities and performance spaces unrivaled by most music schools. As part of the Hip-Hop Studies Diploma program, graduates will complete a final project that includes a recording project, a live performance and a portfolio that includes a business plan. This final project will bring together each of the different areas of expertise in the hip-hop business learned through the program.

For more information on McNally Smith’s Hip-Hop Studies Diploma program, contact McNally Smith’s Admissions Department at (800) 594-9500.

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