Music Educators as DJs: Remixing Teaching With Hip-Hop

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To investigate how music educators engage their students with Hip-Hop, we adopted a “research remix” approach, combining elements of case study and constructivist grounded theory. This approach allowed us to privilege Hip-Hop culture and to construct new understandings about Hip-Hop teaching and learning. Six elementary and middle school music teachers implemented Hip-Hop-focused instruction in their classrooms while also attending professional development workshops. Data included videos of classroom instruction, participant interviews, and videos of the workshops with co-facilitation from Hip-Hop artists and the researchers. Educators encountered tensions and challenges related to a perceived Hip-Hop “realness” and a lack of musical and pedagogical skills. To address these challenges, participants remixed their approaches by blending elements of Hip-Hop music and culture with their established teaching strategies. Teachers’ dispositions and feedback from students and colleagues engendered critical reflections about their positionalities in relation to Hip-Hop. We constructed a visual model of a DJ as a metaphor to describe participants’ approaches to remixing their teaching with Hip-Hop within their contexts. Implications include a need for increased emphasis on Hip-Hop in U.S. music teacher education programs and institutional pathways for Hip-Hop musicians to become music educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • general music
  • Hip-Hop
  • music teacher education
  • popular music
  • remixing teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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