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Exploring hip hop music education through online instructional beat production videos

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This study explores online instructional beat production videos as a way to inform hip hop and popular music education and diversify scholarship in online music learning. The authors conducted a content analysis of YouTube videos, considering the instructional characteristics and content of these videos and the musical technologies employed within them. Findings highlight the importance of YouTube as a repository of hip hop beat production instructional material. Videos focused on composition of new beats, rather than re-creation of existing material, underlining an important distinction between hip hop musical practices and the ‘listen and copy’ approach identified in other vernacular music research ‐ and a distinction between these videos and others studied in extant music education scholarship that focuses on YouTube. The videos showcased varied technologies, some of which (e.g., FL Studio) seem especially well aligned with beat production practice. The article concludes with considerations for music educators and for future research.
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Keywords: YouTube; beat production; hip hop; online instruction; popular music; vernacular music

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000419369991University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2: 000000010632678XWebster University

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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