Playing With Tradition


Playing with Tradition is the umbrella moniker for the Freight’s ever-growing youth education/arts integration programs. Beginning with the maxim Hip-Hop is Folk Music, Playing with Tradition ignites students’ creativity through immersive visits focused on creative writing, rhythm, and beatmaking, while also illuminating the historical context and cultural roots of hip-hop and its connection to other folk forms. 

Our 6th grade curriculum aligns with the 6th Grade California Arts Standards (Music) and the 6th Grade California Common Core English/Language Arts Standards, and our 4th Grade arts integration program, Golden State of Song, is designed to enhance and enrich California history studies through songs from a multiplicity of traditions. Stay tuned for an upcoming instrumental music program designed for elementary school students to learn new skills and explore roots music from all over the world! We are grateful for our close relationship with the VAPA Department of Berkeley Unified School District and other school partners.

Featured instructors and guest instructors for our youth programs include/have included hip-hop artists Megan Correa, Najee Amaranth and Amani Jade, slam poet Jamey Williams, Hannah Mayree of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, “Harpist from the Hood” Destiny Muhammad, Berkeley Symphony violinist Matthew Szemela, koto player Shirley Muramoto, percussionist Rohan Krishnamurthy and many more. 

Playing with Tradition uses contemporary music as the doorway through which young people can identify connections with a wide range of musical traditions and cultures.Contact our education staff at if you are interested in bringing a PLAYING WITH TRADITION series or single assembly to your school, school district, or organization!

Photos: PC Muñoz | Cheshire Isaacs

Photos: Aengus McGiffin

Chapbook created by 2021 Playing with Tradition students with instructor Jamey Williams
Design by Ellie Pearson

Hip-Hop musical “1973” at the East Bay School for Boys

facilitated by PWT teacher Megan Correa,  2022