Playing With Tradition


PLAYING WITH TRADITION is the name of the new youth education/arts integration initiative from the Freight & Salvage Education Department, with implementation in both public (Berkeley Unified School District) and private schools in Berkeley. Beginning with the maxim “Hip-Hop is Folk Music”PLAYING WITH TRADITION ignites students’ creativity through immersive visits focused on creative writing and working with rhythm, 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 both the 6th Grade California Arts Standards (Music) and the 6th Grade California Common Core English/Language Arts Standards, and our upcoming interdisciplinary 4th Grade curriculum, Golden State of Song, is designed to enhance and enrich California history studies through songs from a multiplicity of traditions. Featured instructors and guests include 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, jazz guitarist Karl Evangelista, percussionists Rohan Krishnamurthy and Jim Santi Owen, and many more. The program uses contemporary music as the doorway through which young people can identify connections with a wide range of musical traditions and cultures. Contact Director of Education & Community Engagement PC Muñoz here if you are interested in bringing a PLAYING WITH TRADITION series or single assembly to your school, and check back here for updated info on our expanding partnership with Berkeley Unified School District!

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