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February 22, 2011

Bobby's son Taylor McFerrin teaches beatboxing at school for the blind

New York Daily News:

The students at the Lavelle School for the Blind stare, not seeing. Some silently rock back and forth. Then the beat drops and they're beaming, bouncing; cheeks puffing out, tongues doing flips, lips vibrating in time. They become a human orchestra.

Some of New York's best beatboxers are teaching the art of mouth-made percussion to the handicapped kids at the north Bronx school. "I love music," said Steven Spinelli, 21, spitting the sound of a snare drum. "Music is my life."

The students don't need good eyesight or instruments to make hip-hop music. "Beatboxing is something the kids can do," said instructor Chesney Snow, 32, a Brooklyn musician and beatboxer. "Anyone can create a sound."

Hip-hop event marketer James Kim co-founded the Beat Rockers program at Lavelle last fall, after deejay-ing a school dance there. "I had never seen blind kids react to music before," said Kim, who also runs a breakdancing program for Bronx kids. "It blew my mind. They had no reservations. The way they moved was pure bliss.

"A light bulb went off," Kim continued. "I thought it would be great to teach them beatboxing because you don't need any equipment to beatbox. You don't even need a mic."

Kim asked Snow and beatboxer Taylor McFerrin, the son of 10-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin, to teach at Lavelle. Two days a week, the pair lay down pulsing beats and teach the students how to sound like a bass drum or high-hat. Clapping and bobbing to the beat, the kids add their own noises - squawks, yelps and snippets of song. McFerrin records and mixes the music on his laptop. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at February 22, 2011 9:20 PM


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