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Fluency MC—Rap Music That Teaches English

Today we’re going to give your English fluency a SHOT IN THE ARM (some inspiration) as we’d like to introduce talented teacher extraordinaire/ rap artist, FLUENCY MC, and publish the text for the first part of our 2 part interview with him.

Read part 2 of this interview  | Join the RLE Community

Not only is Fluency MC an internationally recognized educator who has written and performed dozens of rap songs that teach English in fun and effective ways (with what he calls COLLOTUNES—rap music that teaches English), he tours the world performing his work and conducting workshops for teachers and learners.

Apart from the extensive STREET CRED (his popular reputation), he’s got an impressive list of teaching credentials, he’s very DOWN TO EARTH (modest and accessible), and his message is really inspiring!

By the way, he’s also the author of several Oxford teaching materials, the founder of an English school in New York, and has helped build one of the most active online English learning communities on Facebook, H2E (How to Improve Your English).

If you haven’t had the opportunity connect with the FLUENCY FAMILY and the learning community he’s created (H2E- HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH), we encourage you to do so because he is ON FIRE (he’s been very successful, especially as of late), and he has a lot to share. Don’t miss out. We start the interview below, and you can connect with Fluency MC here:

Check out this video about Irregular Verbs that has over a million youtube views.

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNaDvAYC0Jw” width=”300″ height=”200″]

Jason (“Jase”) Levine, THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH of Fluency MC, lives in New Jersey, just outside of New York City and is preparing for another world tour.  We’ll let Jase himself tell us about his childhood passion for music and how he synthesized it with his passion for teaching.

PART I— PASSION FOR MUSIC FINDS PASSION FOR TEACHING

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your “pre-fluency MC” story, and what role did music have in it?

Early Years: Musical Inspiration & Influences

I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1970 to two Harvard professors, and music was always a big part of my life.

When I was three, I’d sit in my room for hours listening to fairy tales and Beatles 45s with my Fisher Price record player. At five years old, I was in the living room playing my mom’s LPs: Dylan, The Stones, and Otis Redding. I watched Zoom, The Electric Company, and Viva Allegre. I became obsessed with alliteration and rhyme. I made up silly songs that drove people mad.

My family moved to St. Louis in when I was 8. Every penny of my allowance I spent on music. I bought 60s and early 70s rock and the latest disco records: Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, and KC and the Sunshine Band.

In fourth grade, I got a drum set and formed the lip-sync disco group J, J, and J with friends John and Jeff. I heard hip hop (Grandmaster Flash) for the first time in 1981 and started listening to DJ shows on the radio.

A small minority of students at my junior high school were white. I played drums in the jazz band and made mix tapes for our first boy-girl parties. I had the biggest record collection of anyone I knew.

I loved music, but I was also fascinated with English grammar and the different ways people used English to communicate. I wrote obsessively in my journal.

High School & College/ University: Molding the Talent

In high school I played in a punk band, but spent most of my time and money on hip hop. I sold mix tapes to support my addiction.

I went to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and I bought DJ turntables and started doing parties and making beats. I had a popular hip show on the radio and drummed in a funk/punk band in New York City.

Majoring in psychology, with a focus on education, I did field work in schools, courts, and psychiatric institutions. I graduated with honors in 1992.

I then moved to Manhattan, where I waited tables and worked as a DJ in small clubs downtown.After entering a PhD program in psychology, I decided to drop out to focus on music. I returned home to St. Louis and worked as a manager and selling mixed tapes at the record store in my old neighborhood.

After a year, I moved back to New York, where I worked for a hip hop distribution company in Brooklyn, and did publicity for Nervous Records. I did record label promotion for a company that managed internationally famous DJs.

I left the music business once I realized that (1) I despised it and (2) like most of my family, I was born to be a teacher.

Read part 2 of this interview  | Join the RLE Community

Part II of the Fluency MC interview talks about the essentials of his philosophy on teaching, music, and how to use music to get fluent as fast as possible! If you like what you’re reading, connect with Fluency MC above, or check out another interview with him on Celebrity English. Definitely join the Fluency Family on Facebook!

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to join the Real Life English International Learning Community, with over 4,000 members from 50+ countries. If you join now, you get a free copy of our popular e-book 101 English Words You’ll Never Learn in School. Take care RLE community!

 

Did you like reading this article? Want to improve your writing? Want the Real Life Guys to edit/proofread your essays? Find out more.

 

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  • Very cool story Jase! thanks for sharing with us all! Have you work with any famous rappers?

    • Chad, I've met a bunch (Nas, Run DMC, KRS-One, Guru, Bizmarkie) but my only claim to fame as a DJ is once opening up for De La Soul.

  • Very cool story Jase! thanks for sharing with us all! Have you work with any famous rappers?

  • Very cool story Jase! thanks for sharing with us all! Have you work with any famous rappers?

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