ISYM Hip-Hop

July 12-16, 2021

ISYM Hip-Hop engages middle and high school students in individual and collaborative creation and performance of original music in a variety of roles and styles. Participants will work in lab, studio, and workshop settings alongside experienced educators and musicians to produce beats, write and record lyrics, and prepare for a live performance at the end of the week. Variable supplemental activities will explore additional elements and foundations of hip-hop culture. This year’s program will be offered both virtually for auditors and in-person for those who wish to participate on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Format: Participants will attend in-person instruction in Urbana; Auditors will join virtually via Zoom.


  • For students completing grades 5-12.
  • For all middle and high school students interested in creating hip-hop music.

Tentative ISYM Hip-Hop Daily Schedule

9:00 – 10:00 AM – Writing Workshop and Cyphers
10:00 – 11:00 AM – Composition Demonstrations
11:00 AM-12:00 PM – Beat Lab
12:00 – 12:30 PM – Lunch
12:30 – 1:30 PM – Collaboration Time
1:30 – 2:30 PM – Panel Discussions and Guest Performances
2:30 – 3:00 PM – Break, Flex Time
3:00 – 4:00 PM – Sharing and Feedback

Application Materials

  • Submit the ISYM Application Form
  • Acceptance notifications are sent on a rolling basis.
  • Additional accepted student information will be available after April 15, 2021.


  • $350 – Participant*
    Participants will engage with program faculty in all sessions in-person.
  • $50 – Auditor, Student
    Auditors are invited to join ISYM Hip-Hop virtually for the 10 AM and 1:30 PM daily sessions.
  • $50 – Auditor, Music Educator. A limited number of music educators will be accepted to audit composition demonstrations, panel discussions and guest performances. Please use separate form linked below.

*We offer a sliding scale to the participant fee based on family income. Discount levels range from 30-100% of the program tuition. Please email the following form to your school’s guidance counselor to complete and return to

Music Educator-Auditor

Calling all educators! Audit composition demonstrations, panel discussions and guest performances for this program. Professional development hours will be available for participating teachers.

Music educators are asked to use this Registration Form. You will be contacted with payment information.


ISYM 2019 Camp Video

Program Faculty

Coordinator: Dr. Adam Kruse, University of Illinois

Adam Kruse joined the University of Illinois faculty as Assistant Professor of Music Education in Fall 2014 following the completion of his Ph.D. in music education at Michigan State University. He earned a Master of Arts degree in secondary education and a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Ball State University and taught secondary instrumental, general music, and music technology in southeastern Indiana for seven years. A recipient of an Excellence in Diversity Award and a Dissertation Completion Fellowship at Michigan State University, Kruse also received research enhancement awards from the university’s Graduate School and College of Music. Kruse’s current research interests include race and gender issues in music education and vernacular musicianship focusing on hip-hop.

Read more about Professor Kruse here.

Coordinator: Lamont Holden, University of Illinois

Lamont Holden (Instructor, “Popular Music Production,” spring 2021), known in the urban music production community as TheLetterLBeats, is a music producer, DJ, videographer, social media content creator, sound designer, teacher and audio engineer. He resides in Atlanta, GA, at the pulse of the urban music industry. Holden earned the B.A. from the University of Illinois in 2004 and an M.A. in Teaching & Education at National Louis University in 2011.

Lamont Holden in the News-Gazette

Additional faculty artists to be announced at a later date.