ISYM Hip-Hop

July 16 – July 22, 2023

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. 


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

Typical Daily Schedule

8:15 – 9:15 am: Writing Workshop
9:30 – 10:30 am: Beat Lab
10:45 – 11:45 am: Electives
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 pm: Beat Lab
2:30 – 3:30 pm: Collaboration Time
3:45 – 4:45 pm: Sharing and Feedback
5:15 pm: Dinner and Evening Activities
10:30 pm: Lights out

Application Materials

  • (Applications open December 1st 2022)


  • Resident – $800 (tuition, room and board)
  • Commuter – $550 (tuition and lunch only)

Best Rap Verse Scholarship Competition:

Learn more about the Best Rap Verse Scholarship Competition

To enter the competition, students must do the following:

  1. Meet eligibility criteria for ISYM Hip-Hop
  2. Complete the ISYM application
  3. Upload a video of you performing your best rap verse to your own or an adult’s IG or Twitter account with the hashtag #isymhiphop
  4. Deadline is June 1 – winners will be notified by June 6


Program Faculty

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.

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.