In addition to talking to Music Notes co-founders LaMar Queen and Jimmy Pascascio, LA Music Blog also got a chance to talk to David Landix, an artist who recently joined forces with the team to teach kids about geometry through rap. Read on to hear about his experiences tackling triangles through rhyme.

David Landix

How did you initially get involved with the Music Notes project?

DAVID: I work at the school with LaMar as a teacher’s assistant. I’m in the classroom just helping the kids with their fundamentals and getting their work done. He was doing Music Notes, and he knew that I do music on the side for something else. He was asking if I had anything that was educational based, and at the time I didn’t have anything, but I really saw how the kids were responding to the music he was doing. I noticed myself that whenever I wanted to remember something, if it was ever in a song, I could always remember it. I just started writing out some geometry notes and tried putting it to a song, and we just started going from there.

What was your music background before getting involved with the Music Notes project?

DAVID: I started after school, just some free style battles with the kids. I really wasn’t taking it seriously, but they introduced me to a teacher that was working there at the time who was starting a holy hip-hop music label. He showed me how to write and compose a song, and we started that about 2003. Then when Mr. Pascascio and LaMar Queen told me what they were doing with the company, I figured it was something that was not only good with music, it’d be good to help the kids, motivate them, and then get them to increase scores.

Why did you choose to focus on geometry?

DAVID: LaMar has the algebra album already out, and when I first started, the first two songs that I wrote were both on geometry topics. When I let them hear the two songs that I did, Mr. Pascascio asked, “Is it possible to scribble out the whole geometry album?” I was like, “Yeah, I’ll give it a shot.” Then a couple of days went by, I had a couple of more songs, and now the album is pretty much complete.

Album Cover

That comes out in September right?

DAVID: Yes, it does.

How do you feel from your perspective that this has helped the students? What changes have you seen in their attitude from getting these songs and being able to sing and to think of them to themselves?

DAVID: I think music has a good impact on people in general. A lot of people will just turn on the radio or put in a CD if they’re having issues. With the music we’re doing, it seems like we’re getting the kids more excited to learn math. Not only is it music, not only is this the schoolwork, but it’s a combination of both. I think we’re engaging the students while motivating and encouraging them to do work.

For those that haven’t heard the music that you’re putting out yet, what can they expect from your album release?

DAVID: With this album, of course you’re gonna get the whole rap aspect. We’re not just teachers that are trying to rap. We’re actually rappers and teachers at the same time, so you’re gonna get an album where the songs are actually good, and then you’re gonna get the information that you need to be able to apply to pass tests and other exams.

When it comes to the actual songwriting process, has it been harder to write songs based around certain subjects than to write songs that would be on more personal subjects for you?

DAVID: I think it’s just made me become a more creative writer. Being able to write a song about personal life or things that you’ve been through, you have more ideas, but doing it with math and actually knowing the content made it a little easier. Then you just go back and use creativity to help the kids understand. Maybe they don’t understand the direct concept of what a variable was, so you might have to explain it to them, but it wasn’t that difficult to scribble out the songs.

How long does it take you to come up with a song? How long has it taken you to write this album from beginning to end?

DAVID: One day I wrote two song. I was putting the track down, and we wrote some stuff just to make it sound a little clearer and more detailed, but if I have the time to sit down and to write a song, I can at least scribble out a song a day, if not two songs. I wrote the first one in February. I think I started on that Monday and had three songs by Wednesday.

Do you feel like the geometry album is more of an introduction to geometry, or does it cover quite a bit of the subject for students at that level?

DAVID: I think it’s going to cover quite a bit of ground. I’ve touched on various subjects. You’ll hear stuff from area to pi to circles. You’ll get some triangles, the midpoint. We did a lot of definitions. I tried various topics, so it wouldn’t be too focused: “Okay, you can only apply this in the beginning.” Even further down the line, throughout the semester, that CD will still apply to certain concepts. It touches on a lot of the major subjects in geometry.

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