Hip-hop artist Ryan “Ryanito” Larrañaga teaches students through beats, rhymes and positivity at Sarasota County School's Summer Learning Academies.
Last summer, Ryan “Ryanito” Larrañaga set out to teach elementary students through the medium he knew best, hip-hop. The hip-hop artist introduced his program, Arts, Rhymes & Kids, to four Sarasota elementary schools last year as part of the schools' Summer Learning Academies. He performed for students, taught them how to rhyme and write their own songs, as well as demonstrated how hip-hop evolved from jazz.
This year, the program has reached six schools. On July 12, Larrañaga held his last Arts, Rhymes and Kids performance for the summer at Alta Vista Elementary School, where incoming kindergarteners and first-graders learned about rhythm, rhyme and how to stay on beat with the help of drummer Simeon Bishop Moore.
Larrañaga said the program is also about teaching them positivity and that he’s learned a lot from the students he has interacted with.
“I may be 31 years old, but I think the purest form of me being a child still exists because I’m able to connect with the energy and enthusiasm these kids put out," he said.
Larrañaga and program co-curator Marcel Bauduin said the success of Art, Rhymes & Kids has inspired them to turn it into a non-profit. They have plans to expand the program to elementary students beyond first-grade and to collaborate with other artists in the community.
“The program has mashed really well with the students’ curriculum at their schools and we want to continue growing it to help kids learn in an unconventional way,” said Bauduin.