Earlier in the year I was asked to give a talk at a Tedx event at the Northern Sydney Institute. Without hesitating (also without having ever watched a Ted Talk in my life) I said yes, opting to speak about the music workshops we run with Heaps Decent and the lessons young kids can learn through hip hop. Basically I wanted to focus on all the positives that can come out of using rap as a teaching tool.

I spoke about using rap to improve reading and writing skills through repetition, this was brought to my attention last year by a friend and speech pathologist Georgina Smith, who was in Wilcannia at the same time as us in 2012, running workshops at the Central School. She forwarded some relevant essays my way, in particular this one which I referenced a few times in my talk. 

I love rap and so does almost every kid in high school and primary school. It seems to be a taboo in most schools, a bad influence that parents and teachers refuse to understand. We get incredible results using rap in our Heaps Decent workshops, from the short term bursts of confidence and teamwork to the long term improvement of reading and writing skills.

The Ted Talk was a great opportunity to focus on the educational side of Heaps Decent (and rap music!) and find case studies that backed up our personal experiences working with young people. I’m keen to explore this further and hopefully give more talks on the subject. Hopefully I can encourage teachers to further their knowledge of rap instead of ignoring it completely! 

If you want to find out more about Heaps Decent head to our website. To speak with me further about using rap in the classroom – or maybe even Heaps Decent coming to your classroom – email me! Levins at heaps decent dot com.

Thanks to everyone at Tedx and the Northern Sydney Institute for giving me the opportunity to talk at length about something I love in front of a room full of people. I hope the video finds its way to the computer screen of someone who can gain something from it.


I made a video for the cute little song I made when I was in Wilcannia last year with Sarah from Shopfront. Working from  Wilcannia Central School and Wings Drop In Centre, I helped about 10 kids aged 8 to 14 write their own verses and the chorus. All the video footage was recorded while we weren’t recording vocals! The beat is Teach Me How To Dougie by Cali Swag District.

– Levins





from the Mad Decent blog

Earlier in the year Heaps Decent worked on a project called Detours and Destinations. With partners Shopfront Contemporary Arts Centre, Juvenile Justice and The Sydney Opera House, Heaps Decent visited two schools in areas of Sydney that had a high percentage of young people in juvenile detention. Over 3 months we ran music and video workshops and produced 4 songs from those workshops featuring the young people singing and rapping. We then put on an exhibition at The Sydney Opera House that allowed an audience to interact with the songs with a dancefloor that worked as a controller for the music. It was a huge project with some great results!

We’re now looking to release an EP of the songs we made, along with some video clips AND some remixes of the songs by some friends of Heaps Decent. We have one song left to remix and we thought we’d make the call out here to see what you guys can come up with!

The song we want you to remix is called “Lomandra Crew.” It was made by a group of students at Lomandra High School in Campbelltown. They wrote the lyrics with us and helped us produce the beat too. The final song was arranged by Adam Bozzetto.

The original track can be heard HERE.

Below are the parts for the remix, the winner gets their remix on the Detours & Destinations release and a shiny new Apogee One, the soundcard we use to record at all Heaps Decent workshops!  Thanks to Apogee for providing the prize!


Assets for the remix can be found HERE

Finished mixes can be uploaded HERE

All entries should be received no later than July 9th and the winning remix will be chosen and announced by July 16th.




Levins will be a guest on tonight’s Jailbreak on Sydney radio station 2ser.

Jailbreak gives a voice to prison inmates, their families and friends, providing information on criminal, prison and health issues as well as connecting prisoners to the community through their music, poetry, views and health messages.

Levins will be sharing stories from Heaps Decent’s Juvenile Justice Workshops over that last 3 years and playing some songs created in the workshops over the half hour program.

You can tune in from 6:30 – 7:00pm on 2ser 107.3 FM or stream it on the 2ser website. We’ll try to make the show available for download later in the week.



As this week is Reconciliation Week and the 10 year anniversary of the Reconciliation Bridge Walk, the New South Wales Reconciliation Council held a Schools Reconciliation Challenge to raise awareness of the concept of Reconciliation amongst young people. Yesterday, some of the Heaps Decent crew headed down to their Awards Ceremony where we were privileged to experience a fantastic choir performance by Revesby South Public School students and Major Award winner Paige Lagettie’s stellar performance of her Major Award winning song! 



Detours and Destinations opens TOMORROW!

Our biggest program yet starts this Wednesday in the Studio at the Opera House and we would love for everyone to come and get involved!

Heaps Decent has been working along side Shopfront, The Sydney Opera House and the Dept of Juvenile Justice to create a mix of music, dance and technology called DETOURS AND DESTINATIONS. It’s been an intense and exhilarating couple of months putting this show together, and now you can experience it too! 


Wednesday 5 May 
1.15 – 3pm
6.30 – 8pm

Thursday 6 & Friday 7 May
11 – 11.45am
12 – 12.45pm
1.15 – 3pm
6.30 – 8pm 

Each of the 6:30pm sessions will feature guest vocalists rapping over the beats produced during the Detours workshops. These vocalists will be:

Wed: D-Minor & Low Tee
Thurs: Young Nooky & Marley, Miracle
Fri: MC Shureshock & breakdancers

For more info head to the Detours and Destinations page on The Sydney Opera House website: LINK

Check out the projects blog:  www.detoursanddestinations.com.au

Listen to and DOWNLOAD the four mastered songs we made with the kids at Miimali & Lomandra! SOUNDCLOUD

Aaaand: follow http://twitter.com/detours_tweets for your chance to interact with the visuals at the show!

Everyone is welcome! It would be fantastic to see you there!