Academy FAQ

How much does it cost to enroll & take classes in The Academy?

Thanks to funders and individual donors, classes at the Words Beats & Life Academy are offered FREE OF CHARGE to young people ages 13-23!


How do I enroll in the Academy?

Click the following link to enroll in the Academy.


What’s the class schedule?

The Academy is enrollment-based, and to ensure we are a good match for you, we release our daily class schedule on the site so you know what classes you are best prepared to enroll in. If you have a specific question about a particular class offering or if you’d like to schedule a site visit to see our program in action, feel free to email us at with any questions.


Do I have to attend every day?  What if I miss class?

Yes.  We encourage students to attend as regularly as possible, although we understand that sometimes things come up.  Regular attendance is vital because the more energy and commitment you put into your craft, the more you’ll see yourself improve and grow within your chosen craft!  In order to increase from one Apprentice level to the next, regular attendance is required. If you miss class, we ask that you call or notify your teacher ahead of time and that you work to catch up on what you missed.


Will I have the chance to perform?

One of our goals is to make world-class performance opportunities available to our students – we frequently get invitations to perform at various events, festivals, and well-known venues in the DC area.  We also host an event specifically for our students to showcase their talents and specific projects they’ve worked on during a class session called All City.


What is a “Student Showcase”?

“All City” is our end-of-session student showcase featuring performance and exhibition opportunities for students from all of our different site locations, in the same space at the same time. Students get to freestyle, perform, show their artwork, play chess, read poetry, spin records, and support each other in front of an audience of their peers, friends and family.  It happens the last day of the session and is open to your friends, family, interested new students and supporters of Words Beats & Life.  There are also times we partner with other organizations to showcase their students as well.


How do I get a WBL T-Shirt?

WBL T-Shirts are given out to Apprentice Students at All City, as an end of session gift.


What is the Apprentice Program?

At Words Beats & Life, we think of our students as Apprentices.  As a way of tracking each student’s progress through the Academy, we have created the Apprentice Program; a skill-based ranking structure that determines what opportunities each student can access within the program.

Once accepted into the Academy, students start at the Sojourner level and work their way up the ladder until they become a master of their craft. Whether or not a student is able to progress from one level to the next has to do with two factors: consistency in participation and skill mastery.


Can I earn community service hours at WBL?

Most definitely!  Students who attend Academy classes have the opportunity to earn community service hours by volunteering at WBL Signature Events. Ambitious Apprentices may also design and plan community service projects.  Just make sure to sign in on the attendance sheets at events so we can keep track of your hours!  At the end of the session or the school year, you can request a community service letter from the Academy Director and we can fill out the needed documentation to get you set; we’ve got you covered!


Are holidays and weather the only reasons the Academy closes?

After each 3-month session, the Academy takes a 2-week break (typically these breaks coincide with winter vacation, spring break, the start of summer vacation, and Thanksgiving).  We also break during the month of September for student recruitment – where Apprentices help us recruit additional students during regular program hours.  Still have questions about if we’re open or not? Give us a call at 202-667-1192 or email


Are there volunteer opportunities within the Academy?  How do I become a teacher at WBL?

Absolutely! We love having adult artists and lovers of the culture come out to interact with our students.  We recruit adults to participate in our Speaker Series on a rolling basis throughout the year.  You would be invited to come to an Academy class and talk to our Apprentices about your experience with Hip-Hop, what your school trajectory was like, where you’ve worked, and what you do 9-5.  In terms of employment opportunities, everyone who works for WBL starts off as a volunteer first – if you’d like to be a volunteer substitute teacher or guest instructor position, and eventually be considered to join our paid staff, please include that in your email to the Academy Director!


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