Stoer: graduating on hip-hop and Chopin

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Hessel Stoer

Hessel Stoer graduated as a Music Teacher at the Prince Claus Conservatoire on January 29. The 23-year-old Frisian studied piano: classical piano. He did his graduation research on the influence of hip-hop on the personal development of young people. "It's not about whether you can play Chopin perfectly, but what music can contribute to society."

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Text: Loes Vader
Video: Ward Jonkman

Frisian Roots and 50 Cent

Hessel has his roots in Menaldum, a Frisian village between Leeuwarden and Franeker. "Not a bustling area, but mainly small and rural. I wanted to do something with music even then, my mother is a classical singer and took me to piano lessons as a five-year-old." At VMBO, Hessel saw boys who spent a lot of time on the streets. "I also have a bit of mischief in me, which is why I easily associated with those guys. At the same time, I discovered hip-hop. My brother listened to 50 Cent and I loved it. To this day, hip-hop is my number one music style, genre and culture. I can relate to the style of dress, I share the mindset, the rebelliousness, the rhyming, the poetry and what it can bring you when you share it with others. When you share your emotions on music, you also process them."


Hessel did his graduation research on STU33, an open studio in Wijkcentrum Het Dok, an initiative of the WIJ-team Lewenborg. The studio offers young people a creative and safe environment in which they learn to express themselves musically. The core of Hessel's research is about personal development and what STU33 can contribute to the development of young people. Under the guidance of producer Stijn Swarts, Stinna, and youth worker Arne Hofstede, they make their own songs. Hessel guides the young people in the creative process, according to the hip-hop principle each one, teach one. Hessel: 'Stijn makes the beats, he sits behind the computer and I chat with the boys. I try to motivate and inspire them. What do you want to talk about? What would you like to say something about? In the studio, you talk about their daily struggles. By rapping, thematising their problems and turning them into hip-hop songs, they learn about themselves and each other."

Hessel thinks it is important that there are places like STU33 with informal learning outside the school walls. "This fits in with the boys and today's society. I have confirmed this with literature from many other studies. Hip-hop Therapy is a part of it. A lot of research has been done in the same kind of open studio, in the Bronx where hip-hop originated."


Zeyah (15) is part of the permanent crew of STU33 and is doing an internship there. "I started writing music in 8th grade, my whole family is involved in music. My dad was a rapper and my mom sings. At one point, Arne came up to me on the street: you make music, don't you? He invited me to come over. Now the studio is my second home. I always feel welcome here."

Zeyah says he can't talk about his feelings very well. "I can write about it in my music. If I didn't rap, it wouldn't have turned out well. Rapping keeps me off the streets. Zeyah has three goals, which he keeps in mind. "I want to earn enough money so my mom doesn't have to work as much. I dream of having a big name and performing in front of thousands of people. But above all, I want to be a good example for young people. A lot of young people spend a lot of time on the streets trying to make a quick buck. I want to show that there are less dangerous ways to make money. By following your passion."

Sunny days

Hessel graduated on January 29 in a packed Conservatoire. He is the first student at the Prince Claus Conservatoire to graduate in hip-hop research. During his graduation, he let the audience hear and experience the versatility of his 'artistic profile'. Hip-hop and Chopin. That he is both STU33 and a music teacher at high school. That he raps without denying his classical roots. The youngsters of STU33 also got the stage with the song Sunny Days. Hessel: 'If you can find what connects you with someone else, you can make things together. The energy and power of making music together brings a positive outlook for the future.’


Hessel Stoer has been named HanzeHeld (Hanze Hero) of the Year by the Hanze University of Applied Sciences for his special graduation research. On April 8, he will compete for the title of HBO Hero 2024, a national, annual award for the most socially engaged and innovative research at a Dutch university of applied sciences.

Fields of interest

  • Arts and Culture