Beat Making Lab is a brilliantly simple and stylishly executed idea bringing electronic music education to communities around the world. Though the lab initially started as a music production course at the University, it has since been transformed into a global project with the two teachers taking their know-how and a travelling studio around the world.
The Lab itself is a crowdfunded “electronic music studio small enough to fit in a backpack” that offers young musicians the tools, skills and opportunity to make their own beats. For each lab the “teachers” (producers Apple Juice Kid and MC Pierce Freelon) spend two weeks in a local organisation teaching young people the skills to professionalise their music and become part of the 21st century global digital music community. Though the producers go back to the US, the equipment stays as an investment in the artists and the community.
The whole project is very elegantly designed and is backed by PBS, the American public broadcasting channel which airs an episode of the lab each Wednesday on its YouTube channel. There have so far been labs in Congo and Panama while the Senegal lab is currently being screened. Accompanying the mini-documentaries Beat Making Lab releases a free EP of beats made during the Lab via Mad Decent and sets a challenge for producers around the world to make a beat using samples from the Lab – giving them the chance to appear on the EP.