Lesson Plan: Exploring the History of Detroit Techno

Celebrating The Detroit Techno Icon Juan Atkins

Grade Level: High School (9th-12th grade)

Subject: Music History

Duration: 2 class periods (90 minutes each)


By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Identify the unique characteristics of the Techno genre.
2. Understand the significance of recognizing creators in a musical art form.
3. Explain why Juan Atkins is considered the originator of Detroit Techno.
4. Recognize artists who have sampled songs by Juan Atkins.
5. Analyze original source documents related to the history of Detroit Techno.
6. Determine the release date of Juan Atkins’ first track.


1. Whiteboard and markers
2. Projector or screen for multimedia presentation
3. Computers/tablets for research (optional)
4. Handouts of relevant articles and source documents
5. Audio clips of Techno tracks, including examples by Juan Atkins

Extension Activities (Optional):

Listening Session: Play a selection of Techno tracks from different eras, including tracks by Juan Atkins, to help students better understand the evolution of the genre.
Artist Profile: Assign students to research and create a presentation on another key figure in the Detroit Techno scene, such as Eddie Fowlkes, Derrick May or Kevin Saunderson.
Create Your Techno Track: Have students experiment with creating their own Techno track using digital music software or apps.

Download and print this FREE we have created to highlight Juan Atkins and his place in Techno and EDM music history:

Juan Atkins Poster

About David Grandison Jr.

Music Origins Project is curated by David Grandison Jr. This site aims to remove the chronological and geographic barriers faced by music aficionados, students and travelers seeking to learn about the origins of the various musical genre while providing a platform for young writers and content creators to be published so that their voices can be heard.