The Roland Beat Garden and God Said Give Em Drum Machines Teach Kids About Programming and Detroit Techno 101

The Roland Beat Garden and God Said Give Em Drum Machines Teach Kids About Programming and Detroit Techno 101
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The Roland Beat Garden Teaches Teens to Program Beats

The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), is happening from February 9–20, 2023, in Los Angeles. The Roland Beat Garden was an event at the PAFF Children’s festival that allowed young people in the local community to interact with drum machines and learn to make beats while learning about the history of Blacks in electronic music. The Beat Garden was a FREE experience that was developed to allow young people to interact with historic cutting-edge electronic music instruments like the Roland 808 or the 303 and gain insight into Techno history. This weekend the Music Origins Project launched The Detroit Techno 101 curriculum with Washington Hill Productions, creators of the film “God Said Give Em Drum Machines”, at the Roland Beat Garden in honor of Black History Month. The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) celebrates films from across the diaspora so the venue was perfect for the launch of this project.

Detroit Techno 101 was launched to a huge turnout of young people and film lovers at the Beat Garden event that Roland sponsored. The Detroit Techno 101 curriculum features lesson plans that enable young people to learn to program Roland drum machine emulators and make their own beats at home using tools they can use for free on their home computer or tablet (check out our lesson plan on the TR-808 and TR-303 drum machines). It also features lessons and discussion guides that help students and music aficionados delve deeper into the history of the creation of Techno in Detroit. The film “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” sheds light on the development of Techno by teens in Detroit in the early 80s and dispels a number of myths of Techno having purely European origins. Teens in Detroit were passionate about dance music and used this interest to learn to program drum machines and synthesizers and change the face of music around the world. At the event, the “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” team and representatives from Roland encouraged young people to interact with a number of classic drum machines, synthesizers, and electronic Instruments like the TR-808 and TR-303 that were supplied by Roland. The filmmakers encouraged the young people in attendance to follow in the footsteps of the teenage creators of Techno that are highlighted in the film. The Beat Garden also partnered with the filmmakers to create awareness about the resources for teachers and students in the Detroit Techno 101 curriculum. The Music Origins Project and the filmmakers created the curriculum to use young people’s natural passion for music to help them to develop an interest in computer programming, improve technology literacy and other STEM skills in urban communities across the country.

Roland, James Fauntleroy, Champion, and Washington Hill Pictures the creators of “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” presented the Beat Garden as part of the PAFF Children’s festival on Saturday, February 11, 2023 from 1230 -230 PM PST at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The film will premiere at the festival in LA on February 16.

Learn more about Detroit Techno 101 curriculum


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.