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Welcome to the Beat Lab!

The Beat Lab is a community space where musicians can use a wide variety of DJ gear, electronic music tools, and digital resources to practice, create, and collaborate. Any UNC student is welcome to come use the space! Come by during our posted Open Lab hours or make an appointment by contacting the lab coordinator. Check out the info below for upcoming workshops, classes, and other exciting events taking place in the Beat Lab! Questions? Check out our FAQ.

DJ PlayPlay and workshop participants during the “DJing 101” workshop. (Credit KSB)


Open Lab Hours

The beat lab holds open hours only while classes are in session. For the Spring Semester of 2023, the lab will holding open hours from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Appointments are also available Monday-Friday. Contact Destiny Meadows at to set up a time to visit the lab.


Who’s who?

Mark Katz, John P. Barker Distinguished Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies, is the creator of the Beat Lab, director of the Carolina Hip Hop Institute, and was the founding director of the Next Level hip hop ambassador program.

Suzi Analogue, Teaching Assistant Professor of hip hop and production, works closely with the Beat Lab Coordinator and oversees the Beat Lab operations.

Destiny Meadows is the current Beat Lab Coordinator. You may contact her at or visit her during Open Lab hours.


Upcoming events

Check out the exciting workshops, classes, and concerts taking place by going to the Beat Lab Events Page!



Who can use the Beat Lab?

The Beat Lab is open to the public and designed to be a community resource. UNC students, faculty, and staff are particularly welcome. Faculty members are also encouraged to use the Beat Lab in their classes! Just reach out the monitor to schedule visits or tours.

What kinds of gear is in the Beat Lab?

The Beat Lab has several DJ turntables and mixers, including analog, digital, and CDJ stations. There are also several tools for making electronic music such as sythesizers (analog and digital), loop machines, microphones, and a variety of MIDI controllers. We even have a theremin!

I do most of my beat making on my laptop. Does the Beat Lab have any digital beat making tools?

The Beat Lab has computers loaded up with the most up to date Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) including Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Serato, Max MSP, the full Adobe Suite and more.

How can I learn about how to use the gear in the Beat Lab?

The music department hosts several courses that engage with the Beat Lab, including classes that focus on beat making, production, and DJing. Check out the course catalogue to peruse the department offerings!

The Beat Lab monitor is also a great resource and can show visitors the basics on the gear to get them started.

Finally, we host several hands-on workshops during the school year. Check out the Events Page to learn more!

When can I come visit the lab?

The Beat Lab is open the public during the Open Lab hours posted above. We do understand that UNC students are busy! If those Open Lab hours do not work for you, reach out to the monitor and set up a visit. The monitor will gladly find a time that works for everyone involved!

Can I take the gear from the Beat Lab for my own use?

No, the gear in the Beat Lab must stay in the room. We do make some exceptions for performances and special events.

Who monitors the Beat Lab?

The Beat Lab is monitored by the Arts Everywhere Music Technology fellow. The fellow is a graduate student in the music department who has experience with music technology and community outreach. This year’s fellow is musicology student Destiny Meadows.

My friend is not a UNC student, but is interested in seeing the Beat Lab. Can I bring them with me to Open Lab?

Yes! The Beat Lab is open to the public.  Anyone may visit during Open Lab and every visitor will be required to sign in.


In The Press

Good Vibrations

February 9, 2024

An upbeat electronic melody echoes through the hallway outside of Hill Hall room 109.

Inside, students dance and socialize. But they also create the music that moves them — measuring, mixing, and experimenting with sound.

“It’s meant to feel welcoming, quirky, eclectic, and have a lot of energy,” Katz says.

Make no mistake — this is a lab.

The Beat Lab was inspired by two courses taught by Carolina music professor Mark Katz: “The Art and Culture of the DJ” and “Beat Making Lab.” At the same time, Katz was researching how DJs have transformed music technology into a creative force — and began collecting turntables. He found a small room on campus to share his collection with students.

In 2013, the Beat Lab became a reality. But Katz didn’t want the space to feel like a traditional lab. He filled it with furniture from home, his personal record collection, and books detailing the history of beat-making around the world. He even had two murals commissioned: one with Ramses performing a DJ set and another of DNA strands embellished with letters that spell: “the Beat is the DNA.”

Continue reading “Good Vibrations”

Renowned artist Suzi Analogue appointed to music faculty


The department is thrilled to announce the appointment of renowned songwriter and producer Maya Shipman, professionally known as Suzi Analogue, as Teaching Assistant Professor of Music.

“The Department of Music at Carolina is excited to welcome Maya Shipman to our faculty. Professor Shipman brings an immense amount of knowledge and experience as a producer in electronic music,” remarked Professor and Chair David Garcia. “Her specializations in music production, technology, and diplomacy have had a global reach and will contribute greatly to the department’s and the university’s new curricular goals of preparing our students to be lifelong learners and creators in a 21st-century world.”

Continue reading “Renowned artist Suzi Analogue appointed to music faculty”

Beat Lab workshops build skills and community

October 14, 2021

A lesser-known gem of the music department is the Beat Lab, located on the first floor of Hill Hall. This space includes the latest music production software and equipment, such as turntables, digital mixing boards, and more. It’s a great space for students to learn the art of hip hop, DJ’ing, and digital music creation.

This year, Ph.D. Candidate Kelli Smith-Biwer is bringing more awareness of the space to the department and broader campus community through workshops for students, faculty, and staff. Kelli is the inaugural Arts Everywhere Graduate Fellow in Music Technology and will be hosting four workshops in the Beat Lab this semester. The first of which, DJ’ing 101, occurred a couple of weeks ago and featured DJ PlayPlay, aka Jess Dilday.

Continue reading “Beat Lab workshops build skills and community”

New kind of beat makin’

June 2015

Ready to make some music? Beat Making Lab provides students with the basic tools to begin making music by using a laptop, a mic and music production software. It doesn’t require students to read standard music or play a traditional instrument. Instead they learn composition, sampling and songwriting on laptops, and are encouraged to sample the sounds of their own neighborhoods and to use these sounds in their productions.

Continue reading “New kind of beat makin'” on

Foreign exchange: UNC Beat Lab curriculum to be taught in Goma, DRC

May 7, 2012

May 13th is UNC’s graduation date, which makes it an appropriate day for the UNC Beat Making Lab to release its free compilation. These 13 tracks—which draw samples from a wide variety of North Carolina acts—represent the final project from a course on beat-making taught by The Beast emcee Pierce Freelon and Chapel Hill producer extraordinaire Stephen Levitin— better-known in music circles as the Apple Juice Kid. While the compilation will be free, there’s currently an Indiegogo campaign set up to send Freelon and Apple Juice to Goma, DR Congo, this summer, where they’ll teach the same course at the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival (SKIFF). They will also build and leave a beat studio. This fits within the mission of ARTVSM, a socially conscious art-and-activism company run by the two.

After the jump, read our conversation with Freelon and Apple Juice about the UNC Beat Making Lab and their international aspirations. And while you’re here, you may as well hit play on Sup Doodle’s “It Doesn’t Hurt a Bit,” a track from the upcoming compilation.

Continue reading “Foreign exchange” on



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