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 monitor. Check out the info below for upcoming workshops, classes, and other exciting events taking place in the Beat Lab! Questions? Check out our FAQ.
Open Lab Hours
Monday 10am – 1pm
Tuesday 10am – 1pm
Thursday 5pm – 8pm
By appointment. Please contact Kelli Smith-Biwer at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to visit the lab.
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.
Kelli Smith-Biwer is the current monitor for the Beat Lab. You may contact her at email@example.com or visit her during Open Lab hours.
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 Kelli Smith-Biwer. You can learn more about Kelli and her work here!
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.
More About the Beat Lab
In The Press
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.
New kind of beat makin’
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.
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.