Give a Beat Foundation

Give A Beat’s Prison Electronic Music Program Adapts to a Pandemic


Last year Rex presented a grant to the Give a Beat Foundation to support its work of reducing the harmful effects of incarceration through music production, DJing and other education programs. In their Prison Electronic Music Program (above), for example, participants learned about

  • Music production and DJing through hands-on learning of the software, hardware and techniques used by professionals.

  • How to work as a Producer/DJ. Brand and business development focus for various careers within the larger scope of the music industry with workforce development and pathways in mind.

  • The role of the Producer and DJ – Ability to play and produce all types of music to all types of people, creating a vibe, bringing together diverse people, learning to read people, listening, connecting, healing.

  • Historical context of electronic music that was founded in diverse communities and attracted people of all different cultures – laying the groundwork for a large, entrepreneur driven industry.

  • How these values relate/connect to social, emotional-learning. Music as mood-shifter, peace-builder, promotes conflict resolution. 

In a recent update, Give a Beat shared comments from some of the students:

“A DJ must avoid ignoring the vibe of the audience. If the crowd is not feeling the music the DJ needs to think fast and adapt the set. Also, a DJ must avoid the fear of introducing new songs and concepts. He/she should always have the enthusiasm to share music. After all, you are not performing for yourself. The vibe being sent is of unity, accomplishment, and celebration.”

“I feel like music can help resolve conflict in my life by being available to me at all times. Music for me is like a portal to the soul. Therefore when it’s there I allow the music to speak for it. For example, when I’m having a not so good day, I listen to music that motivates me and I let the music do its magic.”

Like so many such efforts, the program suffered a setback when COVID-19 made in-person classes and training impossible. But with the support of the State of California, Give a Beat has been able to provide music education and homework packets for their students at both California City (CAC) and Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP).  They have also sourced and produced curriculum-related videos available to people inside all 36 California State Prison facilities.

We are delighted to be a supporter of Give a Beat and its great work!