Roland furthers Electronic Music Education with Detroit High School Program

Roland has announced the Detroit School of Arts (DSA) Electronic Music Education Program, an innovative learning model developed in conjunction with Detroit’s creative powerhouses Submerge and Underground Music Academy, will be renewed for a second year courtesy of Paxahau, in partnership with the Detroit Techno Foundation. This electronic music education program, which serves high school-level students in the greater Detroit area, has thrived in its first year as a pilot thanks to dedicated support from DSA, Detroit’s music community, and guidance from Roland on the program’s strategic proposal, curriculum, equipment, and organization.  

Roland’s connection with the Detroit music scene runs deep, supplying tools that have spawned new musical frontiers in the hands of the city’s visionary creative community, with the brand’s iconic synthesizer and drum machines playing a pivotal role in shaping the vast and historic musical landscape. While filming and producing the critically acclaimed mini-documentary “Somewhere in Detroit,” which showcases 30+ years of the city’s creative impact, Roland launched the Detroit School of Arts Electronic Music Education Pilot Program in September of 2023.

Recognizing a gap in contemporary electronic music education engagement within schools, the curricular model for the program offers a diverse array of skill-building courses, encompassing DJing, beatmaking, music production, sound design, and industry studies. These courses provide students with the foundational knowledge to pursue further music studies or embark on their own careers. Place-based lessons also provide students with a profound understanding of the legacy and cultural impact of local producers and DJs on the global music landscape.

Paxahau, the renowned Detroit-based production company, is funding the program’s continuation, welcoming a new intake of students for the ‘24-’25 school year. Specializing in event management, booking, and promotion since the early days of Detroit’s underground party scene, Paxahau is known as the driving force behind Detroit’s iconic Movement Music Festival, one of the longest-running dance music events in the world.

“As a music teacher, having support and resources to tap into my student’s creativity and musical tastes has been a beautiful experience. I’m so proud of this cohort and all they were able to accomplish in this first year of the pilot program, I know it’s only up from here!” said Maritza Figueroa-Garibay, Director of Orchestras and Electronic Music for Detroit School of Arts.

“Learning how to make my own music electronically was amazing and so exciting, especially for how easy it was. I’m glad that DSA finally has a program that lets students express themselves musically, but with electronics!” said Mariessa Nelson, a current student at Detroit School of Arts.

“This program is the first of its kind for a school and instrument manufacturer. We’ve developed a progressive educational model that brings together schools and creative communities with Roland instruments to create transformative classroom experiences. Working closely with Maritza Figueroa-Garibay and members of Submerge and Underground Music Academy, we created an initiative that not only advances student learning but also provides critical insights into scalable educational models, the evolving needs of music creators, and informs Roland’s product R&D strategies,” said Matthew Chicoine, Roland’s global strategic product marketing manager.

For more information about starting an electronic music education program at your school, please reach out to: [email protected].

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