Music Innovation Flows Around the World

Mark Katz, a Distinguished Professor of Humanities and former chair of the music department, noticed a gap in the music curriculum at UNC: Courses were mainly aimed at students who had formal music training.

So, with support from an Innovation Grant from the UNC Institute of the Arts and Humanities, he developed Beat Making Lab, which quickly evolved into much more than just a course.

Imagine a music studio small enough to fit into a backpack. That’s what Mark and his colleagues started taking around the world, collaborating with community partners to offer beat-making training to talented youth. The project donated equipment and software to local community centers, with the goal of making local labs self-sustaining. The project became so successful that PBS Digital Studios featured it in a web series.

Recognized for its innovative strides, the music department was awarded more than $3 million in 2013 from the U.S. State Department to launch Next Level – a program that promotes international cultural exchange and conflict resolution through music and dance. Through the program, UNC has coordinated exchange programs and conducted workshops in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America and South America.

A single innovation at UNC can grow into much more and make an impact on lives across the globe. With your support, Innovate Carolina will make this continue to happen.

Related Stories


Siblings Guide the Next Generation

Teaching Beyond the Scope of a Classroom

Southern voices, future leaders