Audio: The beat boys — Club provides opportunity for music exploration, socialization


Matt Petres

The new beatmaking club gives students the chance to learn new skills and connect with peers with similar interests.

Téa Tamburo and Sahana Unni

In a math classroom filled with boys laughing and chatting, junior Yuan Zhuang plugs his computer into the projector, the sound of one of his original beats cutting through the socializing as the digital music software he created it with is displayed on the screen.

From creating digital music to simply sharing laughs among friends, U-High’s beat-making club provides a welcoming community that’s inclusive to students passionate about music, looking to learn more about the subject, or just wanting to hang out with friends.

After being passionate about digital music for years, Yuan introduced junior Jacob Liu to beat making in middle school and, together, they decided to bring their interest to the broader Lab community this school year.

“In high school we started thinking about how we could kind of turn our passion for music into something we could share with other people and give other people the opportunity for, so that’s when we came together to make this club,” Jacob said.

The club meets every Monday during lunch, when they are given the opportunity to create or listen to different beats together. According to Jacob, he and Yuan keep club activities flexible to encourage member collaboration.

“The club is very laid back. We try to give our members a lot of freedom in terms of how they approach the club and what experiences they want to get. Sometimes we’ll do a collaborative project where we’ll open up a project on the music software, and usually Yuan and I will lay a foundation and then members who want to come up and contribute will come up and add a melody, and then Yuan and I will work on it just to make any final touches and then upload it to Instagram to share what we’ve made,” Jacob said.

While some members may have enjoyed creating digital music prior to beat-making club, others, including junior Sasha Duda, originally joined to hang out with friends, only to discover an interest in the subject while participating.

“I’ve always enjoyed listening to music. I’ve never been the biggest into actually playing it specifically, but this has definitely garnered some interest in creating it more and it definitely motivates me to listen to more music,” Sasha said.

While junior Dante Vairus said he hasn’t learned much about actually creating digital music, the club has given him the opportunity to better connect with his friends.

“I think the beats that we’ve created have sometimes been pretty decent, so I guess I’ve learned about my peers’ general passion and talent for beat-making,” Dante said.

Despite many participants being close friends, Dante believes Yuan and Jacob put a lot of effort into the club, and its work should be taken seriously.

“They come in, they connect their laptop every day and they make beats. Sometimes the beats are quite dreadful, because it’s meant to be so. Sometimes there’ll be a joke beat, like when they sampled the fire alarm and played it on the speakers the whole time,” Dante said.

For Jacob, beat-making club introduced him to a hobby that now extends beyond the walls of the club room.

“It’s kind of like a side passion, extracurricular that I like to do whenever I have the free time to do it and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve started becoming more confident in my work and started publishing it. Well, not publishing — sharing — it through, like, YouTube or Soundcloud, and I’ve gotten some traction and I began to market my beats which I’ve made specifically for, like, hip hop and rap and pop, and sometimes people buy them and I get some revenue from that which is a nice side hustle,” Jacob said.

While some members create and sell beats individually, Yuan said there is a lot of collaboration that occurs within the club. 

“I think my favorite thing that I’ve seen in the club is seeing other people help each other out when it comes to making a song. We all collaborate together and we all try out new things and show each other new tricks to make music,” Yuan said.

Sasha echoed these sentiments, saying his favorite moment in the club was creating themed beats as a group.

“We made this Halloween beat and everyone was kind of engaged in it and wanted to create the beat and make some sort of themed thing to get the mood up which was really cool for all of us to work together on something for the first time,” Sasha said.

From fun with friends, to discovering a new passion, beat-making club has turned a niche interest into a tightly knit community and always promises a good time.

“We don’t take it all too seriously because sometimes we just mess around and make silly beats,” Jacob said.

Reporting on behalf of myself and Téa Tamburo, I’m Sahana Unni from the U-High Midway.