Imagine not just embracing girls and nonbinary and queer trans kids as music students – but encouraging DIY, hot-wiring a cactus, playing together, and leaning into errors. It’s Error Music – Don’t Delete!
That’s Fehlerkultur in German – literally, error culture. It’s maybe the opposite of the way a lot of us were exposed to musical practice – both in the classical concert tradition and in the industry, even some of us who do music-related things for a living. But from DIY electronics and hacking to sound design to live performance, music can become a tool to boost confidence, say the organizers. It helps early teenaged girls and queer trans kids (“Mädchen* und nonbinary Kids“) discover creative potential and make a future for sound and technology.
In short, it’s just the sort of thing the world needs right now. With the pandemic disrupting education and socialization, pushing marginalized folks even further away from their dreams, gender divides deepen, and with so many people engaged in the music world underemployed – here is a path forward. Whereas so much of music can seem competitive and a zero-sum game, here is a musical learning and sharing approach that has near bottomless potential.
The Error Music project is here in Berlin with a team led by producer/vocalist Yosa Peit, plus mentors from the Amplify program / residency like the inimitable Sasha Perera (Perera Elsewhere), venue ACUD Macht Neu, and nonprofit education partner Junge Tüftler. Support comes from the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education, ACUD, and (gear!) KORG and others.
So this is “techno” in the broadest sense – using machines as a mechanism for self-discovery and radical transformation, patterns as philosophy, ways of being and playing with other people, and electronic music as a way of making expression okay, away from the normative and exclusionary rules around us.
Here’s the basic formula:
Head to schools and youth clubs in the neighborhoods of Berlin.
Produce a “safe space for playful exploration” for girls and QT kids.
Work for five days together.
Explore production, technique, and DIY stuff (including DIY MIDI controllers, Sonic Pi live coding, and some of the usual fundamentals, too).
Finish with an experimental live performance with everybody – including, for added energy and motivation, sets by the mentors.
Maybe best is seeing some images of how this works in action – in case you need some added inspiration for making something like this happen in your neck of the woods. I love that a live performance is the end result – that’s something I like to practice, too, with participatory platforms.
Have a little added DIY spice yourselves – check out the resources (DE/EN), which links to includes instructions, mini-tutorials, downloads, and more:
More info (DE/EN):
Oh yeah, and please don’t miss Yosa’s superb album Phyton. We need more musicians and producers who can sing and teach. Maybe this should be something we demand of artists rather than seeing it as a day gig. It’s part of our role in the world.
And, anyway, it’s a fantastic album – personal, punk, poignant, deep. Plus – necklaces as merch, clever. We all need some musical healing and some accessories.