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    Seun Erinle is not musically inclined, but she spends a lot of time making beats. The 35-year-old uses computers and drum machines to teach kids critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through her company A.I.R. (Aspiration, Inspiration, and Reasoning) Labs. The idea is to encourage young people to become creators, rather than just consumers, of technology, by offering courses in graphic design, web development and music production. In 2019, she says, A.I.R. worked with 121 students at various schools and educational programs. The Kentucky Foundation for Women recently awarded Erinle a $6,500 grant to create a program for young Black girls, and she says she will soon teach a course on music production to boys in an afterschool program at Americana Community Center, the South End nonprofit for
    immigrants and refugees.

    Technology has fascinated Erinle since she was a child. Her Nigerian-born father was a gadget addict, so the family had a computer before they were commonplace in homes. In fact, she went off to the University of South Carolina with a computer she and her father built. In 2014, Erinle, who has a computer-science degree, started A.I.R. Labs in Chattanooga, Tennessee, then moved to Louisville in 2017 to be with her partner.

    So far this school year, Erinle has held her six-week “Rhythm Camp” at Western Middle School and the West End School. During the classes, she pairs two students at a computer connected to a device with 16 pads that can each be programmed to make different sounds. “Some kids get so into it that they go way beyond my beat-making skills,” Erinle says. “This one kid made this kind of electro-house, trap sort of beat that was so good that he might have invented a new genre of music.”

     

    This originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Beats By Day.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Danny Alexander, dannyalexanderphoto.com

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