News / Winnipeg

Creating sonic space: Electronic music workshop aims to amp up women

The Manitoba Music workshops are designed to offer a safe, encouraging and judgement-free environment to women and non-binary people.

Producer and artist Joanne Pollock's first Equalizer workshop is this Thursday.

Contributed/Jean-Philippe Sansfa

Producer and artist Joanne Pollock's first Equalizer workshop is this Thursday.

A new workshop in Winnipeg wants to show women and non-binary people the ins and outs—and highs and lows—of electronic music.

Artist and producer Joanne Pollock, a curator and facilitator for the workshop series, will be teaching the first of several Equalizer auto production workshops through Manitoba Music starting Thursday.

The workshops are designed to offer a safe, encouraging and judgement-free environment to women and non-binary people looking to learn the craft.

“I feel like the electronic music scene here [in Winnipeg] can be a little bit lacking sometimes,” Pollock said.

“And my friend mentioned—well maybe it’s because people don’t know how to make it.”

The workshops were created in response to that gap, and to make the electronic music accessible to those who think it's intimidating, given its use of technology.

“It’s really hard to genuinely learn and feel comfortable if you feel like there might be people around that feel like you can’t or shouldn’t, and so I just wanted to create a space for people to learn,” she said.

But even once you’ve learned, Pollock said it can be difficult working in music as a woman.

“I think that there are a lot of women and non-binary people trying to make their way in electronic music, but I think that so many of us have experienced that when you try and go further… there’s this reaction that’s kind of like ‘you don’t belong here,’” she said.

It's a subtle hint that women are not capable or welcome.

“That’s a real thing that I definitely experienced. I was extra self-conscious of people seeing me as incapable.”

As a way to further eliminate barriers, the workshop is $10 or pay-what-you-can.

“A lot of people just feel like they have nothing to contribute. If you have five dollars that’s fine, we’re all just going to learn in a comfortable environment for everybody,” Pollock said.

She also opted to teach students on the Roland JU-06 synthesizer, as it’s one of the more affordable options.

The first workshop will cover the fundamentals of basic synths, oscillators, filters, envelopes, and learning how to get the sound you want from your synthesizer, with hands-on experience. It’s happening at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at 1-376 Donald St.

Later workshops will look at the basics of using drum machines and sequences, and bring in guests to talk about their methods of working and studio set-up.

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