What to get with €3000,- budget for workshops

What’s going on elektronauts?

I’m planning to start giving electronic jam session workshops for small groups (ages 13 and up) at a creative breeding ground we’re starting up here in the Netherlands.

I need to make a financial plan of a setup which can accommodate up to 6 students. Budget is around €3000,-.

Wondering what you guys would get for something like this.

Remember the students might have no prior experience making music at all.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.



I often think about this as I’m a High School teacher and the thing that comes to my mind is getting Elektron Model:Cycles and Model:Samples. The students provide their own Headphones.

Edit : make a show at the end with students compositions.


Omg im also dreaming about making something like that! A music hangout place.

MS20 is in my opinion the easiest synth to understand and make it sound good. With a ton of creative ways to use it, for those who want more. Mini re-issue is budget friendly.

You definitely want to include a big mixer and a set of monitors in your budget, so that students can play together.


@chu then @Tchu. Chu-tchu!

Serious answer. A Roland boutique each, covering drums and synths. Dead simple. Can be synched nicely. Classic sounds to jam with. All the fundamentals of subtractive synthesis covered. And most importantly, very fun!


Lol. I did notice it too.

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Consider making three complete systems and having the students pair up. Not only can you spend up to €1000 on each, permitting a lot more scope, but the students have to learn how to communicate and work together. This requires some advance prep (handouts with guidelines and suggestions, constant vigilance on your part) but can really pay off. Pairs should rotate, depending on how long one session is and how many sessions there are.

Next you have to consider both three identical systems and three different systems. Again, this will depend on how much time a student spends in your workshop.

I will leave it to others to suggest particular hardware. I think this largely depends on what principles you want to convey and how much time you have.

(Edit: by coincidence, I just updated my flânerie on modular synthesis to include a section on a 104hp teaching case. This probably exceeds your budget and you probably don’t want to specifically teach modular. But I did include reasons for my choices, which may be illuminating.)


My son just sneezed into my face as I read that….


Behringer synths would be an obvious option

Model samples

overthinking this, does the budget need to factor in a computer/audio interface or already to hand?


I might change my mind but my current thinking: grooveboxes and drum machines like the two models. They are pretty unbreakable and will get any student going fast.

But I also like the idea here of a well layed out subtractive keyboard like an ms20. It’s a shame the Behringer doesn’t come with keys. For direct immediacy a midi keyboard takes away of the experience a bit…

Another angle: Arturia Brute range, although they especially second hand they are cheap which might be a problem for receipts.

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I would buy several kinds of volca in double the number necessary, you can learn about analog synthesis, drum programming, fm synthesis, all on a budget that will allow for if one or 2 breaks.

would also allow for classes on each type of device and instead of saying here’s how a groovebox works, you could take the uneducated / uninitiated one step at a time - then they’re also easy to sync with each other later. Sort of also introduces the concept of modular.

I support the idea of analog synths, like the mentioned MS20 as well as Behringer stuff (Neutron, 2600, …)

Edit: Because it’s nice to push people.

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I think sequencer-based samplers/drum machine/synths are easier to understand what they are doing.

Headphones are a must, so that everyone can hear what they’re doing. Maybe small mixers to have little groups of people playing together.

Model:Samples is interesting. Cycles, a bit less imo.
A small drum machine like LXR-02 could be nice.

As for synths, I guess a SH-01a is one of the best to understand subtractive synthesis.
Don’t hesitate to buy second hand.

A DATO Duo let two people play together.

A Bassline could be cool. Maybe a Volca Bass would be enough, paired with a PO-12.


You should start them all on the right foot and get them each an Octatrack. Easy to learn and fun for the whole family.


If you can find a deepmind6, that cover lots of stuff in a robust form factor.

And yes some other behringer stuff like boog model d or neutron or ms20 for some patch creativity. And an arturia key step.

Model sample of course over cycle I would say, but cycle could be good also as drum machine.

if you introduce a kid to a menu diving interface (even a basic groovesynth!) they are not gonna have instant expressive fun. and you’ll potentially alienate them and negatively impact their outlook of electronic music.

i’d use some ipads with some accessible interfaces (sampling/synthesis) apps (but budget limits to 4/5 basic tablets, maybe more on android) into a 16 channel desk with some delay and other hands on FX, and then you can incorporate synth/drum stuff with mixing and FX approaches.
everyone can rotate and try all the elements.

perkons hd-01 is conceptually the best drum machine for a place like that, but its out of budget.

i do believe everything has to be “what you see is what you get”, knob per function, no presets, no PCs.

menus/presets would lead to people changing each others settings and overwriting saved sound and patters, ect. Live play is my preference when it comes to un-organized sessions.

drumbrute impact might be good for drums, if looking at the affordable spectrum.
wouldnt recommend LXR-02, or any other tiny device really.
i think its valuable to make people feel like they are the ones who are playing and controlling the instruments, and not just pushing buttons and things happen.

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What will you aim to teach them?
Do you need instruments that are pretty easy to rustle up some sounds and with keys for instant playing or do you want to dive down the rabbit hole of sequencers and subtractive synthesis?
Maybe some simpler synths that can be put to work as lead and a bass and something to program or tap out some drum sequences. Add a couple of effects to demo classics delay and reverb.

Anyway…start with your teaching aims and use those (with your budget) as a guide…and good on you for doing this.

+1 on building 3 setups for students to pair.

Some ideas:

  • 3 identical setups: (<1100€ each)

    • TR-6s for drums
    • SP-404 for sampling and FX
    • S-1 for synth
  • 3 different setups:

    • The one above
    • circuit tracks + jx-08
    • Model samples + model cycles + small mixer
    • 6x Audio-Technica ATH-M20X headphones with 3x splitters

I have already spent time teaching electronic music to kids.
I found it was a good thing to have the right tool to illustrate your points.
Talking about subtractive synthesis first, with oscillators (show basic waveform sounds) then filters (at least LP and HP), then amp, and modulations on top of each of these.
Maybe a good old A4 mk1 with Overbridge could let you show all this.

Then you replace an oscillator with sample.
Then, if you feel comfortable, you can add FM synthesis, gradually increasing an LFO speed…
Don’t forget sequencing, as everyone is already pretty familiar with beats.

After such an introduction (short, with both images and sounds), you can let them try each kind of machine.

I still remember the face of the kid creating his first beat after I had explained where to put kicks, snare and hats… He was shouting that he had become a big producer!