Empowering Youth to Be Leaders in Music and Beyond

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
DJ Sparkle at the Girls Make Beats Studio.

Picture this: a shy girl, 10 years old, hangs back in the classroom and on the playground. A few years before, she was a rambunctious first grader who always had something to say. Then, all those unspoken lessons girls are taught about their worth in society started to trickle into her subconscious: too loud, too bossy, too outspoken, too wild. This girl loves music, but she’s grown reluctant to perform. Perhaps she’s even started to feel anxious and sad about who she is and what’s possible for her to achieve in life. 

Imagine this same girl joining others like her, girls aged  5–17, in a program designed just for them. She starts out her week at Girls Make Beats (GMB) initially quiet, hanging back. But it’s a safe space, and she’s encouraged to express herself. She’s praised for her ability to speak out and sing and dance and learn. By week’s end, she has not only learned about music production, engineering, and performance, but she’s back to her extroverted self, proud of her accomplishments, and confident in her strengths. 

Stories like this abound for the participants in GMB, an organization founded in 2012 by Tiffany Miranda, a recording artist, music producer, and audio engineer whose firsthand experience in recording spaces, where she was often literally the only woman in the room, drove her vision for GMB.

Changing the Music Landscape for Girls and Women

Most of us spend dozens of hours listening to music every week. (That’s hundreds of hours a year!) At the same time, less than 3% of music producers are women. What difference would it make if there were more women behind the scenes in the music industry? How would that change the experience of not just girls and women wanting to become singers, producers, and sound engineers but also every one of us who listens to music on a daily basis? 

“It’s a huge deal for women to have their authentic voices heard in culture,” Miranda emphasizes. Since music is such a significant catalyst for how we communicate and how we identify with ourselves and others, she says that “having the authenticity of [women’s voices] and what we want to put out into culture is really important.”

Building Confidence for a Lifetime of Opportunity

Serving primarily girls of color and girls from other underserved populations, GMB holds standalone workshop series, in both five-day and longer formats, and collaborates with schools and other community organizations to provide training in sound engineering, music production, and DJing. 

When they’re interviewed for admittance to the scholarship-based programs, girls often reflect on how boys are privileged in society and what it means to enter a space where you don’t see any people like you. To counter those lessons, GMB provides incredible opportunities beyond the classroom. GMB participants have DJ’d a celebration for Missy Elliott’s induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame; teamed up with the Barbie Dream Gap Project; and met with industry titans such as Salt-N-Pepa and Janelle Monáe, among many other amazing women in the profession, about making music. 

When asked what she’d do after graduating from the program, an eight-year-old, with the DJ name “Mak10,” (who is now 13) announced that she’d like to DJ parties, produce music, and then, when she grows up, “be the first Black female president.” GMB is about more than just the music. As Miranda reminds us, if the confidence these girls gain “applies to music, why wouldn’t it apply to being the president or anything else?”


Girls Make Beats Inc.

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(954) 871-0683
Executive Director: Tiffany Miranda


Girls Make Beats® empowers girls by expanding the female presence of music producers, DJs, and audio engineers. GMB was founded in 2012 by certified audio engineer, Tiffany “Delilah” Miranda. 

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