“Learn to DJ” is an interactive, hands-on experience that introduces young people to DJ skills such as scratching, mixing and lighting. After mastering the functions of the controller and software, students are able to create their own mix, burn it to a disc and share it with family, friends and fellow DJs. Additionally, the program helps students age 13-17 develop skills in computer use, music composition, public speaking and event/equipment management. The program has been offered since 2013 by the Las Vegas Clark County Library District.
Recently, “Learn To DJ” was brought to a higher level with gear upgrades sourced through Guitar Center Professional, the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users.
GC Pro Account Manager John Stevens worked closely with Enterprise Branch Manager Salvador Avila, who runs the class, to assemble a full complement of all new gear, lighting and headphones to serve this free, twice-weekly class.
Avila, who is known as “Coach,” tells DJ News Net, “Libraries all over the country are having a hard time attracting teens, and they are approaching the problem in unique ways. Here, in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, it made sense to start a DJ program for young people. We started with one controller, one set of speakers, a set of lights and a laptop, and our program members quickly outgrew this setup. I recommended to the Public Services Administration that makes library decisions that we convert one of the conference rooms into a full-time DJ studio with five stations, and they agreed to it! It was a risk, but it paid off.”
Avila and Stevens decided on an extensive equipment list, and the program ended up purchasing Numark NS72, Pioneer DDJ-SX and Numark NS6 controllers, with Pioneer DDJ-SX2 controllers soon to join the arsenal; Chauvet Obey™ 70 lighting controller; Alto and Mackie speakers; a selection of microphones and more.
Avila notes, “I have a curriculum in place, but it’s based on the students’ own comfort level, their own competency. If you’re new, first you have to learn how to do cues and loops, and master those two things. Once I feel that you have mastered those two functions, we move on to looping and scratching techniques. Once you’ve mastered that, we introduce effects. It’s a journey. I have kids that have been attending since day one. They can attend as long as they like.”
There’s also a there’s a separate class for adults that meets twice a month. The classes are held at the Enterprise Library branch at 25 E. Shelbourne Avenue, Las Vegas.