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DJ wannabes can play it cool by heading back to school

Looking to blaze into a new career or just lay the tracks for the next great party? Here's some unlikely advice: Go back to school.

In a new spin on academics, would-be deejays can attend a new DJ S'cool, a 12-hour noncredit course being offered this fall term at Miami-Dade Community College.

We are talking a deejay primer-learning how to make and mix music.

"People are interested in deejaying, so this is a way to introduce the craft," says Nick Lewis, 31, a deejay and the course instructor.

The classes, limited to 15 students each, will use state-of-the-art equipment in a recording studio at the Kendall Campus. By the end of the course-four three-hour-long sessions of Deejaying 101-The Basics-students will be able to set up and operate audio equipment, have learned the elements of mixing records by cutting and scratching, and know how to select songs to mix into one another. They also will have mastered the language of deejays, terms such as turntables, mixers, knobs and faders.

"I want to teach the students the most important aspects of deejaying, which is knowing how to move the crowd," says Lewis, a 14-year veteran who spins under the moniker Nick Fury and has produced and mixed records throughout South Florida and the Caribbean. "One of the best things about deejaying is creating your own sound and exposing people to new music."

Beyond the turntables, students will learn some of the business aspects of being a deejay, including contract development, client relations, marketing and promotion.

"There has been a great demand in the music department for courses in disc jockey[ing] and sound engineering that are not part of the associate's degree track," said Nelson Royo, program coordinator of Community Education at the Kendall Campus. "We have put together a lesson plan that will give interested students the basics they need to work in the field."

This class, an experiment of sorts, will help determine whether more classes will be offered.

"By next spring, we hope to add two more courses that are specifically geared to DJ work in clubs and special events," Royo said. "But right now, we want to get the first course going."

Over the years, the deejay has evolved from the stock guy who spins bad music at wedding receptions to a celebrity figure (like Beverly Bond, Fatboy Slim and Biz Markie) whose work is considered an art form in pop culture.

Today, the deejay shines as bright on the marquee of a South Beach club as any celebrity act.

And so it makes sense that deejaying would move into the classroom. Miami-Dade joins a growing list of high schools and universities across the country that are offering courses.


This fall, the course will be offered twice. The first course runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 10, 6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Fridays. The curriculum will be repeated Nov. 2-23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. At the end of the course, students will receive a Certificate of Completion and a CD sampler of their work. The cost of the class is $350. For more information on DJ S'cool, call 305-237-2142.



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