News / USA

    Beat Refinery Teaches DJ Hopefuls Hip Moves

    June Soh
    From hip hop parties in the suburbs to dance clubs in the cities, DJs are spinning and mixing music for audiences young and old.  In recent years, some DJs have become international superstars - better known than the groups whose music they play! Those who aspire to a career in this growing field can now learn and hone their skills at DJ schools. One of them is called the Beat Refinery, the first such school in the Washington area.

    "What I am doing is called beat juggling.  Essentially you are taking one record and putting it on both turntables, so while this one plays I am getting this one ready to start back of the beginning of the loop," said Sean Johnson, who is in an advanced mixing class, his final course at the Beat Refinery. He's been taking evening classes at the DJ school outside Washington for about two years. By day, he works as an audio engineer.

    "I don't do that full-time anymore.  I am slowly working on my way to be a full-time DJ.  It is really just kind of making a dream come to life," Johnson said.

    Twelve-year-old Ethan Feinberg has been taking classes here for a year and a half.

    "I want to be a DJ when I am older, and I really like music. And it is fun," Feinberg said.

    "We have 10 year olds all the way up to 50 year olds.  Women, men all nationalities, sometimes we have had students that can't speak English but there is the music that brings them together," said long time DJ Chris Stiles, who co-founded the Beat Refinery in 2010.  It is the only DJ school in the Washington area.  

    "We felt that there was a need to have the school because today's world you see a lot of different places where people use DJs whether it is at weddings or at bars, clubs, or clothing stores, the profession of DJ has become a very sought after job," Stiles said.

    The school offers classes for those wanting to become professionals as well as those who just want to mix party music for friends. The two year program leads to certification and helps with job placement.

    "We have had about six hundred students in the last two and a half years," Stiles said.

    Kim Venetz is one of the graduates. She was an office worker before she began spinning turntables full-time under the stage name, DJ Alkimist.

    "When I discovered deejaying at the very first class that I took from the Beat Refinery, I was immediately hooked and I knew there was like no stopping me. I love just all about music," Venetz said.

    As electronic dance music continuously spun by DJs has become the primary sound in clubs and parties, Stiles says some DJs have become superstars, opening the industry for others.

    "There are a lot of DJs that make, especially at the world stage, at the big, big stage DJs can make a few million dollars a year on that top side.  And then a DJ that works very hard locally can make six figures for sure,” Stiles said.

    Sean Johnson is confident his future is bright. "There is no question about that at all.  There are a lot of more opportunities now.  Now the DJ is the featured performer.  And because of that now is the perfect time to be a DJ," Johnson said.

    Kim Venetz agrees: "I am feeling more comfortable than when I was working in my office job for sure."

    Most of all, Venetz says, she is happy that she makes a living doing what she loves: playing music and helping people have a good time.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: wegertwg from: here
    December 26, 2012 10:56 PM
    2 years to learn how to scratch? My advice: get a job with a DJ company and intern or roadie for them. After 2 years you will be an expert in reading a dance floor, knowing what to play next and coordinating and emceeing an event.

    In Response

    by: DJBlakMajik from: Baltimore, MD
    January 14, 2013 12:00 PM
    The unique part about DJ schools like Beat Refinery is that anyone regardless of their existing skill set can come in and learn something from instructors with long and successful careers, and broad experiences ranging from nightlife, to mobile work, to corporate sponsored events. It's like a guitarist taking master classes to progress with their instrument for some, and a step by step path to a new passion turned into a career for others.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora