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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More