News / USA

Beat Refinery Teaches DJ Hopefuls Hip Moves

DJ Hopefuls Learn the Moves at DC DJ Schooli
|| 0:00:00
X
June Soh
December 21, 2012 3:37 AM
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. VOA's June Soh takes us to the Beat Refinery, the first such school in the Washington area. Faith Lapidus narrates the story.

DJ Hopefuls Learn the Moves at DC DJ School

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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid