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

    US Watching as North Korea Holds Biggest Political Meeting in 36 Years

    Workers' Party Congress set for Friday; Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora