Teaching Kids to DJ - Printable Version
+- Erol Alkan Forum (http://erolalkan.co.uk/forum)
+-- Forum: Index (/forumdisplay.php?fid=3)
+--- Forum: General Discussion (/forumdisplay.php?fid=9)
+--- Thread: Teaching Kids to DJ (/showthread.php?tid=61633)
Teaching Kids to DJ - Fisticuffs - 2012-04-14 15:36:27
So an opportunity has come up for me to teach DJing on certain afternoons at a fairly rough North London school. After considering it for a little bit, I decided that it sounded absolutely brilliant and I'm now really excited about it, and the sign-ups at the school were full within an hour of it being announced, which is great as the school has massive problems with truancy etc.
The idea is that the school want to invest in the kids learning a vocational skill that might spark passion in other areas, so DJing could lead to a broader interest in music, songwriting, sound engineering, sound design, production etc. The Headmistress has told me that a lot of the kids are really into MCing so I'd like to introduce an element of that for them if I can.
I've been working on rough 'lesson plans', so I think I've worked out fun ways of demonstrating basic musical theory, the 4/4 'rule', how songs can work together etc... But I'd be interested on your guy's thoughts on how I can show a room full of 20 kids at a time how to get two tracks in sync, EQ's, etc. I'm sure they'll find the filters fun.
I'm only going to have one set of decks. I'll be getting a list of tracks the kids like in advance to use in the lessons. My main worry is keeping the whole room engaged when demonstrating the fiddlier bits, and perhaps developing exercises the kids can do to practise what I show them.
I was thinking about maybe bringing my Laptop and demonstrating basic beatmaking, and using the beats they make on the decks later on etc.
Keen to hear your suggestions!
The kids are 12 to 13 and the classes will have 15-20 of them in the room at a time.
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - randomg17 - 2012-04-14 19:04:36
Sounds like a great opportunity! In terms of showing 20 kids how to sync tracks and so on, I think you have to think of some kind of exercise that would involve more than one person, as I'm sure that 19 kids watching 1 kid trying to beatmatch will get very dull for them very quickly. I'm not sure what though...
Maybe you could do something more playful, like have 2 kids sing a song of their choice, and then have a 3rd one as the "DJ", controlling the speeds at which they sing (by hand signs or something) so the 2 kids are eventually in sync (the singers would have to put their hands over their ears or something so they don't get mixed up themselves). Sounds a bit daft but it would show the essence of beatmatching and would involve more than one person. You could even get groups of them to sing song, thus making it harder for the "DJ". Of course that would probably only work a few times, eventually they'd get bored of that too. And I'm not sure how well 12-year olds at a rough school in North London would respond to an exercise like this...
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - Evangelink - 2012-04-14 19:28:14
Maybe you could do one epic rolling mix, each kid taking it in turn. While they're waiting for their go, you could be showing them theory etc, telling them how to program a set and that.
Guarantee you'll be having to take a hard drive full of grime and dubstep for the kids.
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - rickman - 2012-04-14 20:00:29
Maybe for the kids who are more into MC'ing and also Production you could show them how to construct basic loops to get started, and maybe by the end of a 'lesson' try and get some sort of simple tune with lyrics made. Or maybe make your own loops so they can mix and match various instruments.
For the more DJing interested kids try using some sort of interactive activity to show the basics of beatmatching, as watching 1 person could get boring. Most of them will be there to want a go on some decks so it's probably really important that everyone gets a little slot.
You could either make it a sort of laissez-faire club with music in the background and setting a vibe for kids to hang out, or get more involved in structure. Either way you have to avoid it turning into what looks like a school lesson cos kids don't dig that yo.
Let us know how it goes! Sounds interesting yet challenging.
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - Roland Daggett - 2012-04-15 12:59:04
I know someone that did something similar and apparently, it's a fucking nightmare
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - Guy (Boratto?) - 2012-04-15 21:42:08
To be brutally honest this whole situation sounds like a huge challenge... teaching a difficult technical skill to 20 kids with only one tool to demonstrate the skill on.
I expect the students' perception of what DJing is will be pretty different to what ours is. I would assume they will be expecting you to be teaching them how to scratch. On the plus side, if you can turn your lessons into something along these lines, this is something that can give the kind of instant result that difficult kids thrive on. Moving beyond this to any kind of skill will be the difficult part.
Second, you won't be able to control the classroom - in tough inner city schools you need to gain kids' trust over weeks or months, and until you do this they will be difficult. If I was in your situation I would tell the school that the format is impossible, that it would need to be set up in sessions of 2 or 3 students at a time - and you'd need an established teacher there to keep them in line. More to the point I think you'd need to be dealing with 16 year olds to grasp the technical skills you'll be teaching them (and be willing to put the work in to move forwards), but I guess it's too late for that?
Thankfully it's something they're actually interested in for a change so that will make things easier for you. Draw up minutely detailed lesson plans that have scope for the class struggling over the smallest detail or getting through it like a house on fire, make sure you have activities that will keep the best students busy whilst you concentrate on everyone else, and go through the lesson plan with a teacher at the school beforehand, with plenty of time to start from scratch. (you definitely won't get anyone to sing anything either i'm afraid!)
incidentally if you're stuck with the format as it is, what I would do is book a job lot of laptops (if the school has them) and install ejay on all of them with a few samples/loops on them and after a bit of an introduction split the lesson into two parts, production and DJing, get 2 kids up for 5 minutes at a time in the lesson letting them touch the decks and beginning to offer the absolute basics, the ones that are really interested would stand out, start practising during their break times and become teachable, the others will be satisfied by being able to put something together that sounds reasonable and do a bit of the sort of terrible scratching that we've become so used to over the years.
RE: Teaching Kids to DJ - acthook - 2012-04-23 17:44:06
All we we used to do in music class is hit the "DJ" button on our keyboard along with that cheesy siren sample that the Klaxons raped in all of their tracks. One day the the entire class were going mental on the keyboards so our teacher shouted at as for about 30 minuets- at the end of his breakdown / screaming session my friend hit the “OK!” button on the keyboard.
Comedy gold :)