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School for electronic dance music
Parents and schools are slowly unbending to the idea of DJing as a profession.
Some dismiss DJing as playing one record after another. Even Deadmau5, one of the most well-known EDM producers recently dismissed the button-pushing approach that big DJs like David Guetta and Skrillex have. But while it looks easy, giving the audience a good time using just a mixer and the music that you have chosen takes quite a bit of skill.
It's a skill that many youngsters want to learn. Catering to this trend is the DJing school, I Love Music academy based in Gurgaon and Bangalore. A three-year-old venture, ILM offers courses in music production, DJing, audio engineering along with a course on radio jockeying.
Founded by Nakul Vagale, brother to one of India's top DJs Arjun Vagale, ILM targets a group that's not paid much attention, school kids. "Kids nowadays are exposed to electronic music wherever they go, whether it's clubs, coffee shops or Fashion TV. Since they're exposed to it, it's important to make them understand it too, " says Nakul.
In May, ILM approached Springdales School in New Delhi to hold a workshop on DJing as a career for students. About 600 kids in the age group of 13-16 turned up and now ILM plans to design a weekend class/ mini-workshop for some of these students when school reopens.
Among the things they will learn is how to calculate BPMs and use different sofwares like Ableton or Logic to create music and basically learn the A-Z of mixing and mastering.
"The idea behind approaching schools was to create awareness that electronic music and the audio industry is a viable career option, " explains Nakul, who's been a part of the hospitality industry and is now an entertainment and education entrepreneur.
Other schools in the capital like The Shri Ram School, Tagore International School and Modern School have also evinced interest in holding similar workshops for children.
With electronic music in almost everything we hear - advertisements, elevator music and even sports shows - the sonic soundscape for computerised sounds is bigger than it ever has been. There's a huge demand for audio engineers at radio stations as well as advertising since any music that needs to be recorded is in a studio whether for films or ads. Sound design is a great skill, irrespective of whether you play the guitar or make music on a laptop.
It's also quite lucrative. Top DJs can demand a few lakhs for just one performance. International DJs like Tiesto and Armin van Buuren earn millions of dollars every year from playing at clubs and festivals.
DJing as a profession is plagued by an image that involves drugs, alcohol and women, and this reach-out program is also aimed at dispelling such notions. Nakul recounted a story of a parent who asked him to stop teaching her 17-year-old son. "She didn't want him to get into this industry because she was worried he would waste away his life, " he says. "Another common reaction is: 'So you want to become a shaadi DJ?' I think parents need to see the number of avenues open to an audio engineer and producer, " he remarked.
The kids don't have to actually go to a club to learn the craft. But practice is the key to good DJing. Guetta, watch out for they may be coming for your top DJ title.
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