Global DJ Academy's School of Beats program teaches the fine art of deejaying
Denver has always been a hotbed for EDM, but that's even more true these days. With that in mind, Walt White, owner and founder of Global DJ Academy (formerly Colorado DJ Academy), saw an opportunity to engage the eager fans who want to move from spectators to participants and actually step behind the decks themselves and get some real-life experience. "I wanted something for students who are beyond the beginner level but still have to learn the art of performance," says White, who also works with Triad Dragons Productions.
The four-week course, which runs $349, is completely hands-on, with students training on their own and then taking what they've learned and applying it to an actual club environment, which gives them an idea of what it's like to play to a crowd and mix on the fly. So far, Global DJ Academy has enlisted two area clubs, LoDos on Market and the Church, to provide a place for its School of Beats students to gain the real-life experience they'll need if they want to break into the scene.
Josh Winstead Some of the students getting hands-on experience at the Church.
"It's a great way to get new DJs into the clubs," White points out, adding that it's a good way to "get them trained exactly the way the management wants them to play and reduce the costs for the club in the process."
Thanos Lemonidis, manager of the Church, was very open to the idea. "Walt reached out, and I was very excited, so we set them up downstairs at the Church," says Lemonidis about the training and experience students will receive at his venue.
But rather than just teaching students how to mix one song into another, White is also teaching students to utilize the live-production aspect via programs like Ableton, Traktor and Reason. "They'll learn how to drop bass lines, cut out vocals or add samples on the fly," he says, "rather than having a pre-made set and hitting play."
Since its soft opening last May at 10th and Bannock, Global DJ Academy has offered instruction to nearly fifty students, with some taking private lessons every week and others just taking a couple of classes. According to White, all told, there have been several hundred people who have attended the various workshops, which have featured some prominent EDM acts like ill Gates, Opiuo and Moldover.
Global DJ Academy is also offering a unique opportunity for private parties, one in which you can take a few lessons and then deejay your own party -- as opposed to relying on the creepy, balding, former wedding DJ to entertain your friends with outdated music.