DJ School: Where to Find DJ Classes That Fit Any Budget
In the previous part of this article series, we looked at some “DJ schools” that aren’t really schools at all. The first half of this piece examined how anyone can learn to produce electronic dance music or become a DJ without spending any money…or only by spending a little bit, as very few things come entirely for free.
There are so many different ways someone can practice and learn and become better at music production, it felt like this deserved to be split into two pieces. In the second half, I’ll focus more on offerings that can be better described as actual classes. Some of the items listed below cost a lot of money, while others can still be signed up for without checking your bank account. Either way, these DJ schools are sure to help you on your way to becoming the artist you feel you have inside you.
It’s still rare to see traditional colleges and universities offering specific courses on how to DJ, but there is still plenty to be learned by going the old school (pun intended) route!
Most schools offering degrees in music production have adapted and now require students to learn the ins and outs of some of the most popular computer programs. Ableton, Logic, ProTools, and a handful of others are taught regularly at many of the biggest and most popular musical colleges in the world, and though the focus of those classes might not be on EDM or on DJing, the lessons conveyed can easily be transferred from one genre to another. Once a student has mastered a program like Logic or ProTools, switching directions and channeling artistic energy into DJing and producing all things electronic isn’t nearly as time-intensive as starting from scratch since so many electronic artists stick religiously to those digital creating studios.
Times are changing, however. Some well-known names in the musical education field have realized this, and they are just starting to act accordingly to fit in with what the music industry looks like now. The EDM scene isn’t going anywhere, and while so many DJs are self-taught, there are sure to be plenty of up-and-coming artists who want proper degrees, or ones who at least want to take classes in what they’re passionate about.
Berklee, arguably the most well-known of all the popular music schools in the world, has at least one class that focuses on nothing other than learning how to produce electronic music, and it is surely not going to be the last offering. As the genre grows and continues to spread around the world, and as it melds with other styles and becomes even more pervasive than it already is, other universities and colleges will hopefully begin to incorporate electronic music classes into their schedules as well.
The Recording Connection works with studios across the country, so finding a location near you should hopefully be relatively easy — one of the company’s big selling points.
Since so many legacy brands in the advanced education world didn’t hop onto the EDM bandwagon fast enough, entrepreneurs stepped in and began opening establishments that offer to help those looking to become world-renowned DJs and the producers behind mega electro-pop smashes reach their goals.
There are now dozens of companies operating “schools” of various sizes and which take many different forms, all of which proclaim they can help teach anyone to master production software and be of assistance in regards to making someone the artist they dream of being.
I don’t mean to immediately rag on these schools, but I will caution the reader as I move forward with this section. Some of these establishments are surely wonderful, and they’re likely filled with teachers and artists who genuinely want to see the next generation become the best Producers and DJs possible. If more traditional universities and colleges had electronic departments or even just a few courses that only focused on this one field, some of these teachers would be employed at better-known organizations.
While many are on the level, beware before you hand over any serious sum of money, as some of these “schools” can be shifty, and the education you’ll receive might not be worth the cash you’re investing. Do your research and see if you can find reviews or past students to talk to!
Alright, now that the warning is out of the way, here are a few well-received DJ schools and electronic production teaching locations worth checking out.
Self-described as America’s only Apple and Ableton-endorsed music production school, Garnish has some powerful names supporting it, so shouldn’t you be one of them? The company focuses on all things electronic, but that’s not the only thing to be learned at these schools, which actually have brick and mortar locations — something that also helps lend the brand some credibility. Anybody can launch an online school with just some website help, but the fact Garnish has been able to open DJ schools in New York City, Los Angeles, Tennessee, and London shows enough people are going (and going back, which is also important) to keep the lights on.
On the New York City-based company’s website, The Foxgrove specifically calls itself “a boutique electronic music and DJ school” and it is clearly spelled out that both electronic music production and DJ classes are offered. The second piece is interesting, as many online schools have classes that teach electronic production, but the word “DJ” is notably missing. The Foxgrove is located in downtown NYC, but online courses are also an option for those who can’t make it to the Big Apple.
The Recording Connection works with studios across the country, so finding a location near you should hopefully be relatively easy — one of the company’s big selling points. Is the education helpful when it comes to becoming an Electronic Producer or a DJ? Of course! But the fact it’s likely got a location nearby definitely helps it stand out.
In addition to typical courses of study like music producing, audio engineering, and music business, Recording Connection also has several other programs of interest. There are two programs specifically called Electronic Music Production, with one focusing on Ableton, while the other teaches Logic Pro. Incredibly, as if that wasn’t enough to prove the people at Recording Connection know how big of an interest there is in electronic music, there is also a certificate that can be earned solely in Live DJing. Now this is definitely a DJ school!
MasterClass hired two beloved powerhouse creatives, Deadmau5 and Armin Van Buuren, to teach their own masterclasses in electronic music production, and it’s tough to believe those videos wouldn’t be worth whatever they want to charge.
Still unknown by too many people who could benefit from their offerings, MOOCs (which stands for massive online open course) come in all shapes and sizes, and anyone with a computer and internet access can learn just about anything they want from these. Well-known colleges and universities sign up to offer courses in every field and on every topic to the masses, usually for free, and while it’s not quite the same as sitting in a classroom or working one-on-one with a Professor, MOOCs can be a fantastic way to decide if a certain subject interests you enough to pursue it further or simply to supplement your education.
A quick search on some of the most popular platforms for MOOCs (such as Coursera, Udemy, and Lynda) turned up a handful of classes either explicitly focused only on electronic music production, or which seem to offer lessons applying to those wanting to be DJs. Just as is the case with more standard colleges and universities, there are many offerings without the words “electronic” or “DJ” in their titles, but the principles and lessons taught in the class can also be applied to electronic music creation!
Other Online Courses
An online search for DJ school or electronic music production classes turns up many options, some of which look like they’d be excellent opportunities for anyone looking to get started in the industry or for anyone who wants to take their hobby to the next level. Again, it’s worth cautioning the reader some offerings that show up don’t seem like they’d be worth the money they cost, which is the occasional danger that comes with turning to the internet for something.
Online courses can sometimes be free or relatively cheap, or they can cost a huge chunk of change…though sometimes, they’re worth it, as is the case with traditional colleges and universities. Whether you want to agree to the financial investment is up to everyone individually, but some are just too good to pass up.
MasterClass, which recruits top figures in fields like acting and music to teach thousands via online tutorials and classes, is perhaps the most high-profile option when it comes to a DJ school located only on the internet. MasterClass hired two beloved powerhouse creatives, Deadmau5 and Armin Van Buuren, to teach their own masterclasses in electronic music production, and it’s tough to believe those videos wouldn’t be worth whatever they want to charge. At the moment, they are just under $100 per lesson, and though that can add up quickly in order to complete the entire session, they are some of the most accomplished artists in the field, and they have an incredible amount of knowledge to share with the world.
Other well-known names in the electronic music world, such as Dubspot and Noiselab, also offer courses on the internet anyone can take, and thankfully they won’t run you nearly as much as the MasterClass items. There are, of course, many, many other listings that will pop up with any Google search, and it’s worth spending some time investigating them, as there might be a certain offering which fits exactly who you are and what you’re looking for.
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