WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, February 24, 2015 — The Las Vegas Clark County Library District’s “Learn to DJ” program (a part of their broader TechArt Studio initiative and part of the federally-funded STEM program scholarships) has been going strong since 2013. The program was recently brought to a higher level with gear upgrades sourced through Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. GC Pro Account Manager John Stevens worked closely with Enterprise Branch Manager Salvador Avila, who runs the class, to assemble a full complement of all new DJ gear, lighting and headphones to serve this free, twice-weekly class, for students age 13-17.
This interactive, hands-on experience introduces and exposes young people to DJ skills, including scratching, mixing and lighting. After mastering the many functions of the controller and software, students are able to create their own mix, burn it to a disc and share it with family, friends and fellow DJs. More generally, the program helps kids develop skills in computer use, music composition, public speaking and event/equipment management. There is also a separate class for adults, meeting twice monthly. The classes are held at the Enterprise Library branch at 25 E. Shelbourne Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89123.
Avila runs the class, where he is known as “Coach.” He states, “Libraries all over the country are having a hard time attracting teens, and they are approaching the problem in unique ways. Here, in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, it made sense to start a DJ program for young people. We started with one controller, one set of speakers, a set of lights and a laptop, and our program members quickly outgrew this setup. I recommended to the Public Services Administration that makes library decisions that we convert one of the conference rooms into a full-time DJ studio with five stations, and they agreed to it! It was a risk, but it paid off.”
Avila and Stevens decided on an extensive equipment list, and the program ended up purchasing Numark NS72, Pioneer DDJ-SX and Numark NS6 controllers, with Pioneer DDJ-SX2 controllers soon to join the arsenal; Chauvet Obey™ 70 lighting controller; Alto and Mackie speakers; a selection of microphones and more.
Avila notes, “I have a curriculum in place, but it’s based on the students’ own comfort level, their own competency. If you’re new, first you have to learn how to do cues and loops, and master those two things. Once I feel that you have mastered those two functions, we move on to looping and scratching techniques. Once you’ve mastered that, we introduce effects. It’s a journey. I have kids that have been attending since day one. They can attend as long as they like.”
He adds, “I got involved with Guitar Center and GC Pro because I like loud music, and they have the professional-grade loudspeakers that I like. When I went there to build my own home DJ setup, John Stevens was so knowledgeable that I developed a relationship there. Once the program was getting off the ground, I went back to John and he walked me through the process of what would be the right equipment and accessories, for the age group that I was dealing with. That’s how I became a GC Pro customer, mainly because of the great Account Managers and the right advice.”
For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.