Extra curricular beats
SAIT’s extra-curricular programs allows students the chance to become published writers, to ski on snow-capped mountains and, thanks to a new addition, “drop the bass” in front of hundreds of people while a wall of lasers flash behind.
The Beat Drop school of DJing is currently hosting its winter semester of DJ courses at SAIT’s resident bar the Gateway.
The best part? SAIT students receive a 25 per cent discount.
Because of the commercial success of artists like Rusko and Avicii, and the advancements in technology, many youths have been drawn to the art of DJing.
“Even in the top 40s on the radio, most of those top songs are from DJs from the UK or from North America,” says Beat Drop founder Mitch Lee, 36.
“The new rock band is wanting to be a DJ. [People are] seeing that they can get music to the people and they can perform it. So there’s so many kids wanting to learn how to do that.
As for the technological aspect, “controllers,” or all-in-one units have allowed DJing to become more accessible.
“It’s been a revolution in the music industry,” says Lee. “Really good quality gear is being accessible to the mainstream consumer.”
Lee has a background in composing music for television, film and video games.
He decided to start the Beat Drop school a year ago after noticing that people were approaching him about his craft.
“I get asked all the time on how someone gets into creating beats, or making music or performing it. There’s not a lot of places that are teaching this type of education,” he says.
With DJing, there exist a multitude of ways to perform, ranging from an iPad or iPod touch, to set-ups that can cost close to ten thousand dollars.
While this may confuse prospective DJ’s, Beat Drop makes it simple by teaching on the two industry standard computer DJ programs, Serato and Traktor.
“If we’re going to encourage people to DJ, they need to learn on what people are using in the clubs and what the industry uses.”
“When you go into a club, it’s most likely going to be Serato, but some other cities, especially in Europe and the UK, they’re on Traktor. It’s kind of like a Mac/PC thing,” says Lee.
While the art of DJing may generally be getting more computerized, Beat Drop also teaches students how to spin the old fashioned way, by ear.
“You could show up at a gig with two turntables and a mixer, or two CDJs and a mixer, and you’ve got to rock the party and if you’re reliant on software to do your beat matching you’re hooped,” said Lee.
The school’s next semester begins March 6. For those who already know a bit about DJing, Beat Drop offers an “Open Decks” every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at the Gateway, where aspiring DJs can play for 20 minutes.
More information is available at beatdrop.ca