Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Notorious R.A.V.'s DJ Journal - #2

Scratch DJ Academy in New York (and convenient locations in Los Angeles and Miami), offers one-hour freebie introductions to DJ'ing. I know a good deal when I hear one, so I signed up. And decided that Debbie might want to broaden her horizons and do the free class with me [I have highly recommended this to my sons as a great first date]. Off we went.

After a day of touring Greenwich Village, we strolled over to the Academy to enrich our lives. Up the stairs, and we came face-to-face with a room filled with turntables and photos of Run-D.M.C. (whose DJ, Jam Master Jay, had founded the Academy). The room filled rapidly with DJ-wannabees of all ages, except for ours. Yes, we were, in fact, the oldest people in the room by at least 15 years. But hey, it's never too late to learn.




So there we are with our teacher for the evening, known as Dirty Digits (see, for example: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=59806860 ). First part of the lesson: This is a turntable, this is a phonograph record. OK, Debbie are I are now fairly hysterical. We are clearly the dinosaurs. We remember records, Woodstock, the Beatles, etc.
On the the turntables. Let's turn these babies on. OK, we've never seen mixers up close and personal. Um, that one controls the left turntable volume? Cool.

Dirty Digit's question: Who in here is right-handed? All hands go up except for me. Who is left-handed? Ummm, that would be me. OK, well, you will all have to learn to work with both hands. Dude, if I could do swing from either side, I would have been a major league pinch hitter. Oh, except that I actually couldn't even hit lefty.

OK, now we learn a simple scratch, the baby scratch. Not only do I master it immediately, but I soon (and unprovoked) begin doing the faster scribble scratch. Oh, I'm on my game!
Back we go to listen to the teacher some more. Now, he's showing us how to work the turntable to the right. Turning this one on is no problem. But keeping a beat with my right hand proves challenging. Despite all the efforts of my mother to "train" me to right-handed, it didn't take then, and there are no significant gains a half-century later. This may prove to be my undoing.

We learn a few more scratches, and are released into the great big world, as the next freebie class participants step up. On the way out one young woman stops to tell us that she was so impressed that we were doing this, that she had taken our picture and emailed it to her parents.

As we leave, I check in with the receptionist and with another DJ. They assure me that I am not the oldest person ever to take the course; they have had at least one student in his 60's. Nice.

I decide that I will keep a journal of this experience on my blog. Sort of George Plimpton [if you remember phonograph records, you remember him, too] participant/journalist.

See you in a few weeks at the "real" course. Updates to follow...