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DJ / Dance Sun Feb 24 2013

Scratch DJ Academy Sets its Needle Down in Chicago

Scratch DJ Academy instructor Fabian Antonio sets up the DJ booth for the prospective students to play on. (Photos by Brianna Kelly)

Conceived of in New York City in 2002 as the brainchild of the late great Jam Master Jay, Scratch DJ Academy has opened locations over the past decade in Los Angeles, Miami, and most recently in Chicago, at the SAE Institute of Technology, 820 N. Orleans St.

Scratch DJ Academy's aim is to educate people in DJing and music production. With its copyrighted curriculum, each year Scratch trains more than 50,000 aspiring DJs who begin with varying pre-existing knowledge of the art form. They offer a DJ certification program and a music production certification program, through six six-week-long courses for beginning, intermediate and advanced skill-levels. Scratch aims to mold its students into performance ready DJs, no matter at which level they begin their training. "Now-a-days [...] technically anybody can call themselves a DJ, right? What we aim to do with the certification program is to actually put some structure to it and create a baseline," said DJ Hapa, National Brand Director of Scratch DJ Academy.

State of the art DJ equipment is readily available to students for completing assignments and practicing their craft. It not only teaches the skill sets of the art form, it also prepares the DJ for the industry and potential challenge he or she may face. Students learn the tools of the trade from local, "premier DJs" who are already well established in their own local music scene.

At the beginning of the panel discussion, DJ Hapa welcomes the attendants of the open house to Scratch DJ Academy's newest location, at the SAE Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Scratch DJ Academy puts an emphasis on its internal community. It encourages strong bonds to be formed between both students and instructors, in order to use each other as resources. Just like one big, musical family. "We promote this community. And it's really about the community because no body learn this on their own," said DJ Hapa.

On February 16, the newest Scratch site held its first open house to allow Chicagoans who are interested in learning how to produce music to come in and see first-hand what the program is all about. The open house officially kicked off with a panel, led by DJ Hapa, to introduce the teaching staff of the new Chicago location. DJ Toadstyle, DJ Big-Once, DJ Zebo, and recent Miami-transplant Fabian Antonio talked shop, from their shining accomplishments to their most humorous horror stories. Special guest, Chicago House DJ Bad Boy Bill also tossed in his two cents. His words of wisdom to the audience were, "take whatever you can from different places and put your on spin on it." Everyone then filed into the "studio" to play around on the turntables and ask one-on-one questions.

At the open house, attendants were encouraged to play around on the Scratch instructors' DJ equipment and ask them questions.

It was an extremely eclectic group of people ranging in ages and backgrounds. The visitors at the open house also ranged in their DJ experience. Some were already very savvy and some had never scratched a record before. Nonetheless, it seemed to be a very exciting endeavor for all involved.

Group lessons at Scratch DJ Academy at the SAE Institute of Technology in Chicago begin on April 2 and private lessons are available starting March 1.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
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Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
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Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
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Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
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Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
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UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


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Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
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