Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baby DJ School

Hey, how's your baby doin'? What kind of music is it listening to? Kidz Bop? The Wiggles? Fuckin' Raffi and shit? Well, that might be fine for some people's kids—if they want them to crawl through life without taste or musical development. If you really loved your baby, you'd be dropping $200 to send it to Baby DJ School.

The school was started up in September by Natalie Elizabeth Weiss, a composer and DJ from Brooklyn who has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem and the Dirty Projectors and was recently a fellow with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She's willing to teach tykes as young as three months old about "the wonderful worlds of electro, hip-hop, and house," according to her press release, which also promises that "little ones will be introduced to playing and handling records, mixing and matching beats, and creating fun and funky samples using modern DJ equipment."

While the idea of babies droppin' beats underscores just how easy DJs' "jobs" are, it's also a great way to introduce kids to creating music—after all, your baby probably can't play the piano, but it can produce some noise using a MIDI trigger.

If the trial class in mid-September, which was well received by babies and parents alike, is any indication, it looks like Natalie's project is going to be a roaring success. Soon, your non-DJ children will be ostracized by their terrifying, laptop-wielding peers, and eventually all music will be made for and by toddlers. I, for one, welcome this development and recently asked Natalie for some tips on how babies could hone their DJ skills. Here's what she said:

• "The most important thing about being a DJ is being a selector. If you don't match one beat, if you don't run it through one effect, if you don't drop one well-placed air horn, but you have cool tracks, that's all you need." She encouraged parents of baby DJs to "have them be active listeners when they're selectors," and offers instructional directions like, "Wow, do you hear that bubbly texture? I feel bubbles in my arms. Do you hear the bubbles? Where are the bubbles in the song?"

• "Having equipment that they can use easily" is also key. That means a laptop, a soundcard, and a MIDI trigger.

• "Keep the drinks far away. When adults are having drinks you want to keep the laptop far away, and the same is true with babies. Those sippy cups always spill."

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