DJ Performance & Music Production

Musicians Institute’s Certificate in DJ Performance and Production is a 2-quarter, 30-unit program for aspiring DJs, producers, beat-makers, remix artists and electronic music composers and performers.

Students are provided with in-depth knowledge and training in the latest technologies, tools and techniques used in contemporary electronic performance and production. Subjects also include Beat-Matching, Vinyl Turntablism, various DAWs such as Ableton Live, Digital DJ solutions such as Traktor and Serato, Synth Programming, Sound Design and much more. Students will also be trained on tools that have defined DJ’ing, including (but not limited to) Vinyl DJ’ing, and CDJ setups as well.

MULTIPLE SETTINGS

This program allows students to study contemporary electronic music and Hip-Hop techniques and implement them within a solo setting AND a live band setting.

CROSS-POLLINATION

DJ Performance and Production students take full advantage of MI’s unparalleled faculty, facilities and programs encompassing Harmony, Theory and Ear Training, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology, Vocals, Audio Engineering, Music Business, Guitar Craft and Independent Artist Development.

MUSIC BUSINESS

Students learn about income streams, social media management, business contracts, publishing law, touring and other necessary aspects of being a professional DJ or producer.

FINAL CONCERT

The program culminates in a Final Concert, where each student demonstrates his or her abilities in a live performance event.

FACULTY

• Scratch Champion DJ Jedi

• Ableton Worldwide Certified Artist Josh Spoon

• Acclaimed House/Techno producer Art Bleek

• Prolific House/Disco DJ and producer Magic Touch

Students are also eligible to combine their Certificate in DJ Performance and Production with one of MI’s Performance programs (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard, Vocals) to earn a combined emphasis Associate of Arts Degree.

 

QUARTER 1

DJ-PL | DJ Private Lesson | Credits: 2.00

In a one-on-one setting, students are guided by faculty to hone certain technical and artistic aspects of their live set. Technical attention is paid to achieving convincing transitions and effective use of equipment (hardware, controllers and effects/FX). Artistic attention is paid to artistic choices such as: songs, creative and musical use of filters, EQ and effects, and on-the-fly artistic decision-making. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-058 | Ableton Live 1 for DJs | Credits1.00

Ableton Live is a live music solution favored by producers, DJs, beatmakers, and remix artists. In this course, students explore this platform and learn core functionality in order to be able to create mash-ups and remixes, as well as how to incorporate external controllers in order to trigger cues, samples, and effects (“FX”). Two lab hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-101 | DJ Set Building 1 | Credits: 1.00

In addition to the core skills required for the art of DJ’ing, it is imperative that DJs are able to apply those skills to create a cohesive experience with a narrative musical “arc” of the same duration (a “set”). This course is designed to aid students with this goal via the exploration of core set elements such as: determining a mood or theme, song selection, transitions, time management, and building intensity. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-102 | Beat Matching 1 | Credits: 1.50

A DJ’s most essential skill is the ability to seamlessly match and transition between different pre-recorded songs (“tracks”) on traditional DJ equipment (defined as equipment without the ability to “auto-sync”) in a live setting. The concepts and techniques presented in this course will allow students to execute this core function on any type of traditional DJ equipment (this is done with turntables/vinyl and CDJ–NOT Serato or Traktor). One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-103 | Serato | Credits: 1.00

An introduction to one of the industry-standard vinyl emulation computer applications: Serato DJ. The course focuses on the functionality of the Serato DJ platform, including: playback control; beat matching; absolute, relative and internal modes; the use of cue points, loops, effects (“FX”) and plug-ins; and using “crates”, playlists and recording. Two lab hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-104 | Traktor | Credits: 1.00

To ensure a well-rounded familiarity with industry-standard vinyl emulation software, this course explores one of the most popular platforms in the world: Traktor Pro. The course focuses on the functionality of the software, including: loading and mixing tracks; synching tracks by beat, bar and/or phrase; cue points and “hot” cues; loops, samples and remix decks; equalization (“EQ”), filters, harmonic mixing, effects (“FX”) and macros; and recording. Two lab hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-105 | History & Analysis of Recorded Popular Music 1 | Credits: 1.00

Beyond the technicality and physicality of the art of DJ’ing, DJs must also be knowledgeable about the music to be played with their repertoire. This course is designed to broaden and enrich the aspiring DJ’s musical repertoire by examining the different styles of music commonly performed today. This includes: Top 40, Hip-Hop, Disco, Rock, Reggae, Latin, Soul-Funk, and Electronic Dance Music (“EDM”). One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-106 | Musicianship 1 | Credits: 1.50

Designed for aspiring music professionals, this course is the study of popular music composition devices and their foundation in the basic music theory. This is accomplished through the analysis of popular harmonic structures, melodies, and various common rhythmic patterns. Basics of harmony and theory will be covered, including the role of melody, harmony and rhythm, major vs. minor chord qualities, Roman numeral harmonic analysis, song form, and the basics of chart creation. Students will also be introduced to basic rhythmic notation and will study ear training by using popular songs as examples. Upon completing this course, students will be able to effectively communicate with other musical professionals by using appropriate music terminology, which will prove invaluable during writing or recording sessions in the studio. This course is equivalent to the IAP Musicianship course (ARTST-106). This course is NOT equivalent to the Audio Engineering Department’s Musicianship course (AUDIO-106). One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-107 | Song Building 1 | Credits: 2.00
An examination of the production aspects involved in recorded music for modern DJ’ing. This course focuses on providing students with production skills that are designed to elevate the quality of their recorded music to the professional level; while also enabling them to develop a stylistic identity, in utilization of those skills, in differentiation of their peers. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-108 | The Business of DJ’ing | Credits: 1.00

This course is designed to afford students an understanding of the general business aspects of the sector. Topics include: creating a business entity, filing taxes, the key personnel in a DJ’s business team, performance riders, performance, recording, and personnel contracts, an overview of copyright law and the basics of publishing; as well as common situations in which a DJ may find him/herself in the execution of the craft. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

QUARTER 2

DJ-PL | DJ Private Lesson | Credits: 2.00

In a one-on-one setting, students are guided by faculty to hone certain technical and artistic aspects of their live set. Technical attention is paid to achieving convincing transitions and effective use of equipment (hardware, controllers and effects “FX”). Attention is paid to artistic choices, such as: songs, creative and musical use of filters, EQ and effects, and on-the-fly artistic decision-making. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-158 | Ableton Live 2 for DJs | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live 1 for DJs 1. Building on the material of Ableton Live for DJs, students focus on gaining a deeper understanding of Ableton’s instruments, effects, mapping, and audio warping. Students will also learn the techniques used to create custom live performance setups. Two lab hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-201 | DJ Set Building 2 | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-101 DJ Set Building 1. Building on the concepts and techniques of DJ Set Building 1, focus progresses to the creation of DJ sets that are tailor-made for specific events (such as: fashion shows, inaugurations, commercial events, and radio shorts), extended sets, and working with external parameters in a live setting (such as: theater and dance performers, master of ceremonies aka MCs, lighting technicians). One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-202 | Beat Matching 2 | Credits: 1.50

Prerequisite: DJ-102 Beat Matching 1. Furthering the concepts and techniques of Beat Matching 1, focus is on expanding beat matching abilities through the mastery of advanced skills such as: blending different styles, half-time blending, hard “cuts,” blending a cappellas, and harmonic mixing. One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-205 | History & Analysis of Recorded Popular Music 2 | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-105 History and Analysis of Recorded Popular Music 1. Furthering the material presented in the History and Analysis of Recorded Popular Music 1 course, focus switches to the exploration of musical sub-genres. Under the guidance of faculty, students select a sub-genre in keeping with their stylistic identity and conduct independent research to identify the core elements thereof. Research results are presented to the group and defended in oral presentations with critical listening examples. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-206 | Musicianship 2 | Credits: 1.50

Prerequisite: DJ-106 or ARTST-106 Musicianship 1. Building on Musicianship 1, this course provides a more in-depth practical application of Harmony and Theory, addressing concepts such as Time Signatures, Minor Scales, Triad Cadences, Inversions, and Voice Leading. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to effectively communicate with other music professionals by using appropriate music terminology, which will prove invaluable during writing or recording sessions in the studio. One lecture hour and one lab hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-207 | Song Building 2 | Credits: 2.00

Prerequisite: DJ-107 Song Building 1. Building on the teaching of Song Building 1, students focus on refining their stylistic identity and production skills (their unique sound) by developing a short body of work encompassing several compositions. Advanced production techniques such as tracking, arranging, and mixing will also be covered. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-209 | Remixing | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live for DJs 1. This course explores the essential techniques needed to transform a pre-existing track into a successful remix. Students will understand how to use flextime editing to change the tempo and pitch of audio stems and layer their own beats, synths, and samples. The course will also examine the difference between an “official” remix versus a “bootleg” and how to collect remix fees and royalties. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

MUBUS-0307 | Independent Artist Marketing | Credits: 2.00

Learn do-it-yourself grassroots marketing strategies designed for limited budgets. Each student guides an independent artist’s album through the entire marketing process, including: defining an image, brand, position, and format; identifying the target audience; creating practical plans for booking live shows; gaining access to radio, Internet, press and video promotion; advertising and sponsorships; sales and distribution; film and TV licensing; and development and distribution of press kits. As the final project, students track, compile, and report on marketing results. This is the real thing! Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

 

ELECTIVES

DJ-010E | iOS DJ | Credits: 1.00

Using the latest technology available to mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, students will understand how to control their favorite DJ software in a reliable and effective way. Advanced features and compatibility, as well as these platforms’ limitations, will be addressed. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-012E | Live Sync | Credits: 1.00

Focusing on performance, this course will teach the aspiring DJ to play alongside live bands. Listening to fellow players, quick reaction, and complete mastery of the DJ equipment are essential to adequately complement the special kind of musical energy generated by a group of live musicians. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-013E | Controllerism for Serato DJ | Credits: 1.00

This course explores the new possibilities offered by DJ controllers in conjunction with Serato DJ Intro (entry-level and travel controllers) and Serato DJ (pro-controllers). Topics such as using pads, recording sets, triggering multi-effects, using loops, samples, and cue points with controllers will be covered. Students will become comfortable using the leading Serato controllers currently on the market. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-014E | Controllerism for Traktor Pro | Credits: 1.00

This course explores the new possibilities offered by DJ controllers in conjunction with Traktor Pro. Topics such as using pads, recording sets, triggering multi-effects, using loops, samples, and cue points with controllers will be covered. Students will become comfortable using the leading Traktor controllers currently on the market. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-016E | Beat Making and Maschine | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live for DJs 1. An introduction to the use and utility of Maschine Sampler software. Students will be exposed to modern production and programming techniques using Native Instruments’ Maschine. Upon completing this course, students will be able to create beat sequences as well as more complex productions and remixes using the Maschine software and hardware suite. This course is equivalent to ARTST-016E Beat Making and Maschine. Two lab hours per week for one quarter.

DJ-111E | Sound Design | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live for DJs 1. This course focuses on modern sound design using advanced synthesis techniques and effects. Students will be able to create synth leads, basses, pads, drums, and sound effects. All sounds will be made using subtractive, FM and wavetable synthesis as well as samplers. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-125E | Max for Live | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live for DJs 1. Building on the concepts learned in Ableton Live for DJs 1, students focus on creating original Max for Live devices. Starting with the basic elements of the programming language up to real-world examples like building note arpeggiators, audio delays, and devices that change how Ableton Live functions in real-time. Upon successfully completion of this course, students will be able to produce their own custom Max for Live devices. One lecture hour per quarter.

DJ-126E | Sequencing with Push | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-058 Ableton Live for DJs 1. This course provides an in-depth look at Ableton’s flagship controller, Push. Students will learn how to make beats, use the sequencer, launch clips, play melodies and chords, and edit sounds. We’ll also take an in-depth look at how this powerful controller can be used for live performances. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-128E | Turntablism | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-102 Beat Matching 1 and Program Chair approval. This course introduces the concept that vinyl turntables and/or CD turntables (CDJ) can be used as rhythmic and melodic instruments. Students will understand the basic skills necessary to become proficient in this technique, such as: cutting, cueing, drops, and more. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

DJ-228E | Advanced Turntablism | Credits: 1.00

Prerequisite: DJ-128E Turntablism. Building on the information and techniques of the Turntablism course, this course will explore advanced turntablism skills such as beat-juggling, and will also cover the most difficult scratches, such as the One-Click Flare Scratch Orbit. Students will also be able to use these skills alongside a live band. This course is repeatable for credit. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

CAPSTONE EVENT

FINAL CONCERT

The capstone event of this program will be the performance of a Final Concert, which will be recorded on video. This recording can then serve as a tool for the aspiring DJ to show his or her skills in order to obtain paid engagements etc.

Students in the DJ Performance & Production program will need laptops that meet the following minimum requirements to run Ableton Live 9.5, Serato, and Traktor. Select laptop models will be available for purchase in the Player’s Supply store on campus.

Minimum Laptop Requirements:

  • Processor: i5 or i7: 2.0 GHz or faster
  • Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720
  • Memory: 4 GB minimum (8GB recommended)
  • Available USB 2.0 or 3.0 port
  • 20 GB of available hard drive space (65 GB if installing Live 9 Suite instead of Standard)
  • Mac Operating System: OSX 10.9, 10.10, or 10.11.1 or higher
  • Windows Operating System: Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 (with latest Service Pack, 32/64 Bit)

 

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