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Recruits sought for spin class

Education business, FutureDJs, is looking to reverse the decline in students taking GCSE and A-Level music by bringing DJ-ing into schools 

Posted by Julian Owen | April 17, 2018 | Teaching

In 2017 only 1 in 20 students took GCSE music. FutureDJs intends to change that with a programme bringing professional DJ and Music Production tutors into schools. 

The tutors deliver a programme of study starting at Key Stage 2 and running through to Key Stage 5, in accordance with the new AQA, OCR and Eduqas GCSE music specifications. 

DJ-ing can have a profound and transformative effect on young people,” say FutureDJs. “In some cases, it can open a whole new direction in life. Decks can provide focus for a student who may otherwise be disengaged from education. For others it may just shed light onto a world of electronic music that is now worth over $7 billion. 

Learning to DJ is similar to learning any other instrument. When DJ-ing is learnt with the right intentions and taught in the right way - with a passion for electronic music at its heart - it can instil the skills and mentality of a musician. 

However, despite the huge interest from students to get into music - at each school around 120 students register their interest - very few teachers have the practical skill, knowledge or resources to deliver. We bridge this gap by sending our own visiting music tutors into secondary schools nationwide, providing structured, curriculum focused lessons, just like tutors of any other musical instrument.” 

In recent years, UK examination boards AQA and OCR introduced DJ-ing into the GCSE national curriculum, meaning DJ decks are now recognised as a formal instrument and can therefore be assessed in schools. 

Learning to DJ may not teach you about Western classical notation,” continue FutureDJs, “but it will teach you how to listen, improvise and compose, and it will inspire a love and passion for music that can be taken in any direction.  The best DJs have an exceptional and instinctive understanding of harmony and rhythm and, above all else, composition. 

DJs compose, perform and improvise with decks when mixing tracks together; first we listen to the two tracks individually, then we assess how they may sound when blended together, next we compose by imagining how we can affect each track to achieve our desired effect. Finally, we turn the dream into reality and perform the mix aloud, continually adjusting the sounds as we hear them.

The Future DJs programme is split over 36 20-minute sessions in an academic year, typically costing £15 per session. It has been awarded a place on the Virgin Start Up incubator programme, received backing from Pioneer, and is now crowdfunding to create a foundation enabling it to teach children in poorer areas where no funding is available.

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