Sunday, August 20, 2006

Old School

Today I attended the first graduation of my son from DJ school at Scratch Academy, where he was the youngest student in an extremely multicultural, multiracial, multinational, and even multigenerational class in which young women represented at least half -- if not more -- of the enrolled students. Of course, there are certain fraternal rites in this social group. They take on new names and only call each other by their DJ appellations. I took a sample lesson and was surprised to see how much of the instruction was actually like an elementary computer programming class: the emphasis was on not learning bad habits and explaining the basic, structural principles of musical combination, essentially the algorithmic components of the mix. The center is run by Executive Director DJ Hapa, who also DJs on the morning news.

Given that the digital music revolution allows for such efficiency in distribution and precision in presentation, it's funny that my kid still loves vinyl, as I did at his age. It's also sad that members of this incredibly rich, urban culture, which has done so much to revitalize the decrepit recording industry, are still treated as what Kembrew McLeod and Ben Franzen call "Copyright Criminals."

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