(CBS Radio) — Located in the heart of NoDa, With These Hands DJ Academy is the perfect place for aspiring DJs. The DJ school provides students with a detailed curriculum, which enables them to learn the history, art form, and skill set involved with DJing.
The instructors at With These Hands also use hands-on techniques to get their students spinning like an experienced DJ in no time.
The mission of With These Hands is to teach, inspire, and transform the lives of individuals through music education, while preserving the art form of DJing. We wanted to know more about this DJ school, so we recently met up with the owner of With These Hands, Claude Whitfield.
Q. When did the DJ Academy first open its doors?
A. With These Hands DJ Academy opened its doors to students in 2008.
Q. What inspired you to start a DJ Academy?
A. My dad was my true inspiration; he was a DJ back in the day and told me that I had to go to school to become one. Aside from that, I have been a DJ for 20+ years. DJs are a very important part of the foundation of hip hop. I felt it was only right to create something that can allow generations to come to not only gain the knowledge of DJing, but become entrepreneurs as well.
Q. How long do aspiring DJs attend the Academy?
A. Although most of the DJs that attend have a clear understanding of the basics after their first 6 week semester, aspiring DJs attend With These Hands DJ Academy for 12-54 weeks.
Q. Upon completion of the program, what can aspiring DJs expect in terms of launching their DJ career/getting gigs, etc?
A. DJs will gain experience in the field before they even complete the courses. Once DJs complete their courses at With These Hands, our team will continue to work with them and help them find their niche in this market. Our team makes sure that aspiring DJs use all of the tools that they have been given, from marketing themselves to playing at events.
Q. What is the average person’s age that attends the academy?
A. Students range from anywhere from 12 years of age to 50.
Q. Who are the most successful DJs that have attending the DJ Academy?
A. We have had many successful students attend With These Hands DJ Academy:
- Kaleb Walls (DJ Whoota) — While in his Senior year of high School, Walls did his graduation project on the art of DJing and received the perfect graduation project award. He is also a touring DJ, working with several other artists. He also owns Iziggy Promotions with his brother, Izai.
- DJ Bezerk -- Bezerk performs at shows and produces music. He graduated from With These Hands and went on to Full Sail University to further his education as a producer/DJ. He has put out several albums.
- Miguel Avila (DJ M-Vee) — Together, Avila and myself launched the first DJ Club in a Charlotte High School, at North Meck. He is now attending UNCC, and spins at various venues. He also released the Mind Hack Album series.
- Jennifer Sand Mosbelch (DJ WinKz) -- Mosbelch attended our Academy and later went on to start a very successful company, called Funky Town Parties.
- Shane (DJ Glecco) -- A former Bank of America employee, DJ Glecco landed a very nice paying gig upon finishing the Academy.
DJ Whoota and M-Vee are now instructors at With These Hands.
Q. How do you feel about the music scene in Charlotte?
A. I think the music scene in Charlotte is really dope! Charlotte has a lot of good DJs/Producers.
Q. Do you think that DJs in Charlotte are under-appreciated?
A. I think DJs as a whole are under-appreciated, although I feel that we are new Rock Stars at this point.
Q. Is it hard for new DJs to get their foot in the door in Charlotte?
A. It’s not too complicated, I mean there are some challenges but, all careers have challenges.
Q. What advice would you give aspiring DJs?
A. I would tell aspiring DJs to find their niche, be themselves, be consistent, perfect your craft…and the rest will come.
Q. What is the cost to attend?
A. The cost per semester is $300. We are doing a special now where you can get $100 off our next semester. Starting on 4/14/2013 at the famous Dupp and Swatt studios, located in NoDa.
Q. What’s next for the Academy?
A. We are opening another DJ school in ATL (www.godjatl.com,) and are also working on a school in S. Africa for 2014.
With These Hands teaches in six week semesters. You can find more information about classes here:
Location: 2424 N. Davidson St. Suite 112B, Charlotte, NC 28205 Phone: (704) 966-9282
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Radio