From mothers coming in with their 7-year old daughter to 72-year old retirees looking for new hobbies, the art of DJing is rapidly increasing in popularity in every demographic.
John “DJ Johnny Utah” Jones and Russell “DJ Mashtodon” founded the Studio 5 DJ school in Burlington about a year and a half ago.
“A lot of folks want to learn the art of it. So, we thought what better time to start a school to frame the art and bring people in,” Jones said.
Growing up in Bangor, Maine, Jones said he didn’t feel like he was part of a big music scene until he came to Burlington. By starting Studio 5, Jones feels that he started changing the way people of think of DJs.
“The DJing world is a very interesting world, where you have to get creative if you want to make a career out of it. It can be very lucrative or it can be not so lucrative.” Jones said. “We actually found great success in the Burlington scene, as it is a very musically driven town.”
Studio 5 doesn’t offer specific classes, instead they offer courses, which vary based on the experience level of the students.
Offering a one hour class one time won’t accomplish very much, but a five class course does, Jones said.
“We found that just offering a one hour class isn’t gonna really accomplish much. Each course has five classes that focus on a specific area. Our most popular course is the 101 course.” Jones said. It shows you how to play music, choose the right song and the right time. It puts the student in a position to make an educated decision.”
Some schools in the area will take the courses and apply them as credits, Jones said.
“If you come through the school we can put you to work through an established DJ company. There’s actually a job placement program through our studio 5 DJ school,” Jones said.
His goal is the same as any musical teacher’s goal, but Jones said he feels like he’s doing something that no one in the state of Vermont is doing.
Jones said his love for music in general was what inspired him to DJ when he was a sophomore in high school in the ‘90s. Jones feels that becoming a DJ is much easier now than when he was starting out.
“There really wasn’t a place I could go for instruction. If you started DJing back in the ‘90s or early 2000s, there was no place to learn,” Jones said. “Now it’s very commercialized; there are learning environments. The lack of feedback from an instructor was the most challenging part.”
“DJing really wasn’t a thing back then,” Jones said. “It was sort of an idea to be first to market around it. Mixing music together to make people feel good.”
Jones doesn’t believe in a set genre to his style.
“It’s an eclectic mix of everything: from classic hip hop, of course, but everything from soul to reggae to even the modern EDM scene, all sort of fuses the music in this establishment,“ Jones said.
Knowing what song to play and when is the most important part of learning to be a DJ, Jones said.
“Music means so much to every event, whether it’s a wedding, a birthday party, a bar mitzvah or even just like a bar scene downtown. The success of that night hinges sort of on their abilities,” Jones said.
He feels that his school gives DJs or people that call themselves DJs a chance to improve.