As a first-time exhibitor at this year’s SXSW Edu Playground, it was inspiring to witness the animated reactions from the attendees that joined around our booth. From seasoned educators and student clusters to families and neighboring exhibitors, there was an experience for every visitor to enjoy. Why? DJ technology is curious to most, and music resonates with everyone.

Most people today will recognize a DJ deck, but what the process of DJing actually entails eludes them.

Adults who approached our booth exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to be a DJ! How does it work?” …

“Why do you want to learn DJing?”

I just passed the first half of NOISE212 Labs DJ after school sessions with my group of third to fifth graders. While I started the semester with a clear idea of the scope and sequence of the goals and technical skills I wanted the students to acquire, this statement from one of them on the first day of session reminded me of the root of learning and the purpose of my program.

Simple enough, yet this remains an ongoing challenge for many classrooms. …

Music is a universal language, older than spoken language itself. Infants respond to sounds before they ever begin processing words. Auto-didactically, parents adopt a sing-songy voice in their “baby talk” to generate a response from their newborn. Children’s songs are essential, and successful children’s television programming are embedded with a soundtrack of upbeat, catchy, melodic tunes — they’re designed to teach, elicit a response from the child viewer and maintain engagement (ie. Sesame Street, Barney, Yo Gabba Gabba, The Backyardigans, etc.).

Children encounter and engage with music in their daily activities — from radio and online video streaming, to songs used in schools, to the game soundtrack on the latest mobile app/game they play, to lullabies that serenade them to sleep at night. It has long been understood by research studies that young children have a natural inclination for music-making and derive concomitant pleasure from generating sound. Given an environment that allows them to explore, children will naturally satisfy their curiosity for musical expression. In this space, the newest DJ technology provides an additional avenue to enhance creativity. The child DJ is not driven by the desire to be a touring rock star or nightclub resident, but rather by pure curiosity and impulse for musical spontaneity. Take for example, 10-year old DJ Switch of Ghana, whose passion for DJing started from simply wanting “to try it” and “switching up people’s happiness.” …


Jamie Solis

Founder of NOISE212 Labs, modern music for school-age children, focusing on DJing and digital music production. @noise212 |

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