by Brent Crampton
Some of my friends have joked from time to time that there are too many DJs in Omaha. Regardless of the truth, there are about to be a whole lot more thanks to the new Omaha DJ Academy. I spoke last week at its orientation meeting with a room of about 10 students budding with curiosity.
I was impressed with all the gear, instructor knowledge and course curriculum. And with the six-week course costing only $199 right now (soon to double), the price is a steal.
I sent out some questions to the founder, Kevin Spracklin, to share more details on what the Omaha DJ Academy is all about.
So tell me the back story of ODA: When was it founded, what kinds of things will you be teaching, what kind of equipment is offered?
ODA was founded July of 2009 by Kevin and April Spracklin. Our classes include Intro To DJ'ng: this class covers the basic skills a DJ will need to learn the art of DJing, including music theory, minor maintenance of equipment, and a crash course in branding and self promoting; learning Traktor Scratch Pro 1 and touching on several other DJ programs; basic DJ skills, such as blending, transitions, looping, drops, vocal skills and crowd participation. Though this may be an entry level class, it's very advanced and very essential to learning the art of DJing. Other classes include Advanced DJing, Turtablism, Scratching, Advanced Scratching, Music Production/Live Streaming Radio.
At ODA we teach on 23-inch flatscreen HP all-in one computers. We also have turntables, TTx1 and TT500, several MIDI controlers and professional sound equipment the students learn on, including BOSE, Numark, Traktor, Gemini, Macki, HP and Behringer.
What's your personal story with DJing?
I have been a DJ since 1991 (first paid gig), but I played around with the thought of it since I was in high school. I have personally DJd over 5,000 shows. I have been apart of many major local and national shows, Husker Heisman, Olympic trials (interviewed athletes and was host/MC), countless clubs in Omaha Metro area. I do professional DJ reviews for omahanightoutguide.com.
How many students have you taught so far, and why is a DJ academy necessary for Omaha?
We have taught close to 50 students in the last year. This session, we have three classes going, two Sunday classes from 12-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. We're booking Tuesday night classes now. We have a student class called "Camp DJ" for the summer session, ages 6th to 12th grade. Currently we have students coming in from Western Nebraska, Missouri and South Dakota.
I feel that teaching the art of DJing improves the quality of DJ and makes the music scene in Omaha much better. Educating the public is important. It shows there is more to DJing than pushing buttons. We hope it makes an impact on the music scene by having great DJs and allowing DJs to make a living through the art.
Who are your instructors, and what are their credentials?
Sergei Shapoval has several years of DJ experience, Creighton University Graduate and is currently an intern for the ODA/ShowTime Music, studied sound at Pugit Sound Academy. Mr. Shapoval has studied sound since he was 10 years old. He's very proficient in Traktor and other DJ programs.
Advanced DJing: Dj Ryan Swan has over 10 years DJ experience and is a local and internationally known DJ. Turntablist and other types of DJing.
Scratching/advanced scratching: DJ REAL is a local hip-hop legend, the foundation of what is going on in Omaha for DJs. He's DJd since 1980.
What are some long-term goals with involving Omaha DJ Academy with the community?
Personally, I want to make an impact locally by being a part of the community through school seminars and supporting local events. We are currently in talks with schools to help support an after-school program for needy kids. Our instructors are also positive mentors to the kids. Our program teaches them to be a part of the community by giving back by volunteering their skills.
Perfect example: ShowTime Music and the Omaha DJ Academy volunteered our services to a young woman that was in a very serious car accident. We helped raise over $40,000, along with other sponsors, for Amber Wilkins. Last year, ShowTime Music and ODA helped the Optimist Club raise money for kids with cancer. And last week we performed at a career fair for Howard Kennedy Elementary school and spoke to the children. We get a lot of requests for volunteering, but I try to go where my heart is, and that's with children.
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DJ Diatribes & Dandies is a weekly column written by Omaha promoter and DJ Brent Crampton exploring the electronic dance music and DJ-related culture in his city. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.