Treasure Mountain’s DJ Club gathers around love for music (video)
When the final bell rings at Treasure Mountain Junior High, a group of students rushes to pull out sound boards, plug in speakers and argue over who gets the headphones first. They blast music and some start to dance, but no teachers yell at them to turn it down.
After all, it is an extra-curricular activity.
The school’s DJ club began last year when some students expressed interest in learning the art of mixing music and beats. The club, which is registered with the Mustang After School Academy, received a grant from the Park City Education Foundation for equipment. Since then, the club has only expanded.
There are 10 students in the club – a mix of boys and girls, eighth-graders and freshmen. They meet a couple of times a week to play music and practice mixing.
Zander Levy, an eighth-grader, said that he took one class about DJing on a family vacation and immediately became immersed. He purchased his own DJ controller and practiced at home. When he started at Treasure Mountain, he could not believe that there was a club for his passion.
Since joining, he said that he has worked with equipment and learned skills that he was not able to on his own. Plus, he is able to share some of his skills with the other students.
One important ability the students are learning together is how to work as a team and set up a gig, said Rhianna Raggio, a ninth-grader. They were asked to perform at the Halloween dance at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School and at the Daddy-Daughter Dance at McPolin Elementary School earlier this year. The club also plays during lunch on Fridays at Treasure Mountain.
Jacob Samuels, a ninth-grader, said he loves seeing people enjoy the music they play during those parties.
Samuels joined because he wanted a way to show people music he said was underrated, but has ended up learning much more.
“It’s been a fun new experience, and it elevated my interest in music,” he said. “It’s not just teaching me how to DJ with a turntable, but it’s teaching me about different techniques in music.”
Techniques include learning the fundamentals of sound and how to use music programs, but also how to read an audience in order to keep a party going.
“It’s about creating an atmosphere,” Levy said. “It’s the lights, controlling the effects and the presence of the DJ. It’s about connecting that music to the crowd and to the room.”
Levy said that as the club expands, incorporating lighting might become part of the club’s activities. Karyn Pacal, a teacher at the junior high and advisor for the club, said the students have also talked about doing more activities during school, such as karaoke battles.
As the kids gather at the end of the day to listen, learn and let out some dance moves, she said that the club is a great time for them to freely express themselves. Plus, they can be involved in something that really interests them.
“It’s a way for them to explore something new and geek out and immerse themselves in something that is universal, that we all can relate to,” she said.
A Parkite who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13 is giving scholarships and internships to three first-generation graduates from PCHS.