Electronic Music and DJing

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Electronic Music and DJing is a proposed 2 credit Student Designed Course at Olin College in Boston, MA. The current plan is to have it centered around the musical aspects of DJing Electronic Music, with studying done on working the crowd and music selection. It will probably involve studying the styles of various DJs, comparing them to each other, practicing/recording your own mixes, and critiquing the rest of the class. Due to the limited set of equipment, enrollment will probably be limited to the folks most interested in the the subject as determined by the equipment's owner. We will probably be working under the advisement of Diana Dabby to make this course a reality.

Course Background, Description, and Expectations

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Electronic Music and DJing is proposed as a 2 credit student organized class during Spring 2009. The students will be learning about the musical aspects of DJing electronic music through both studying other DJs and learning to DJ themselves. These analysis will be quite brief and will be centered around the overall impressions of the mix. This means that each student will have around 6 hours of DJing and listening as a time commitment every week. Additionally, compiling a list of what you learn over the course of the semester would help demonstrate improvement, and learning. The primary reason for taking this course would be because you have a passion to learn and become an electronic music DJ (or you would like to become a better one).

Time commitment

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As a 2 credit course, 6 hours of work a week are expected, though this course will very likely take longer than that. Proposed for now is that every week following equipment training, a 1-2 hour mix of music should be recorded by each student, and then listened to and analyzed by the student and at least one other student.

Culture and history

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In addition to practical aspects of DJing, the course will also cover the history of DJing and electronic music. There will be an emphasis on understanding the various subcultures surrounding electronic music (underground, commercial, and radio, for example).


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We would like to investigate the various subcultures surrounding various subgenres of electronic music (trance, electro-house, breaks, psytrance, etc.). In addition, basic traditional music theory principles will be explored in relation to electronic music - everything from understanding modern remixes of classical music (Tiesto, etc.) to understanding how key, tempo, and rhythmic structures affect the musical experience.


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These are proposed deliverable ideas, and not solidified

Weekly deliverables should include a 1-2 hour mix of music created by each student. Each student will also be expected to listen to the mix of another person in the class and provide analysis and feedback.

The final course deliverable will include a mix and a paper explaining the decisions made in the production of the mix, the style of the music included, and the musical theory underlying the individual pieces and the entire mix.


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Olin College employs a competency system. The following competencies will possibly be addressed by the Electronic Music and DJing course:

  • Life Long Learning
  • Communication
  • Context
  • Diagnosis

How to Join

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Send an e-mail to Matt Wootton including the following: why you would like to take the course, any prior DJ experience, and what you hope to gain out of the course. Due to the equipment's location and the fact that the meetings would likely be in the evenings, it would be best to limit enrollment to Olin students for access reasons. Depending on how the course description works out, it will also be likely that the number of students will be limited in order to accommodate the limited amount of equipment.