Sri Lanka’s very first DJ training facility, the DJ Academy turns four this month. Founded by Tareeq Musafer in 2008, along with his book ‘Learn to be a DJ,’ the academy has grown from strength to strength, making it the only established and well-known training institute for upcoming DJs in the country.
Commenting on the DJ Academy’s work over the last four years, its Founder and CEO, Musafer stated, “With the current trends in music, DJs have ample choice to choose a genre to play or perhaps create their own. Unlike the pre-millennium era where most DJs would play select dance tracks off the charts, today’s DJs seem daring and experimental in creating new sounds, which I believe has a positive outcome on the industry.
“These new trends have spawned opportunity and inspired many young DJs to enter the business and make it a profession. Dancing has always been an expression of good feeling and making someone feel good through music is the primary purpose of a DJ.”
In 2010, the academy was the first in the country to be affiliated to QSU (Qbert Scratch University) to offer training programmes in turntablism, which is regarded as one of the highest forms of technically skilled DJing. The academy is also Sri Lanka’s first DJ School to offer Certified Ableton Live Production courses.
Since its inception, the academy has trained over 350 students, both hobby and pro-DJs, including foreign students from Jordan, the UAE, the Maldives, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Certifications provided by the academy are recognised in the UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, the Maldives, and Australia, while products of the academy have found overseas employment following their training here.
“I believed that DJing is a great art to learn, because you will able to control mind body and soul together, which leads to self motivation and self confidence,” said Thanujika Perera, Head of DJ Training, the DJ Academy.
“The academy evolves constantly with new trends in the industry, always keeping up-to-date with equipment, which has been one of its unique selling points,” explained Musafer, also commenting on the increasing interest shown in music production. “With the availability of advanced DJ gear, more younger DJs have shown interest in music production, apart from learning to DJ. This led us to launch a series of courses and workshops in music production.”
In 2011, the DJ Academy was chosen by the Goethe Institute and Alliance Française de Kotte to host a series of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) workshops with artists from France and Germany. Through these efforts and others, there have been new opportunities created for young EDM artists in Sri Lanka.
During its tenure, the DJ Academy is well-endorsed in the industry, and has established close ties with international DJ schools and promoters, in order to enable further opportunities for local DJs. In 2013, the academy will open a branch in Maharagama. The academy’s primary objectives for the next two years will be to extend the DJ Academy and its facilities to more DJs from across the country through more branches and provide platforms to showcase local talent.