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Berklee College incorporates turntablism


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Professor Stephen Webber (left) and student Derrick Ramos of The Turntablist Club at Berklee College Boston's Berklee College of Music, the world's pioneering institution for the study of contemporary music, is becoming the world's first music college to incorporate the study of turntablism into its curriculum. This spring semester, Turntable Technique will teach the art of playing the turntable, a defining force in hip-hop music that has been adopted in virtually all popular music genres.
Support from select vendors allowed the Berklee classroom to be equipped with professional state-of-the-art instruments and gear. Among them are Korg, whose Kaoss Pads allow users to intuitively incorporate sampling and effects controlling into their performance with the touch of a finger; and the Kaoss Pad entrancer, which does the same with video effects as well. Vestax supplied turntables, DJ workstations, and DJ mixers that link together so that multiple turntablists may perform together.
Turntable Technique is taught by Professor Stephen Webber, a veteran of classical, jazz and electronic music, a leading authority on turntable education, and the author of the first instructional method book to teach the turntable, Turntable Technique: The Art of the DJ (Berklee Press, 2000). Commenting on the new course, Webber says, "Turntablists are musicians. Many of them, like DJ QBert, are virtuoso musicians, who practice hours a day and constantly strive to push their art further. I recently saw QBert perform, and he transported the entire audience; made us forget where we were and who we were, with nothing but a turntable and a piece of vinyl."
Joe Jack, Vestax USA product manager, comments, "Innovation has always been a focal point for Vestax. Berklee?s DJ program allows that tradition to continue by bringing the art of turntablism to the next generation of musicians in a new way. Having this art form acknowledged by an institution such as Berklee represents a milestone in modern music."
Jerry Kovarsky, Korg USA product manager, remarks, "Turntablism has become a viable form of musical expression. But beyond the traditional 'two turntables and a mixer' setup of the past, many DJ rigs now incorporate sampling and effects processing for even more musical possibilities. Korg is excited to be involved in Berklee's cutting-edge efforts to bring all these components into the classroom."
03/2004 Pro-Music-News

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