Detroit DJ offering free classes to kids each month in hopes of keeping them off the street

Posted at 5:58 AM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 09:05:45-05

A DJ in Detroit is working to keep kids off the streets. Ron Johnson, also known as DJ Jungle 313, has been on the turntables since he was a kid and he wants to now pass the knowledge and skill to the younger generation.

Next month, the veteran DJ will be offering free classes to middle and high school-age students, teaching them the art of scratching, all about vinyls and music production software. He hopes this will not only get kids a way out, but a way up.

Johnson said his parents bought him a set of turntables and a mixer from Radioshack, and now, he's spinning house music and South African Amapiano in the city. He's also the executive director of the music production program Spin Inc.

"There’s more than just negative music out here. There’s a lot of beautiful music out here. And DJs help curate those soundscapes for you to listen to," he said.

He's hopeful the music knowledge will transfer to kids in Detroit with music production courses he's hosting at Alkebu-Lan Village, completely free of charge.

"A lot of DJs from Detroit are some of the most sought after DJs internationally, have gotten out of this city and seen different things, and we want to give the children that type of opportunity to learn a skill set that they can be passionate about, hone and then possibly go other places," he said.

Each month, the four-week program will be offered to 10 students in grades 6-12, where they'll learn about scratching, vinyls, equipment, music production software and more.

Those skills, Johnson says, can be used for a future career.

"Some of our students right after they get out of class in the summer time, they have gotten gigs DJing," he said. "So that’s the plus. We any to teach them how to use those to be able to make money for themselves."

They can also be used to escape tough circumstances, especially as gun violence continues to wreak havoc on our community.

"When I heard a child say, 'this saved my life from the streets, being here,' I said I really want to expand upon that and bring it here in Detroit," he said. "With a different platform, having more controllers more turntables more software for children to learn music production."

The classes are set to begin next month. If you are interested in signing up click here and select "Spin Inc." as the program of choice while filling out the registration form. Spaces each month are limited.