Even if it’s been eons since you were in the classroom, consider becoming a student of something new now that you’ve got the kids settled back into their school rhythm. For this year’s creative parenthood idea, we recommend you “be a DJ for a day” under the master-spinning tutelage of Burt Blackarach, a Grammy-winning engineer (The Temptations), DJ, producer, composer and longtime collaborator with iconic MCs such as Chuck D, MC Lyte, Andre 3000 and KRS-One. Blackarach has spun around the world, and his scratching skills can be heard on major-label albums, movie soundtracks and national commercials.
In addition to all that, Blackarach loves to transmit his love of music over his turntable, where he has taught everyone from newbies to seasoned musicians and avid vinyl collectors. “I first started giving DJ workshops two years ago,” he says. “It was my wife’s idea. She noticed how patient and uplifting I was in my studio production sessions.”
To sign up for Blackarach’s workshop, visit Airbnb.com. Hour-long sessions start around $44. You’ll meet at his Burt Blackarach Studios in Mid-Wilshire, where his collection of more than 14,000 vinyl records will astound you. Blackarach will teach you the basics of DJing, from the proper way to handle vinyl to scratching to transitioning songs. At the end, you’ll take one of his prized records home.
“Participants can expect to be up and scratching within our hour session, and expect a lot of fun,” Blackarach says. “My main goal is to give people the basic tools in a lighthearted and non-intimidating way. It’s all about having fun and feeling confident by the end of the experience.”
And while Airbnb experiences might seem catered to tourists, Blackarach says half of his guests are L.A. locals. “Many of them come back and book group classes for birthdays and surprises for loved ones,” he says. “Those that want to go deeper into the craft will book private one-on-one lessons for themselves and/or their children.
“I enjoy watching a guest’s face light up when they scratch for the first time,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what type of music you like, your age or how cool you think you are or aren’t, everyone is capable of being a funky DJ.”
You might even score some cool points with your kids.
“Parents really get a kick out of discovering something off the beaten path,” Blackarach says. It “allows parents to try something outside of their comfort zone in a judgment-free space.”
Picture it: cool studio vibes, good music, your fingers on vinyl, scratch, scratch, scratch. One song, then another. You learned something new.