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Salsa & Merengue
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S&M Activities

Getting Your Hands Dirty
4 de Diciembre
Salsa and Merengue Music DJ
Lessons: Salsa
Lessons: Ear Training
Lessons: Merengue
Dance Technique
Tango Argentino
Teacher Training
AfroCuban Percussion
Latin Music
Seminars: Aspects of
AfroCuban music
Materials: Lesson, Workshop, Seminar and Masterclass

Workshop: DJing Latin Music

The content of this workshop reaches across two knowledge areas: the aspects of sound; and song selection. It spans a minimum of four weeks but normally runs for eight; with one 1-hour theoretical session and one evening hands-on practical per week. Listening and literature research projects are assigned between each theory session, so that you learn how to build up a knowledge base to inform your song selection strategies.

Aspects of sound
As sound is the tool of the trade, it is essential that you understand its properties and behaviour. All DJs irrespective of genre should be fluent with this material.

  • Properties of sound
    Speed, frequency, wavelength, spread.
  • Environmental variables
    Absorption characteristics of air and the human body; room size and surfaces; standing waves.
  • Equipment
    Setup, optimisation, levelling (gain vs. volume), best practice.
  • Qualitative consistency
    Compensating for passive systems; media production quality.
  • Psychoacoustics
    Sonic implications - altering frequency balance for a particular effect; helping the listener.

Song Selection
What makes a Latin music DJ different from a DJ who simply owns a few salsa compilations, is an intimate understanding of the needs of the dancing public, and how to choose the appropriate pieces to satisfy these needs.

  • The Professional versus The Amateur
    Reading the audience; understanding the preference register, the needs of the dancer.
  • Skills development
    Research skills; critical listening; subjective ranking; expanding repertoire.
  • Genres
    Ear training; indigenous context; transnational context; local context.
  • Groupings
    Artist, genre, geography, style, epoch, label, producer.
  • Assembly
    Cueing, tempo changes, group linking, navigating by feel.
  • Guest slots and residencies
    Quick start, DJ as educator; training your audience.
  • Common traps
    Partially utilised collections; overcoming complacency.

1999 Salsa & Merengue Society