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Nick Saligoe (right), or DJ MetroGnome, got together with Doug Morris (left) to plan a school where DJs can learn the tricks of the trade called Deckademics. (Photo by Brian Brosmer)

A good DJ is like a fine guitarist. Both require skill and technique to reach the top of the pack. Nick Saligoe, or DJ MetroGnome, has been training disc jockeys in the Indianapolis area for a few years now. A city grant helped fund a program for three years at the Martin Luther King Community Center, but Saligoe and his fellow instructors found there were a few things they could not accomplish in this space.

“We were in the basement,” he said. “No one knew we were there.”

Saligoe got together with Doug Morris to plan a school where aspiring DJs can learn the tricks of the trade. Deckademics was born. Saligoe brings solid teaching credentials into his mix. A former teacher in the Chicago school system, he teaches turntablism to children and adults alike. “Instruction comes natural to me,” he said. “It’s a natural extension of what I do.”

The art of the DJ appeals to all ages. Saligoe once taught a 9-year-old girl and her 39-year-old father. Both were interested and involved with learning the skill. “Kids seem to be fascinated by all of the things they can do with technology, obviously music being one of them,” he said.

Morris, known as Sir Doug, is a business guy. He creates opportunities for DJs to get work and build brand recognition.

Deckademics, located at 6108 N. College Ave., Suite 200, in Indianapolis, has plenty of new technology for aspiring DJs to use. Students use both analog and digital equipment. Learning both technologies helps students develop a good ear and solid skills, Saligoe said. Three studios are available for student practice.

Saligoe does not expect every student to become a professional DJ. The training allows people to express themselves and gives them the ability to make music at home. The self-trained turntablist did not set out to make a living with his skill. He originally just wanted to “scratch.” Scratching and mixing can be a team-building exercise. “People are always looking for ways to bring people together,” Saligoe said.

During his 10-year career as a DJ, he has led corporate team-building activities. “DJ school is kind of a unique twist,” he said.

Saligoe and fellow teachers DJ Chase, Cool Hand Lex and DJ Top Speed perform around the area. A day-after Valentine’s Day gig in the back room of The Jazz Kitchen gave the audience a chance at an unusual romantic activity. Each couple could learn to record their own mix and then take their finished project home with them.

Deckademics held a “quite successful” soft opening in late 2013 and are now scheduling classes.

The organizers of the school know that DJing can be an expensive hobby and offer everything from a one-day “crash course” to six- and 12-week sessions for novice, intermediate and advanced students.

Professional DJs have plenty of scheduling flexibility and enjoy another great benefit. “It’s a pretty fantastic job to go party and make music,” Seligoe said.

For more information on classes and programs at Deckademics, visit deckademics.com or call 317-662-8661.

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