Sun, May

Camp Spin-Off is launching careers in the music industry

Aspiring rappers also attend Camp Spin-Off to learn music production and the music business industry. Photos by Jason Lewis


This DJing summer camp has classes in music production, marketing, and business.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (Los Angeles City Council District 8) shows off the DJ skills that he learned from Camp Spin-Off.


By Blake Carter

Summer camp in Oak View, Ventura County, features swimming, rock climbing, zip lining, basketball, and turntables.  At Camp Spin-Off, when the teenage campers are not participating in various outdoor activities, they are in workshops learning from world-renowned DJs.  

This camp was created in 2010 by Tina Turnbull, who goes by DJ Tina T.  

“She created this camp so that kids could have that traditional camp experience of being out in the woods, going hiking, and being immersed in nature,” said Candice Corbett, Camp Spin-Off director.  “But with the core curriculum of the camp being learning how to DJ.”

Many of the teenagers did not have any experience DJing before they attended the camp.

“The kids who come to camp have varying levels of experience,” Corbett said.  “We have kids who come and they have never touched a pair of turntables.  They have never tried to mix music together, or create a song.  The camp provides access to equipment and instruction.”

While some of the children are inexperienced, the teenagers who attend the camp on a yearly basis are on their way to having professional careers.  

“There are kids who are dedicated to DJing,” Corbett said.  “They do their school parties, or their church parties.  They are coming to this camp to take things to the next level.”

Classes are set up for a peer learning environment, so more experienced students can share their knowledge and experience with campers who are novices.

This camp is not only about spinning records on turntables.  The music production classes teaches the teenagers how to remix songs, and recreate a song from samples of other songs.  The children learn these skills while using state of the art sound mixing equipment, such as Ableton Live, which is a music sequencer software and digital audio workstation.

The campers have a sound challenge, where groups have a week to create an original song.  They are given microphones so that they can collect their own samples, such as the crunching of leaves, or running water.  The samples are used to string together a new song.  This task teaches them sound engineering, sound mixing, and music programming, which are skills that can lead to jobs in the music, film, and television industries.

There are also classes about the business side of the music industry, where the campers learn about marketing and contract negotiations.  

“One of our previous campers came in thinking that she wanted to be a DJ,” Corbett said.  “After going through camp for several years and taking the music business classes, she decided that she liked the business side of music.  She’s now in college, and she’s an intern at Deckstar, which is one of the biggest artist management firms in the world.  We are really launching a lot of careers in the music industries from this camp.”  

Rappers also attend the camp, as DJing, music production, and the business side of the industry are relevant to their careers.  

Los Angeles Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (City Council District 8) sees the value in having teenagers in South Los Angeles participate in a camp like this.  

“I wanted to make sure that we opened up art to our young people,” Harris-Dawson said while addressing an audience at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.  “So last year for Camp Spin-Off, we had two kids from the 8th District go to camp and learn how to spin.”

The two children, who received scholarships, were girls who attend Crenshaw High School.

“It’s important to me that young women get to go,” Harris-Dawson said.  “The history of music, even in our community, women usually get to sing or dance. They don’t get to control the instruments, they don’t get to set the production, and they don’t get to get behind the board and control the equipment.  It’s important that young women from our community get to do this.”  

This year’s camp will be held from July 30 through August 3.  To register children ages 13-17, visit www.campspinoff.com, or call them at (702) 781-0337. 

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