Mix Major - Music Technology School For Kids & Teens
At Mix Major, kids (and teens) learn how to create music using digital music technology, regardless of their ability (or desire) to play a traditional instrument, sing, or perform in front of an audience.
Unlike traditional music education programs, which focus on the performance of an already-written piece of music, Mix Major’s programs focus on the creation of original music based on the interests of the student.
This creative process is called Music Production , and with a few exceptions, it's not being taught anywhere in our kids' school music programs: elementary, middle, or high school.
Every kid loves music, Every kid loves to create. Every kid has tons of creative ideas. At Mix Major, kids learn how to those turn their ideas into songs they can share with the world.
In the process, kids build confidence and self-esteem while developing life-long skills in creativity, communication, problem-solving, and collaboration.
In 2018, Mix Major opened its brick-and-mortar Music Technology School for Kids and Teens in Herndon, VA. Prior to that, Mix Major provided programs in local elementary and middle schools as after-school enrichment, summer camps, interactive assemblies, and in-school classes.
Mix Major also offers a unique Creative Technology After-School Program that engages kids in creative media: Music production, Video Production, and Digital Graphic Arts. This program includes bus transportation from elementary and middle schools in Herndon, VA the and surrounding area.
Registration is open now for Camps, Free Trial Classes, the Music Production Learning Path Program, and the Creative Technology After-School Program.
To create a lasting impact on kids beyond the classroom walls, Mix Major creates free educational videos to help public and private school music teachers learn and teach Music Production. Teachers can learn for free and immediately pass the knowledge on to their students.
Mix Major was founded by Eric Jao (aka DJ Enferno), whose credits include Madonna, Shakira, & Cirque Du Soleil.
I love working with young people. With kids and teens, the desire to create and the love for music is so strong and personal. It's so rewarding helping them unlock their creativity.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
All students may begin with a Free Trial Class at Mix Major. In this 55 minute class, students create an original song. Parents are encouraged to stay for the duration of the Free Trial Class so can observe and ask questions.
At the end of this class, students record screen capture video of their song played back in the Digital Audio Workstation software (Ableton Live 10).
The screen capture video immediately goes up on the public Mix Major Student Music Youtube page, which the student and parents are welcome to view and share.
Students also create an MP3 of their song, which is emailed ot them after the class.
If the student and parent are excited to continue, then they register for the year-round Music Production Learning Path program, which meets weekly for about an hour each week. In this program, students learn and create at their own pace through their personalized Learning Path, which is developed by Mix Major based on the student's goals and interests.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I've toured all over the world and worked with some of the music industry’s biggest names...Madonna, Shakira, and Linkin Park (to name a few). I've created concert music for the Cirque Du Soleil "Michael Jackson One" Las Vegas show and licensed an official remix of the iconic Peanuts theme for the 20th Century FOX 2015 Peanuts Movie. As a producer, I've released music on major record labels including Sony, Universal, and Interscope.
I began my music career as a mobile DJ while attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (’93) and continued through my years at the University of VA (B.S. in Commerce/Marketing ’97) and beyond, becoming a staple in the Washington DC nightlife scene as a club DJ. Shortly after winning the nation’s most prestigious DJ competition (the DMC USA 2003), I left my career as a network engineer at MCI/Worldcom to pursue music full-time. Since then I've performed for over 3 million people, in 35 countries, on 4 continents.
In 2015, I founded Mix Major to teach kids how to create their own music, regardless of their musical training or ability to play an instrument. With Mix Major, I'm modernizing music education while positively affecting the trajectory of kids’ lives.
Mix Major started as after-school enrichment programs and summer camps. In 2018, I opened my own school of the same name located in Herndon, VA.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
The Music Production Learning Path Program is a monthly subscription program that meets once per week for 55 minutes. The monthly tuition is only $109.99/month.
Students may register for additional class time for a discounted rate of $89.99/month per additional class.
How did you get started teaching?
I've been a professional DJ since 1991, a musician since 1982. I began composing my own music in 1992 using hardware sequencers. Since then I've performed for over 3 million people in 35 countries including a world-tour with Madonna in 2008.
While touring heavily (solo) between 2009 and 2017, I was contracted by pro-audio companies (i.e. companies that make DJ and music production equipment) to represent their brand. For example, I was a brand ambassador for Casio and Rane for which I presented at conferences like SXSW and NAMM. This was my introduction to teaching.
During my time touring, I was contracted by Bates College to perform at their quad party. In addition, they wanted me to teach a workshop. In this 2-hour workshop, I led a group of about 25 college students in creating a full-length song. The students helped write, arrange, and produce their song, which I played later that night for everyone to hear at the quad party. It was a big hit with the students, and I loved the experience of teaching those students.
I had a similar experience after that, but this time with my 5-year old daughter and her 8-year old friend. I would always invite them to make a song with me in my home studio, and eventually, they knocked on my door, and we made a song. In the process, I was teaching them about the art and science of music production. They were learning so much but didn't even realize it because they were having so much fun creating. This was the moment I fell in love with teaching kids.
A few months after that, I started teaching after-school programs in local elementary & middle schools. I then went on to running summer camps and performing interactive music technology school assemblies for up to 400 kids at a time. I opened my own school, Mix Major, in Herndon, VA in 2018.
In addition, I create free educational content on Youtube designed to help traditional music teachers learn music technology so that they can pass the knowledge on to the hundreds of students they teach every week.
What types of students have you worked with?
At Mix Major, I work with kids and teens grades 3 through 12.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Your teacher needs to be in tune with you. Your teacher needs to understand your goals as a music producer. Then, your teacher needs to design a learning path for you, based on your goals and musical interests.
Your teacher is there to help you make the music that you want to make.
It goes without saying that your teacher needs to be an expert. But just as importantly, your teacher needs to make you feel comfortable while keeping you engaged in the learning process. In other words, your teacher needs to make it fun to learn.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
1) What are some of my favorite songs (artist and song titles)?
2) If I could create my own songs, what would they sound like? (list 3 songs: artist and song titles)