“I started out doing private, DJ lessons to get it off the ground,” he recalls. “I was out at The Music Factory when they broke ground; I was in the building by the volleyball court; I was in there for a year with no students.”
He moved the Academy from that location when he partnered with the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department for a couple of summers before moving into ImaginOn. He took a year off to re-organize before then moving into the Area 15 building in NoDa. It was there that one of America’s biggest brands approached him for a partnership. Today, With These Handz DJ Academy™ is now presented by Sprite®. Another win? Sprite® introduced Whitfield to his now business partner.
Today, With These Handz DJ Academy™ offers private instruction and group classes to students of a variety of ages and music education experiences (no music experience is needed or expected); there are four-week semesters that start with the basics, including the history of DJ-ing which, in theory, dates back to Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph.
Regardless of the size of the class or the experience level, Whitfield is cognizant of how each student learns. “I’m out of the box when it comes to creative, music education,” Whitfield notes, both proud and humble. “And I make sure we hit all different learning styles because everyone learns differently.”
Whitfield teaches satellite courses at the Blumenthal, but he was looking for a space that would serve as more of a home for the Academy. “I’m a firm believer that if you get into that rhythm of looking for a space, the space comes to you,” he shares.