Music

Meet the next generation of DJs: kids create dance music at Halifax library

Make your own dance music workshop open to kids as young as five

Laney Hamblin (right) and her sister learn to make dance music at the Halifax Central Library.   Tunde Balogun

Kids wearing headphones, tapping on iPads and bobbing their heads to music. This was the scene at the Halifax Central Library on Sunday.

Children, aged five to 12, produced electronic dance music, using iPads and editing software, as part of the free Make your own Dance Music workshop. All of the equipment was provided by the library.

Listening to her newly made track, seven-year-old Laney Hamblin said she and her sister had a good time making music with the app.

“I just used the sounds that they had,” said Laney, when asked how she was able to make such a funky song.

Laney’s mom, Christine Hamblin, was pleasantly surprised with how much her daughters learned about music production.

“The music they came up with, the layers of music they got, the base, beat and all these other instruments layered on top, they wouldn’t be able to do this at home on their own. So this is amazing,” said Hamblin.

Josh Lake, a media librarian at Halifax Central, has been making music for over 20 years. He started this workshop last March to teach kids how to produce music with easy-to-use technology.

“Anyone can do it, at any age … That’s the main thing with this program,” said Lake. “You’re having fun right away and you’re making music instantly. There’s no high learning curve.”

Media librarian Josh Lake is teaching kids how to be a DJ at the Central Library.   Tunde Balogun

He said he’s able to teach kids challenging instruments, such as the bass guitar and grand piano using an iPad app, because its designed in a way never to play a wrong note.

Hamblin registered her daughters in the workshop because she wanted to give them a different experience with music.

“I saw this in the list of courses and it sounded amazing to me, but you never know if your kids are gonna like it,” she said. “But, Laney my youngest, was sitting there dancing in her chair, smiling and giving the thumbs up to her sister. It was really cute.”

After they were finished, the kids were able to download their music to listen to it later.

The next Make Your Own Dance Music workshop is scheduled for March 14 at the Halifax Central Library.