from 'ox' to 'Auxiliary'...Teaching dejaying with Chicago's After School Matters

Summer of 2016, along with B. Gorman I had the distinct pleasure of teaching a dj course via After School Matters and The Marion Stamps Youth Center. We had a good group of students...they all participated and did a great job in learning and practicing the art & craft of dejaying. In this post I would just like to take time to highlight one thing.

On day one before going into anything about the art, craft, disiciplines or history of dejaying I spoke to my class about stereo jacks. There appears to be some kinda trend in calling the stereo output of smart phones and smart devices 'aux' outs and saying "aux" cords which sounds like 'ox' cord and when I first experienced someone asking me if I had an 'ox' cord it annoyed me. I get it...on the box or in the back of the mixer or somewhere on some device you saw the abbreviated print for Auxiliary "aux" and it was decided to pronounce the shortened abbreviation of the word. Well if you go back a few years and imagine bringing additional equipment to a set because someone is performing or just imagine playing a set and having never been told that there would be a performance and you use turntables and artist & 'managers' start walking up interupting you to ask if you could play a scratched up cd that they have been carrying in their pocket for 5 months or some singer is 'inquiring' about 'reverb' & 'phantom' power for their mic and then low & behold here comes some hotshot that thinks they are hip and ahead of the curve and they ask if you have an "OX" cord...get the f*ck outta here with that sh*t!!! LMAO!!! Believe me it has happened.

Anyway back to my class...with those experiences in the back of my mind and having a classroom of young teen minds in front of me, I decided to further educate them from the very beginning of this 6 week Summer ride we were all about to embark on together. After breifely talking about the input and output and the 3.5mm (1/8) jacks, I explained that 'aux' is the abbreviation of auxiliary and showed them where it said 'aux' on my mixer and how the cables connect and the different 1/8 to rca cables and 1/8 to 1/4 adapters used for headphones etc. etc. But the main point was to 'expalin' to them what "Aux" was and give them a better understanding. My explaination was met with a room full of "oh okay" "I get it" "so that's what that is" and "okay cool".

I was happy and B. Gorman and I moved forward from that point. I was happy but I was never more happy than 3 weeks later when our class got the task to dj for the Youth Center's outdoor team building block party. There were games and jumping stations and activities and our class got a chance to dejay. They did a great job and during the event they got a real life dj experience because there was a Zumba instructor who no one told us was coming that needed to play music and of course wanted to use their phone and play the music through our system. The Zumba instructor walked up while our students were mixing and asked if they had an "Ox" cord for her phone. I happened to be standing nearby and I began fielding her request because though it was a good experience, I didn't want her to break up my students flow. However, to my surprise and delight one of my students quickly, quietly & politely said "do you mean 'Auxiliary' cord ? " And when her classmates heard her say "auxiliary" they sprung into action and began looking for and found our mini stereo 1/8 to rca cord and we were able to plug the phone into the mixer and play the music and accomodate this portion of the program.


For the remaining 3 weeks the entire class took great pride in saying 'auxiliary' instead of "ox" and knowing that they had learned something and saw their knowledge put to use.  

Over the course of the entire 6 weeks the class used turntables, vinyl, cd players, controllers, and learned how to use Serato (Intro & DJ) but though it may seem like a small peeble in the bigger pond of dejaying I thought that their evolution from 'ox' to "Auxiliary" was pretty big and worth noting because it showed capcity for understanding and the ability to put that sidenote of a lesson to actual use. I hope they spread the word to all of their friends and schoolmates and I hope that in the future none of my Dejay colleagues run into the situation of being asked for an "ox" cord.



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