STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A DJ for more than 25 years, Frank Jaconetti, 46, was brought to tears when he saw two of his students — both of whom have special needs and are nonverbal — perform “like rockstars” in front of a crowd at a recent recital he held for his first class of student disc jockeys.

“The kids with special needs humble me. They made me appreciate everything. The night of the first recital, I had to hold back crying on stage,” he said of his recently launched business, “DJ Lessons with DJ Frankie J.”

“I had two kids who are nonverbal, and they were jumping around and mixing it up on stage. They were in the spotlight, and people were cheering for them. To see their parents’ faces looking at them like they were rockstars meant everything to me,” added Jaconetti, who said the DJ school is a new arm to his existing business, DJ Frankie J Productions, Inc.

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Launched in April, Jaconetti found himself in the business of teaching kids and teens how to be a DJ when a friend asked if he could give lessons to her nephew.

“She asked if I could teach her nephew some DJ skills because she felt it would boost his confidence being in front of a crowd,” said Jaconetti, a Grasmere resident who also has been a city Sanitation Department supervisor for almost 10 years.

After working with the youngster, Anthony Coppola, for a year, not only did he gain confidence, he also turned out to be a “great DJ,” said Jaconetti. “Nine months later he’s one of my DJs.”

He teamed up with Bloom Marketing NYC to launch DJ Lessons with DJ Frankie J, which offers DJ lessons to anyone from age 8 to adults.

“Within minutes of a social media post (about the business) I had 15 calls from parents who were interested for their children,” said Jaconetti.

DJ Lessons with DJ Frankie J quickly became an in-demand business. And since he had so many students at the launch, he decided to host a DJ recital for his students so they could show off their new skills.

“I love how the kids respond to the music. Seeing them open up and be involved in something they enjoy is very rewarding,” said Jaconetti.

And soon after Jaconetti launched “DJ Lessons with DJ Frankie J,” he started working with children and teens with special needs, and decided to add a component to his businesses focused on working with students with developmental disabilities.

How he teaches

Although he has been a DJ for more than 25 years, Jaconetti said he took time to develop his teaching skills. He also has several locations around the borough, including Paradise Island in Tottenville, where he gives lessons.

“I went online and downloaded a bunch of different programs, and got ideas for different ways to teach. I bought some training materials, and did a lot of research until I came up with a six page syllabus,” he said.

“I’m outgoing, patient, understanding and able to make connections with the kids,” said Jaconetti. “I love watching the kids smile, open up and enjoy the lessons.”

While some of his students want to become professional disc jockeys, others just enjoy working behind a turntable, singing on the microphone and “feeling the music.”

“We have all the units and laptops open, and everything is hands-on. … With some students I actually get into the mixing, beat matching and everything like that. Other students just want to hear the music, and maybe speed it up a little bit or slow it down,” said Jaconetti. “It’s just something else they can appreciate and do, and honestly for me, I love these kids. I really enjoy working with them and seeing their potential.”

Working with those who have special needs

Jaconetti said he particularly enjoys working with his students who have special needs.

“I’ve been deejaying and volunteering for the Grace Foundation for many years, and I’ve worked with special needs kids my whole life. Growing up there was a group home across the street, and my parents would encourage me go over there and volunteer,” he said.

© 2023 Staten Island Advance
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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