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DJ lessons after 9 p.m.? This Mission DJ will teach you how to spin into the night

A DJ in a cap and headphones mixes tracks amidst a room full of vinyl records.
DJ Lamont Bransford-Young sets up DJ equipment to teach a student at Fingersnaps Media Arts on 20th Street in San Francisco. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

Most neon lights in the Mission beckon you to enter a local watering hole for a drink. But the electric blue sign in the window of Fingersnaps Media Arts instead invites you to “learn to DJ”—even at 9 p.m. on a Saturday. 

Inside a bright storefront filled with more than 5,000 records, glowing mixers and swirling light photography of his own making, DJ Lamont Bransford-Young can be found several nights a week swaying side-to-side with his headphones on, teaching students how to scratch, sample, juggle and cross-fade late into the night. Bransford-Young’s latest lessons start at 8 p.m. and conclude at 10 p.m.—although he has hosted classes that go as late as midnight for clients driving in from outside the city.   

The evening sessions are part of Bransford-Young’s personal mission to liven up San Francisco’s notoriously sleepy nightlife scene. 

A man wearing headphones speaks to a woman with red headphones in a studio setting with audio equipment.
Lamont Bransford-Young teaches Jeannie Yang to DJ at Fingersnaps Media Arts, a DJ storefront and studio in San Francisco's Mission District. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

“This is a major city,” he gripes. “I don't know why we don't have yoga classes at 10 o'clock at night!”

When not teaching “the art of the DJ mix,” he hosts “The Fingersnaps Salon” on KPOO, the West Coast’s oldest Black-owned radio station.   

While a music school for night owls might seem like an unconventional business choice, Bransford-Young hasn’t regretted opening the DJ studio on 20th and San Carlos streets after teaching private lessons in his Mission home for 15 years previously. 

“If you’re willing to come here to patronize, I want to be available to you,” Bransford-Young said. “I don’t want to turn down business because of time.”

Over the last five years—the storefront was closed for one year during the pandemic—Bransford-Young’s DJ studio has attracted countless curious passersby intrigued by the inviting “learn to DJ” sign. 

“People discouraged me about acquiring a space like this,” he said. “They thought it should be in a warehouse in East Oakland or West Oakland or in South San Francisco. But I wanted to be visible because I want to see the world. I want the world to see me.”

The draw of Bransford-Young’s classes is undeniable on a recent Saturday afternoon as dozens of passersby ogled the storefront, with one baseball-hatted dad even popping in with his argyle-vested preteen to ask, “Is this a record store?” 

“No, it’s a DJ store,” Bransford-Young replied.

“On no shit!”

And Bransford-Young beckoned him in.  

A wooden shelf filled with vinyl records, stereo equipment, books, and musical instruments against a blue wall.
DJ Lamont Bransford-Young keeps thousands of records at Fingersnaps Media Arts. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

While none of the thousands of 12-inch singles specifically designed for DJs and nightclubs are for sale, Bransford-Young doesn’t mind the inquiries—even if they interrupt a jam session.    

“It keeps me fulfilled the fact that people walk in,” he said. “It is my best marketing tool because people walk by all day.”  

And sometimes all night, too. Retired Caltrans engineer Bill Zanetich, who now performs under the stage name DJ BZ Snaps, heard the siren call of deejaying after seeing Fingersnaps’ blue neon sign one night while out to dinner in the Mission. The alluring signage and some egging on from his friends convinced him to sign up for a 10-week package of classes. Now after decades of working with his mathematical mind, he’s performing small gigs at local venues, like Mission Bowling Club and Casements, thanks to Bransford-Young.   

Two people operate a DJ mixing console with knobs and buttons; headphones lie in the background.
DJ Lamont Bransford-Young teaches Jeannie Yang to DJ by tapping along to the beat of a song. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

“[Lamont] said, ‘Yeah, you don't have to be trained musically. You just have to have a passion for music,’” Zanetich said. “I've never considered myself very creative, but he's really encouraging.”  

“There’s not another place like Fingersnaps,” added Whitney Harris, aka WHIT the DJ, who apprenticed with Bransford-Young while taking a 20-session course back in 2017. She credits Bransford-Young for helping her to become a full-time DJ. “That place is a labor of love, and I think you feel it when you walk in that space.” 

DJ lessons at Fingersnaps Media Arts, 3527 20th St., are by appointment Wednesdays through Saturdays from 2-4 p.m., 5-7 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. Lessons start at $100 for an hour. Visit to learn more.