WMC hits the Miami Beach Convention Center March 8 to 12

Believe it or not, there is indeed such a thing as party science. But you won't learn it by running the club circuit like a lab rat on double doses of Ritalin. If you really want to develop yourself into a certified master of the electronic music industry's means and methods, you'll have to hit the decks hard during Winter Music Conference 2011.

For 26 years, WMC has served a dual purpose. There are the all-night club orgies. And then there is the five-day crash course in — as the conference's official website puts it — "the advancement of the industry." No doubt you can partake in both the debauchery and the study session. Just be sure to keep your drugs in the club and your beat calculator in the classroom.

To enjoy the WMC educational experience, you'll need to pay $395 for last-minute online or walk-up registration. (It's steep, but you shouldn't have waited this long. You've already missed four deadlines.) Next, plot your own personal curriculum from the conference's full schedule of Q&As, seminars, panels, exhibits, and demos.

Start slow when class convenes this Tuesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center with a beat-matching battle hosted by ex-93 Rock jock Naughty Natalia and local Latin mixmaster Felix Sama. Later that afternoon, explore your inner feminist for the Women in Electronic Music panel before slinking off to fondle fresh, sexy geek gear such as STR8.150 turntables and Serato Video systems at the Stanton: Innovations in DJ Technology exhibit.

On Wednesday, though, get a serious dose of party science when the former vice prez of Napster and current CEO of massive online music purveyor Beatport, Matthew Adell, convenes with RM Entertainment Group's Bruno del Granado for a discussion about the music biz in the Internet age.

Of course, there's also the International Dance Music Awards at Dolce Ultra Lounge (1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) March 10, a night of fist-pumping glitz, glamour, and self-congratulations with cameos by Crystal Waters, Diplo, Mark Farina, and dozens of others. (Your $395 registration gets you one free pass. But if you wanna bring a buddy, you'll need to dig up another $45.) And then Saturday, the whole thing wraps with Closing Remarks with Paul Van Dyk, a keynote lecture by the well-respected German party professor.

Now it's all gonna be pretty intense. So don't forget to take copious notes, little lab rat. You do want that PhD in party science, right?

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S. Pajot