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Thread: After learning all the basics how did you learn how to dj?

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    After learning all the basics how did you learn how to dj?

    Apologies on if this sounds dumb but I've read the books like How to DJ right and watched videos to learn about the mechanics like beatmatching, phrasing w/e , Speed Test Scrabble Word Finder Solitaire but when I go to mix, sure I can get beats to line up, and get the phrasing right but the mix just sounds ok and I don't know how to improve further.

    For any of you that feel accomplished, how did you get feedback on your sets and/or continued to improve? Or are some of you all just naturals and had it from the get go?

    I have no other way of explaining this than, when I listen to other DJ sets they sound awesome, and then I listen to mine and even aside from all the mistakes it's missing something. I totally get that this gap is the skill and experience I'm lacking, but at this point I'm not sure how to figure out what to do next
    Last edited by Rameshsalvi; 11-05-2018 at 11:20 AM.

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    Member Daniel S's Avatar
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    Three Words... Practice, practice and practice.
    When I started DJing there was no internet, no online tutorials or communities and no mixcloud.

    The only times I heard DJs play live were at school dances and youth clubs. Some DJs were good some not so much. The really great mixing I heard from commercially available DJ mixes and megamixes, or from copies of copies of copies of mixtapes that I copied from friends. I tried to mimic what I heard on those recordings and spent many hours doing the same mixes over and over again until they matched what I heard on the mixes I tried to mimic.

    If you have the beatmatching and phrasing down, the next thing you need to focus on is timing and levels. Basically when to bring the new track in and how loud it should be. Some people will chime in and say to practice your eq-ing. I think that levels is way more important and if you get that right you won't need much eq-ing.

  3. #3
    Hi, probably the thing you feel that is missing is confidence. When someone is confident in their flow, you can feel it/hear it.

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    New Member BDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rameshsalvi View Post
    how did you get feedback on your sets and/or continued to improve? Or are some of you all just naturals and had it from the get go?

    I totally get that this gap is the skill and experience I'm lacking, but at this point I'm not sure how to figure out what to do next
    Quote Originally Posted by dlove View Post
    Hi, probably the thing you feel that is missing is confidence.
    Yes, confidence is a huge part in everything. Unfortunately, to become truly comfortable and confident in your abilities, it will take many hours of practice and playing in front of a crowd.

    But you raise an interesting point: let's assume you have perfected all the skills and execute sets flawlessly - what then, is the difference between you and another excellent DJ?

    I think it's creativity. All things being equal - the intangible is the ability to think differently than everyone else.

    Ultimately, given enough time and resource, any skill can be learned. You cannot teach creativity.
    Music is magic. It can alter mood and evoke vivid memories. It is with you through your darkest times and brightest moments. Its effects are boundless.
    And all that power that is within music... I can control with these two hands.

  5. #5
    ^^ yes, and creativity comes once you're out of 'survival mode'; confident and relaxed in 'creative mode'.

  6. #6
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel S View Post
    Three Words... Practice, practice and practice.
    Quote Originally Posted by dlove View Post
    Hi, probably the thing you feel that is missing is confidence.
    I agree with both of these. I suggest combining the two by recording a 60 minute mix weekly, each time with new tracks. Treat it is a gig by starting the recording and not stopping until after that 60 minute mark - meaning no editing, etc.

    After you have the recording, listen to it at least 3 times throughout next week. You'll notice things that you'll want to work on in the next mix session. Rinse and repeat. Once a month, listen to a prior week's recording. You'll notice things that you missed. Incorporate those things into the next mix too.

    After a while, you'll have a nice set of recordings that document your improvement over time. It's really fun to listen to those years later.

    When you want a challenge, use new music that you don't know yet. Other challenges include jumping genres. Another challenge is to cycle the BPMs. There's always something new to learn.
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by KLH View Post
    I agree with both of these. I suggest combining the two by recording a 60 minute mix weekly, each time with new tracks. Treat it is a gig by starting the recording and not stopping until after that 60 minute mark - meaning no editing, etc.

    After you have the recording, listen to it There's always something new to learn.
    I also agree with the record everything from start to finish without stopping, however my idea of listening is a much shorter shelf life. Mix one day, listen the next day and mix again the next day.

    I learned that way. That immediate feedback will start off with obvious mistakes that you can iron out after awhile. Then once you do this a lot you can focus in on the much smaller mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel S View Post
    Three Words... Practice, practice and practice.
    I think that levels is way more important and if you get that right you won't need much eq-ing.
    This. I worked as a sound engineer for many years. The guy who trained me always said that it was novices who reached for the EQ first. He said "It's like pool. Your gain and fader are like the direction and power of your shot. EQ is adding spin. If you don't get the gain and levels right, the spin is just going to make things worse".
    TBH I would say levels are even more important than mixing. Audience will forgive a messed up mix pretty easily. But play a track at too low a level, or clipping, for more than about 5/10 secs and you can kill a whole vibe. It can be tough to come back from that more than once.

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  10. #10
    Epic sets are all about what tracks you pick, and yea you have to mix them well.. but half of mixing them well is picking them well.
    Modern controller software and modern CDJ's make it super easy to beatmatch anything with anything, but that doesn't mean it's a good set. It's all about the tracks.

    My advice would be.. be BRUTAL when it comes to picking your tracks.. they have to be great tracks individually, they have to hang together in the set.. and they have to FLOW together. Track "A" may not go after track "B" no matter how bad you want it to. Your set should have a natural progression from one track to the next to the next... The same 20 tracks placed in one order may be epic but placed in a different order could be a total fail. I can't tell you the number of times I've started out being absolutely sure I wanted to play certain tracks and then in the end not played those tracks at all because they did not fit. Then there were times I had just ONE track I loved so much I had to play it.. but it was so different from everything else I was currently playing that I had to start from zero and FIND all new tracks to go around that one track.. just to make a set where I could play that one track.
    Last edited by light-o-matic; 11-06-2018 at 11:02 AM.

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