There are no short cuts when it comes to DJ’ing well. Infact there’s no short cuts to become great at anything! The only way to become a great DJ, is to spend the time and practice.
So many people are constantly asking for track lists or even my entire collection lists. They want a short cut to finding decent music!
By looking for tracks this way, you’re creating a short cut that is stifling your own DJ creativity.
Being a DJ is about bringing music to others, that you have curated in a loving and passionate way. It is the opening of your soul, the exposing of your tastes and the the definition of who you are as a DJ.
By simply asking others for their track lists you are cheating yourself out of building experience and instead of defining your own sound, are simply mimicking others. This might feel like a safe place, but it only serves to keep you tied down and stuck, forever relying on guidance from others in regards to musical tastes.
Trust your own inner choices and go find the music that truly pulls you in and means something to you. Be unique and forge your own path.
Harmonic Mixing Software
Whilst this has been the choice of many a DJ and lots of articles are written in favour of this kind of software, using it can once again limit your own talent.
By using ‘keying’ software you are switching off your musical ear and relying on a computer to do your job.
Using this kind of software might teach you what song’s harmonize well with one another and how they ‘should’ sound together, but using this kind of software exclusively, is restricting your ears. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Make sure you LISTEN to your music. Figure out in your own head if it goes together. Sometimes it doesn’t even need you to think about it, you can feel it instantly as you cue something up in the headphones. You think, “Euuuw, that sounds terrible!” and you pick another track!
Whilst Syncing is an exceptional opportunity to become more creative and to drop the focus of mixing from beat-matching, to perhaps more dynamic mixes that are punctuated with effects, loops, builds and layers; the essence of DJ’ing stemmed from the ability to mix two tracks together in time.
Using the sync button in not a crime and it’s certainly something I encourage you all to do. However, it can be misused as a shortcut.
By not learning how to manually beatmatch, you are once again limiting yourself and setting yourself up to be a lesser DJ.
Imagine walking into a party with some turntables set up and you can just grab a record or CD and play an hours impromptu set. That’s the kinda talent you want to own!
If you’re at a party where you have a chance to jump on the decks and you’re asking someone where the sync button is, you’re in trouble!
Likewise, if you are an old school DJ, learn how to use the new stuff, you don’t want to appear flummoxed at the site of a laptop, iPad or midi controller. By sticking to what you know, is also taking a short cut. Learn it all, know your stuff!
Take the Time to Refine Your DJ Skill Set
Seriously! It’s not hard, you just need to be devoted! We all love shortcuts, but when it comes to becoming proficient at a skill or playing a musical instrument, nothing trumps practice.
Stop kidding yourself and trying to get to the top by skipping the studying or copying someone else’s paper, you’ll only fall flat on your face, setting yourself back to the beginning.
Do it properly the first time, it takes work and determination to shine in an industry so diluted with wannabes.
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