Best methods of practice
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard dishevel's Avatar
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    Default Best methods of practice

    Hey guys,

    So I've been hitting a brick wall lately (always) with my practicing and wanted to reach out to see if anyone would have helpful tips / perspective.

    Goals for my mixing usually entails getting in an hour's mix and/or coming out with a good idea for a future podcast.

    Usually I sit down, find a song I want to start with, and then start shuffling through my library and try to find something that mixes well with that song. I REALLY try to make my first mix strong (by my standards) and find myself never really finding that perfect that to mix in! I'll try 10 songs, which I usually have to stop and grid, and then get frustrated and quit.

    So I'm wondering what you guys will typically do when you sit down to make a mix.....any helpful ideas would be great.

  2. #2
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    If I 'm having trouble with a mix, I'll usually head over to beatport and listen to a couple tunes (maybe 20-30). If a good one hits me, well... we are back in the mood again!

  3. #3

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    Don't be so tough on yourself. Just go with the flow and remember that no mix is ever perfect. If you waste all of your time trying to perfect it, you'll never get in the groove. Work flow example: Pick 10 tracks you like. I try to go from lower energy ones to banging. Throw a weird (not sure where to mix it in) one around 6 or 7 then play the (I love it but not sure if the whole world does) at the end #10. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Moderator of Silly Walks Citizen_Insane's Avatar
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    I listen to music wayyy too much, so if I'm at the computer and think to myself "hmm song a would probably sound cool with song b" I make a note of it and leave it on my desktop, if not I just make a mental note and hope I remember...
    Either way I try it out the next time I mix and sometimes I find some really cool stuff, other times... complete shite.
    If I'm sitting down with the intent of making a mix (which hasn't happened often), I just make a list of current favourite tracks, listen to em all a few times and try to put them into some sort of order then go from there, tweaking as necessary.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by loverocket View Post
    Don't be so tough on yourself. Just go with the flow and remember that no mix is ever perfect. If you waste all of your time trying to perfect it, you'll never get in the groove. Work flow example: Pick 10 tracks you like. I try to go from lower energy ones to banging. Throw a weird (not sure where to mix it in) one around 6 or 7 then play the (I love it but not sure if the whole world does) at the end #10. Good luck.
    +1

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard dishevel's Avatar
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    awesome responses -- thanks for your thoughts guys!

  7. #7

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    plus - if you try and perfect a mix too much you lose the essence of what mixing is about - spontaneity.

    i prepare a mix in a similar fashion to what these guys described: build a playlist of songs i dig, then go in a build a little "story" or whatnot with the songs. if i'm planning on recording it to release it, i'll go ahead and set cue points of in/out spots.

    i know what you mean about making that first transition something special though. you have a lot of time to mix in the second track in a mix, get creative with it. i usually try and find a sample or something from the second track and mix it throughout most of the first, so the listener thinks it's part of the first track, and then by the time the second track is halfway in they're like "wait what is this one song or two?"

    and therein lies the beauty
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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Wuz's Avatar
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    I do not grid on the fly very often, I analyse and grid tracks when i add them to my collection. Doing this leaves me with a massive pool of tunes ready to mix and for me i basically sort by BPM then decide how fast i want to start, pick something i recognise or have a listen to some tracks to pick one then go from there (or search for intro )

    For me mixing trance and progressive this works really well well as i will decide to start from 127BPM up to 140BPM. I basically make my way down my collection slowly raising the BPM as necessary (or back track through the tunes ive gone through and see if something that didn't suit earlier might suit now)

    but basically if you know your sound/genre/artists fairly well and you dont usually go out of that comfort zone selecting tunes by BPM as an initial starting point works well.
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru Damien1138's Avatar
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    A couple things i do when practicing-
    1st - pick a bunch of tracks that you like. (30 or so)
    2nd- Play a set without programming it and go in and out of tracks as fast as possible. This will get you a general feel for all of the tracks
    3rd- play a new set with the same tracks, this time actually listening to the music and going for a ride. This will take significantly longer than your first playthrough. Record this session. If you start trainwrecking, deal with it in the moment and do not backspin out. This teaches you perseverance.
    4th- listen to the session. Ask yourself what instruments or sounds are dominant in the mix. Make a list of the 3 most dominant sounds you can hear excluding drums. I'm talking saxes, vocals (specific ranges. ie tenor, soprano, etc). Don't do anything with the list, but the act of making the list will keep you aware of the sounds when they pop up.
    5th- play a new session with the same 30 tracks. this time, keep your crate open incase inspiration hits you and you want to add tracks. record this and listen to it when done.
    6th- repeat 4th and 5th steps until you are happy with results.
    7th- When playing out, prepare an opening 3 tracks from the sessions you've been practicing, but keep your crate open and adapt to the crowd.
    8th- remember- Drugs and/or alcohol do not make you a better DJ
    9th- The prospect of sex, however, does.

    Hope this helps!
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru Ciar2001's Avatar
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    I buy tracks do mix, and this is the gods honest truth but nearly all my mixes are not prepared i don't built tracklists before mixes on top of that when that mix is done and released that will have been the first time those tracks have been mixed by me

    that's just me, a few pointers I find is chuck together the tracks you want first mix, then i find listening to it in the car at home wherever and just see if you can shuffle those tracks around for a better flowing feeling, I did this recently with a Deep Mix i was working on I can't quite get it right so scrapped it and did a Tech one instead, give it a week I will be back doing that, shuffling the tracks working out what fits best.

    one rune I do apply my mixes are usual an hour + or right length for a CD and I try to avoid mistakes in that hour, make sure it's EQ'd properly rarely peaking and never play tracks to fast past where they were released, aka Deep around 125-126 and Tech 128 that's how it works for me.

    Also try to use breakdowns or lifts to bring in new tracks, and maybe while track A is playing listen to track B in the headphones EQ it and run it for say 30 secs a minute just to see how well it really fits, sometimes I have found as much as I think a track fits are running them together in the headphones for 1 minute they don't due to excessive percussion or bass or you know what

    hopefully some of this is helpful.

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