Learning Your Tracks
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor rvltion909's Avatar
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    Default Learning Your Tracks

    So now more than with 12" I think it is easier to "learn" your tracks with easily created and labeled cue points but nothing is the same as jut KNOWING your tracks.

    That being said I've always wondered how big name traveling DJs to bedroom DJs learned their tracks. If you're buying 10+ tracks a week and you are a bedroom DJ with a day job and at least a 30min commute like me, then it's easy to burn them and listen to them in the car. I also listen to them while in the gym 3+ days a week for at least an hour.

    However...there are only so many hours in a day and DJs are constantly buying new material to stay fresh so after like one week its time for the next batch of new tracks to try to learn. I luckily have a mp3 car stereo that displays the track metadata so I can see the name and artist but listening in the gym Im not so lucky. If I wrote code I'd make an app. that used text to speech technology to read the name and artist before each track to help me learn.

    Its funny how the digital realm changes the subtle things too. Flipping through crates and associating tracks with images (covers) isn’t the same anymore (if at all). I know you've got the tiny little cover-art icons you can "flip" though in Traktor but its like, only 30% of the tracks consistently come with cover art (at beatport anyway). I know you can go and track them down and apply art to your files but hell...what a waste of time.

    Im sure there are MANY DJs out there (big name ones too) that dont really bother learning their tracks these days since it is SO easy to sync, mix, move on. Any interesting techniques you all use for learning your tracks?

  2. #2
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    I listen, I practice mixing at home, and honestly, gridding and cue-ing help me learn the tracks as I need to find the right points to put those cue points.

    But I buy music so quickly that I cycle through new music very swiftly unless it really grabs me, which these days seems to be rarer and rarer.
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  3. #3
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    Yea this is a problem also. I want to start cueing mine more as this has the added benefit of making mixing easier and will help with memorization.

  4. #4
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    I have my iPod sync with my playlist that I use to dj. what I do is dump all my new tracks in a new playlist and listen to them while working or driving. I think Chilly mentioned it in the past that he would listen to music while driving and he would want to mix out during the break of the song, I do the same thing.

    Mr 909 I do agree that alot of dj's esp. digital one dont scrub thru there music to setup up cue points and so on. I seen alot of traktor djs that dont even analyze there songs.
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  5. #5
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    one more thing that makes me learn tracks less is: mixed in key.
    It assigns keys to tracks and put its info in the track comment tag. Then selecting the right tracks becomes easier than before, chance that they will clash big time is greaaatly reduced.

    That said, my greatest shortcoming as a dj is that i don't know my tracks well enough, and im also puzzled how to tackle the problem efficiently.

    The only way for me to do a good set is to prepare a playlist and practice on that. Improvising and being sure it will go well is only possible if ive been mixing a selection of tracks for the whole week.

  6. #6
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    and, y'know, listening to music all the time
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  7. #7
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    I think tagging the hell out of your songs actually helps reinforce learning them - ie naming all your cue points, with how many beats there are in the intro, how long the drop is, how long the breakdown is, how long the second drop it, how long the outro is.

    Also dropping looping points helps give you a good idea of how how many beats are in each section of your track because you can visually see it which serves as a nice reminder when your mixing. Also the fact that you actually write all this information down reinforces the this into your mind - think of it like studying a book for a test, if your writing notes this helps you learn ALOT faster and ALOT more accuratly as opposed to just reading the book a couple times over.
    Last edited by BentoSan; 05-08-2009 at 02:56 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor kidfromkibbly's Avatar
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    I agree with everything said here, making yourself sit down and properly prepare your tracks is the best method for a digital DJ to know their track collection.

    I think it's better to consciously avoid the proliferation of music availble on the internet and limit yourself to keeping in your collection tracks which, as Dvls said, GRAB you.

    Vinyl Djs couldn't and generally still can't afford to go out and but 30 vinyls worth of new music a week. I think Digital DJs, especially amateurs like myself, need to keep some of that mentality of building a collection bit by bit so that one can be familiar with it as much as possible.

    Just my thoughts
    Last edited by kidfromkibbly; 03-19-2009 at 01:34 PM.
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  9. #9
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    yea I have noticed that when I get a lot of a songs at once I end up only using a few of them which is a bad thing, it is much better to get songs individually.

  10. #10
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    See, when I get a bunch of songs together I find myself using a few of them, but I can be very discerning in what I use. If I buy individual tracks I might miss out on something else that after a few listens might grab me more than the first pass through.
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