Becoming a better DJ - improving one's skills.
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Becoming a better DJ - improving one's skills.

    Hello.

    I've already read some threads here about what makes a good DJ, and some of the technical skill-sets that one requires.

    This is my current process -

    Track selection (usually takes a few hours for me to find the right tracks that sound good together to go into a set) based on harmonic-mixing.
    Find the best transition points between tracks and make cue-points where required.
    Phrase-matching (connected to transition points).
    Beat-matching.
    EQ levels when transitioning.
    And if need be, the odd sample and effect mixed in the right place.

    Also record practice sets with the intention of making them flawless.

    I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but what other technical or non-technical aspects do you recommend from experience in order to improve?

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    That process is fine. Now that you've got a process that you're happy with, just practice, practice, practice.

    Your first step (Track selection (usually takes a few hours for me to find the right tracks that sound good together to go into a set) based on harmonic-mixing) can be replaced/complimented with an informal "jam" or practice session.

    And don't forget, when you actually perform the set/mix, some of those transition points may change... Just roll with it.
    Last edited by Patch; 10-23-2013 at 09:04 AM.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru johney's Avatar
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    yes ^ just jam around imo

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard JBang's Avatar
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    Just to echo what other's have said, your process is good, but now you want to be able to adapt. When planning a set, I would only plan the first few songs.

    In a real DJ situation, you're going to be reading the crowd and your song selection should be in response to them. If the energy isn't there, then maybe you want to go in a different direction or keep things relatively calm. But if you see people reacting positively to the music, then keep going, bringing the energy up and potentially making quicker transitions, and seeing how it goes.

    You gotta be dynamic, and learn not to be so set in your process and song selection.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBang View Post
    Just to echo what other's have said, your process is good, but now you want to be able to adapt. When planning a set, I would only plan the first few songs.

    In a real DJ situation, you're going to be reading the crowd and your song selection should be in response to them. If the energy isn't there, then maybe you want to go in a different direction or keep things relatively calm. But if you see people reacting positively to the music, then keep going, bringing the energy up and potentially making quicker transitions, and seeing how it goes.

    You gotta be dynamic, and learn not to be so set in your process and song selection.
    ^ Exactly why I'm hesitant about making playlists. I'll just get a grouping of songs that I think would be nice and just pick a song at random during the jam session. Some transitions really suck but some surprise me.

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor sicnarf033's Avatar
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    also when practicing, its better to be doing it 20-30 minutes a day rather than 2 hours for one week; if that makes sense. playing around lets you know what works and what doesn't. when it comes to live show, you'll know what to do then and from there, you can have fun.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Ross's Avatar
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    Be flexible with that process. Setting cue points for transitions won't help you feel the flow of a tune I don't think.
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  8. #8
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    Ross I don't agree with your second point. Because I listen to the tracks first to see how the tune flows, and then based on the flow I have an idea as to when to transition. So it's not random but based on feeling. Sure it's not set in stone or the end of the world if it changes somewhat. Anyway it's all good, I have no desire to stop practising.

  9. #9
    Tech Wizard flpanhandler's Avatar
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    Personally, I take all of my tunes, once they are keyed and analyzed, and label them in comments. Usually these labels have 2-3 words descriptions including upbeat, roller, vocal, instrumental, hardstep, etc. Basically give it max of 3 words to describe. Then when I am mixing, I use the search functions in Traktor or Serato to pull files matching similar descriptions. That way I can keep the energy moving, and odds are there will be a difference in several of those tracks that allow me to move in a different direction. Kind of like the choose your own story type books where one thing has several different options for what would be next. To me this makes it easy to flow without doing a ton of searching, and it keeps me from using playlists and being locked into sets that sound the same. Oh and practice practice practice.
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flpanhandler View Post
    Personally, I take all of my tunes, once they are keyed and analyzed, and label them in comments. Usually these labels have 2-3 words descriptions including upbeat, roller, vocal, instrumental, hardstep, etc. Basically give it max of 3 words to describe. Then when I am mixing, I use the search functions in Traktor or Serato to pull files matching similar descriptions. That way I can keep the energy moving, and odds are there will be a difference in several of those tracks that allow me to move in a different direction. Kind of like the choose your own story type books where one thing has several different options for what would be next. To me this makes it easy to flow without doing a ton of searching, and it keeps me from using playlists and being locked into sets that sound the same. Oh and practice practice practice.
    Same, but I also add a line saying "goes with XXXX" so I can just search for "goes with" and I've got a list of track that go with others!
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