Apprenticing/Mentoring/Trainspotting tips
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  1. #1

    Default Apprenticing/Mentoring/Trainspotting tips

    So, I've been in audio and music for a while. I went to school for it. I know my digital audio technology, my music theory, etc... music and audio has been my life for the past 15 years.

    So now I'm getting into DJing with TCVs. I have been self teaching with youtube videos, etc... and it's going pretty well because I'm not starting from scratch.

    However, everything I've read and even common sense tells me I can fast track the learning process by finding a DJ mentor. (Isn't this how DJs used to get into it in the "Good 'ole days?") I just want to watch what someone has been in the business for years does, to get gigs, prep a set, keep a crowd pumped, deal with promoters, owners, etc. Essentially I just wana shadow someone and trainspot em at gigs and whatnot.

    But it seems like nobody is really interested in letting a learner tag along.

    As DJs have any of you ever taken on an apprentice? What makes it attractive/unattractive to you? What would you want in return, or how could the apprentice provide a beneficial service to you so that you would welcome the opportunity?

  2. #2
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    i have both been the apprentice and mentor. learning what you can from someone who has been around the block a few times is invaluable experience, and i always get a buzz helping people out any way that i can.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru funke's Avatar
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    I have a friend that comes by every now and then and I let him practice on my gear because he can't afford his own. He gets instant feedback from me, and I get a few good laughs out of the deal.(he would try to start on the second or third beat and could never figure out why the tracks wouldn't line up till I told him to start on the first) I never had anyone teach me, so I made mistake after mistake, and it took me forever to figure out what works and what doesn't. Don't get me wrong, you still need to practice, but a mentor will definitely help point you in the right direction.
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    Tech Guru funke's Avatar
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    And I say I laughed because he reminded me of myself when I first started, not cause I'm a jerk. I just wanted to clarify that.
    Toshiba Satellite Windows 8.1, TSP2, Audio 10, Audio 2, 2x Technics 1200 MKII, Pioneer DJM-707, Midi Fighter Spectra, Kontrol X1, Behringer CMD PL-1

  5. #5
    Tech Guru funke's Avatar
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    Do you know any local djs? If not, I would just make yourself a regular at the local shows and make friends with the djs and owners. Ask if you can hang out in the booth and watch (as long as you stay out of the way and don't talk to the dj while he's trying to cue up a track.) I would recommend practicing for at least a year or two on your own time or until you can play for a few hours without making a mistake, before even asking if you can take a whack at it. (My friend always leaves with a big head after I teach him a few tricks and he thinks hes ready to rock a show, when I know he's not because he hasn't put the time in) Don't be that guy.
    Toshiba Satellite Windows 8.1, TSP2, Audio 10, Audio 2, 2x Technics 1200 MKII, Pioneer DJM-707, Midi Fighter Spectra, Kontrol X1, Behringer CMD PL-1

  6. #6

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    Hey guys thanks for the responses. It wasn't quite the answer I was looking for in my original post though. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so there's plenty of succesful DJs to learn from here.

    I was more interested in knowing what a DJ would want to hear from an aspiring apprentice. I would think there are a lot of DJs who aren't as amiable to teaching as djfunke. These people are busy, they have day jobs, etc.

    My girlfriend has a couple successful DJ friends in the area, and so she thought it wasn't a bad idea if she asked for me, since she knew them. But nobody was interested....

    So I'm wondering if they think they have to sit down and basically give me lessons, which is not what I'm asking for. Basically the DJ wouldn't have to do anything extra or different except let me watch them.

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor DJSigma's Avatar
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    I think you just need to find that "certain type of person". Some DJs just don't want to share what they know for whatever reason. Valid reasons for not wanting an apprentice are that at some point, you're going to be in the market for the same jobs as the person teaching you (and this is especially why people may not want to share contacts, promoter info and so on), plus some people may feel that it's gonna take a lot of time and that you might be asking all kinds of questions and wanting loads of hands on time on their equipment - I know the latter is not true in your case, but the DJs may not know that, or they may think "yeah, he says that, but once he gets round to my house things will be different".

    Having taught a couple of people, the only thing I look for in an apprentice is passion and a feeling that they're doing it for what I consider are the right reasons. The "right reasons" are that you're passionate about music and the art of DJing. I've got no interest in helping people who want to DJ because "they think it's cool", or those that just want to find the simplest route from A to B so they can get gigs and not really put any effort in.

    Basically, if it was an aspiring hip-hop DJ I would ask them the following: -

    Who are some of your favourite DJs?
    Why do you want to learn to be a DJ?

    And that would almost certainly tell me all I need to know. If they answered "Pauly D" and "cos it's cool man!" then the chance of me teaching them anything would be zero, lol.
    Last edited by DJSigma; 11-19-2011 at 12:04 PM.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru Cook's Avatar
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    I was an apprentice for about a year before i started playing out, i got to do some mixing when it was quiet and when he went out for a fag (UK smoking laws), then we eventually turned into a double act )

    Still dont have a tenth of the contacts he does, and he always ends up in the DJ booth party at gigs, Richie hawtin, laidback luke, and afrojack to name a few
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