Newbie speedbumps
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  1. #1
    Tech Student
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    Default Newbie speedbumps

    I am new to mixing/DJing and have hit a snag. I have a s2/traktor and am pretty familiar with how they work, but i dont know where to go from here. All the tech stuff aside, i am not sure how to practice mixing. What do you do to just practice techniques or even know what song you want to play with next...? Just feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all i suppose...

  2. #2
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    Youtube is your friend.

    Look at this guys beginner tutorials -

    ellaskins DJ tutor

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor rdale's Avatar
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    Set up your practice time two ways.

    First concentrate on building a set list that has direction that is at least one hour to get thru and go over the mixes repeatedly until you feel you can nail it. I mean you are working the mix the way you want, record it so you can listen later, record the next attempt and so on until you get comfortable mixing a programmed set with the effects and tricks you want. Pay attention to why these songs work, how the ebb and flow of the energy level of the set goes, make every song one you love so that you will want to hear them a bunch.

    Second, when you are bored of hearing the same music over and over, play with mixing the next thing you want to hear. Don't worry about the faults but how to correct them quickly. No need to go back over it and do it again or practice bits and pieces. Apply what you learned in the structured set to these new mixes. I rarely record these sessions, but just enjoy them while they are happening or quit because I'm not feeling it.

    The third thing to do is repeat step one until you have a few play lists that you know work. You can have something to build on if you are playing by picking and choosing sections of each playlist. You can move between sections of things you know work, and the next tune you want to play until you are much better at song selection.

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor crakbot's Avatar
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    People here will argue the pros and cons, but I highly suggest you "key" all your songs and make sure you mix harmonically if just starting out. It will train your ear if you have no musical background and it will give you a direction as to what song to choose next.

    I know guys are going to say it limits your choices and the right song to play next is not always in key, but you need to train your ear and understand basic musical concepts.

    As for practice, I say keep it short at first. Start with 30 minutes then take a break and either listen to the mix or just think back to what worked and what didn't. Then try again. Remember to experiment and have fun during practice. For me, practice is to discover new ways to mix up parts, not to be perfect. I think the only time your practice should be focused on perfection is if you are working on a set routine.

    But HAVE FUN! Maybe just load up that first song and don't touch anything, just listen and get into the groove first before you start turning knobs and thinking about the next song.

  5. #5

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    I don't know whether or not Jonathan a.k.a. ellaskins has mentioned this, if he has, then I'll repeat it here shortly for the emphasis of importance:

    Know the tracks you are playing! Even though digital DJing will help you out with showing you the waveform, it's just an orientation kind of thing. You not only have to know e.g. when you expect the beat to be cut in the track - because that is what you see from the waveforms - but also how it sounds like (low-frequent? many high frequencies? are long pads or does a lead synthesizer play?) and how long it will last (so you can decide when's the time to mix in the other track). It's vital.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the informative resposes! Ill keep it all in mind and put them to good use next time i hop on the decks!

    I have definatly been thinking about keying my library, seems logical to me. Does that program "mixed in key" work well? (is it worth paying for?)

  7. #7
    Tech Guru BradCee's Avatar
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    when i was learning (many moons ago on vinyl) i practiced by recording myself every time i played, i would try to fill one side of a 90 min tape (said it was a lot of moons) without making a mistake. i'd then listen to it back on the way to school to see what i needed to improve and how, rethink mixes between tracks etc...
    (i guess the equivalent today is try to record a 45 min - hour mp3)

    on the playlist side of things, try and keep reasonably consistent in the order you play, it will help aide practice - i would play the same 15/20 tracks in the same order for a week.
    when buying new tracks, only add 5 new tracks to your collection per week at the most to begin with, you'll find yourself weaving them into the current list easier, and as you'll be adding a low number of tracks, getting to know each inside out will be easier too.
    start small, start simple, be consistent

    Win 7 / 2x Reloop Contour / Numark M6 /Traktor Pro 2.5
    SoundCloud

  8. #8
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    hey buddy. i am kind of at the same stage as you. i got an s4 and jumped right into all the tech stuff of traktor, but had been kind of putting off mixing. i've only really got into it the past couple of weeks - after asking a similar question to yours in this good forum of kindhearted djs.

    well, the best advice i got is 'just do it'. practise makes perfect

    i have a crate in traktor of about 100 tracks that i like at the moment. i've gone thru maybe about half of em. I load up a track in deck A and let it play a bit - adding some hotcues for later, make sure the grid is good. then load up something in deck b, quickly autogrid and check it, find the drop or try fading it in with some filter/eq tweaks. maybe it sounds awesome, maybe it sounds shite! but each new track i play and mix is bringing me one step closer to 'getting it'. rinse, repeat for a few hrs each day.

    more good advice - record every thing you do. that is what i'm trying to do :P


    if you wanna share some mixes or tips/tricks via email/pm, lemme know

  9. #9
    Tech Guru MYE's Avatar
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    I just select a track and start djing thats how i practise sometimes i will practise for an hour, two hours one time i was djing for six hours and i didn't even realise it
    Techno Producer and Dj//Upcoming releases on Discovery Records and other labels//Australia//https://soundcloud.com/mrmye

  10. #10

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    These are all great tips, but on the learning your music thing, every time you get new music, put it on your ipod. Listen to it as you work around the house and just get a feel for each song. Once you know each song inside and out, take them off and put on the next few. This way youll also be able to sort of test them, play them when your chilling with friends, or when your driving to the movies. Pay attention to the mood different songs set on people.
    On the practice note, all I can say is have fun. Don't be too worried about making the perfect mix for your soundcloud, develop your own style and crazy little techniques and then when you drop back to simple things itll all seem easier.
    (I might catch some flak for that last tip but you need to give your audience something different, give them a reason to listen to you instead of the thousands of other djs out there)

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