Question for the forum: How to measure progress?
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  1. #1
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    Default Question for the forum: How to measure progress?



    If you don't have time to watch the video, basically I want to know what are some ways DJ's can measure progress outside of the number of gigs they play (this is an especially poor metric when you're first starting out and not playing gigs).

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    I apologize for the shaky video as well. First time using the Youtube Capture app on my iPad Mini and I may have been shaking the table. (Note: I will pay the cleaning bill if you puke).

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    I'm confused: are you asking about success as far as popularity or skill or something else?

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    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksonic View Post
    I'm confused: are you asking about success as far as popularity or skill or something else?
    I suppose a bit of both really? Popularity = more gigs, more gigs = experience, experience = skill

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

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    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Crisis View Post
    I suppose a bit of both really? Popularity = more gigs, more gigs = experience, experience = skill
    popularity = skill, skill = experi.... wait.. what?

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    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    There are 4 levels of competence:

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    Can't get anywhere Unconscious Competence without going through the other 3 levels of competence.
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    Tech Mentor arsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Crisis View Post
    I suppose a bit of both really? Popularity = more gigs, more gigs = experience, experience = skill
    shouldn't it be the other way around?

    you have to have the skill to get gigs to have experience. then more experience will lead to more gigs and more gigs MAY/CAN lead to popularity.

    There are others out there are playing gigs that are still shitty. just saying
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    Tech Mentor matrick's Avatar
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    first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor DJSigma's Avatar
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    In terms of technical progress, it's difficult when you're a beginner, because a lot of beginners don't really know good from bad, or good from great. Being able to critique your own stuff is a skill in itself and one that takes time to develop.

    I think recording your mixes and listening back to them is a worthwhile thing to do. It's a bit like losing weight in a way - if you look at yourself every day as you're trying to lose weight, you don't see big differences, but if you compare a pic of you at the beginning to one of you 6 months down the line, you can clearly see the difference and it's the same thing with mixes, particularly as your "DJ's ear" improves and you become more critical of yourself.

    The things I listen for in other DJ's mixes are.....

    The 4 basic technical skills - Beat matching, phrase matching, levels and EQs. Also, overall sound quality too. I would say that the most common mistakes are related to phrase matching and that's largely because common equipment now has auto-sync and auto-levels, so because those things sound OK, the inexperienced DJ doesn't really notice that their phrase matching is messed up.

    Variation - A more experienced DJ will use variation in technique. For example, I listen to some beginner hip-hop mixes and they're often "no frills" mixes where the DJ just overlaps a few bars of each tune while taking the bass out of the outgoing track, which is fine, but that's all they do and they do it every time.

    Effects/scratching/loops etc. - Again, this stuff is easy to do at a basic level, but doing it well, doing it at the right times, getting the frequency right etc. is something that comes with experience. I've heard many a n00b mix that's packed full of effects, almost like the DJ thinks "well, I have all these effects so I might as well use them", rather than them thinking "does this actually sound good?" and again, what constitutes "good" changes as a DJ gets more experienced.

    Music knowledge/choice - Obviously, you can't really judge a DJ on their music choice that much (if at all I suppose), but depth/breadth of music knowledge does make a difference to me as a listener.

    So yeah, I think there's 2 ways to measure progress. Doing it yourself by recording your own mixes and listening back to them with a critical ear based on everything I've said above, then comparing older mixes to newer ones, and also, the feedback you get online, particularly from your peers.

    You mentioned gigs in your video and of course, if you're getting regular bookings then you must be doing something right, but I think it's also important to remember that being a great DJ doesn't necessarily mean you'll get gigs over a mediocre DJ. Getting gigs can be about socialising/networking, who you know, being in the right place at the right time, luck, your location, whether you play for free or undercut other DJs etc.

    I suppose it also depends what your goals are. When I started DJing, I wasn't thinking about playing gigs at all. I wanted to try and master the craft so I could make mixes that were as good as the ones I heard from other DJs. There was no Internet back then, so only a couple of people ever heard my mixes as I'd give them a copy on a tape, but that was fine. It wasn't really about that for me. I only started playing gigs when a friend of mine who's also a DJ got a gig and asked if I wanted to do it with him, then it kind of took off from there. Obviously a lot of DJs are gig-focussed and they went to get from "buying gear" to "playing gigs" as quickly as possible, and that leads to a lot of them rushing ahead too fast IMO.
    Last edited by DJSigma; 10-10-2013 at 09:37 AM.

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arsman View Post
    shouldn't it be the other way around?

    you have to have the skill to get gigs to have experience. then more experience will lead to more gigs and more gigs MAY/CAN lead to popularity.

    There are others out there are playing gigs that are still shitty. just saying
    True although the best way to learn is to play actual live gigs in my opinion. Just master the basics first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

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