Structure for DJ Lessons.
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru DubluW's Avatar
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    Default Structure for DJ Lessons.

    Good Day all.

    I am in the Military and as such run club nights, events and general get togethers for the base i am on. Any particular section (MT, Armoury, Flying Sqns etc) generally have their own bar as it's good for morale, funding for their section etc.

    Our bar runs the best bar on the camp by far. A couple of our lads run a cheap (Read- extraordinarily cheap!) bar and i provide the Music with my sound-system and DJ kit/Lasers/camo nets. It's a good setup and regularly draws in a large number.

    I've been asked a lot recently by people who would like Lessons in DJ'ing. Instead of Hamfisting a DJ lesson i would like to construct a lesson plan and course program covering about 4 weeks total.

    I have a good sound system and equipment to cover a lot of bases in the basics of beatmatching, phrase matching and use of effects as well the use of the various different mediums available.

    What i would like from the more experienced members amongst you is a structure to a properly formed DJ lesson. What would you consider vital points to project to someone who hasn't DJ'ed before? How would this be formatted and presented?

    I am extremely proficient in the instruction of my military duties. As such i like getting things right the first time and would like some input from people who are more experienced from the forum to highlight some things that would seem pertinent/Vital to constructing DJ lessons from scratch. I can format these inputs into a lesson plan to project to the people who want to learn to mix etc

    Lastly. There is no money changing hands here so it's not a factor! A few free beers is my only payment from these guys/gals and thats all i ask for. I love mixing and DJ'ing for the atmosphere and vibe it creates, rather than the science people apply to it far too often these days. To that end i just want to teach people the basics of mixing and having a laugh whilst doing it.


    Any and all help appreciated.
    A+H DB4, Technics 1210's x2, F1, X1MK2 x2, MaschineMk2, Akai LPK 25, MF3D, XDJ-1000 x2.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    I would base the lesson plans off "How to DJ Right" if it were me, maybe adding some of the newer things you can do incorpoating maschine (if that fits your style).

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor DeanOakley's Avatar
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    The starting point for me wouldn't even involve the equipment, it would just be about the music and how it's structured; beats, bars, phrases, etc.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DubluW View Post
    What would you consider vital points to project to someone who hasn't DJ'ed before? How would this be formatted and presented?
    I have taught similar classes to local DJs to "fill in the gaps." So, I always start from the ground up and some of this may be review for them.

    PA System Basics:

    IF they will have ANY responsibilities for setting up, or even turning on the sound system.... I would begin with an overview of the PA system. Basic interconnection of the music source, mixer, effects, amps, and cabinets. The different cable, the different connections, how to test and diagnose common problems. Even a read through of the "Troubleshooting" section of the manual would be helpful. Include something on setting up gain structure, and cover ALL the "under the table" controls that they might need to alter or check. Include a discussion of how to make common connections from a CD player, or stereo receiver, or an iPhone, or a laptop into the PA system.

    Getting Music:

    Talk about obtaining and processing music. If original CDs or vinyl are what is used, you may be able to stop there. Maybe mention something about cleaning and storage. If a laptop will be used, I would mention wav, mp3 (including bitrates), FLAC, and any other formats of interest. Walk them trough ripping CDs, tagging, setting a gain level, setting bpm, gridding (as appropriate), and burning "mix CDs". Talk about reliable places to purchase digital music. Talk about music management strategies, the use of tags, playlists, smart playlist (from iTunes), etc. Talk about backups of a digital music library!!!!!

    Have them go process some of their music using this new information. If CD based, they need to get the bpm of several dozen tracks. If computer, they should "process" several dozen tracks and update the tags to include all the necessary information.

    Talk about common music editing tools to trim long intros, change bpm, build in loop-able sections for easier beatmixing, etc. Audacity is all that is needed.

    General Music Theory:

    Talk about general music structure, 4/4 time, 8 bar phrases, counting beats, counting bpm, etc. Discuss general "programming" techniques that are appropriate for assembling a larger set for your audience and typical genres. If you are able, talk about key signature in music and introduce some ideas about harmonic mixing.

    DJ Basics:

    Introduce the theory of beatmixing. Show them the "Five basic transitions" techniques Ean discusses in this video:



    Introduce the "DJ controls" in the booth again. At a minimum, discuss the mixer and player controls. Demonstrate the use of the up faders, channel gains, cross fader (including channel assignments), the 3-band EQ and filter (if available). Add in any other controls that are available in the actual setup. Do this with actual demonstrations of how that changes the sound in the room.

    MC Basics:

    If appropriate, talk about basic microphone technique, how to hold and use a microphone and make announcements. Practice using the "radio announcer voice" and then avoiding the "radio announcer voice." Have everyone take some TV commercial or radio ad or movie trailer they like, and have them re-create it as a method to practice.

    Practice:

    The remainder of the time I would spend on the "mechanics" of DJing....hands on practice of assembling and playing a set, beatmixing (if needed), using loops to make transitions easier. Have them prep and preform a 5 song routine in 10 minutes (it forces some mixing or cutting the songs short).
    Last edited by soundinmotiondj; 12-08-2014 at 08:20 AM.
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Stand in front of your decks controller.

    Imagine you don't know HOW to DJ.

    Then, start to DJ.

    Write down absolutely EVERYTHING that you do (1), that someone that DOESN'T know how to DJ wouldn't know how to do.

    There's your lesson plan right there! Expand/explain each step that you wrote down in (1) in language that a non-DJ could understand.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
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  6. #6
    Tech Guru 3heads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeanOakley View Post
    The starting point for me wouldn't even involve the equipment, it would just be about the music and how it's structured; beats, bars, phrases, etc.
    This! Teach them how to listen to music first.
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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor P4ULSON's Avatar
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    i show them the autobahn scratch if they can't do it there's no hope…. and if they can, i move to tazers and prizms :P

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by P4ULSON View Post
    i show them the autobahn scratch if they can't do it there's no hope…. and if they can, i move to tazers and prizms :P
    this
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru DubluW's Avatar
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    Cheers guys, some good stuff to work with here. I'm drawing up a plan atm.
    A+H DB4, Technics 1210's x2, F1, X1MK2 x2, MaschineMk2, Akai LPK 25, MF3D, XDJ-1000 x2.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by soundinmotiondj View Post
    I have taught similar classes to local DJs to "fill in the gaps." So, I always start from the ground up and some of this may be review for them.

    PA System Basics:

    IF they will have ANY responsibilities for setting up, or even turning on the sound system.... I would begin with an overview of the PA system. Basic interconnection of the music source, mixer, effects, amps, and cabinets. The different cable, the different connections, how to test and diagnose common problems. Even a read through of the "Troubleshooting" section of the manual would be helpful. Include something on setting up gain structure, and cover ALL the "under the table" controls that they might need to alter or check. Include a discussion of how to make common connections from a CD player, or stereo receiver, or an iPhone, or a laptop into the PA system.

    Getting Music:

    Talk about obtaining and processing music. If original CDs or vinyl are what is used, you may be able to stop there. Maybe mention something about cleaning and storage. If a laptop will be used, I would mention wav, mp3 (including bitrates), FLAC, and any other formats of interest. Walk them trough ripping CDs, tagging, setting a gain level, setting bpm, gridding (as appropriate), and burning "mix CDs". Talk about reliable places to purchase digital music. Talk about music management strategies, the use of tags, playlists, smart playlist (from iTunes), etc. Talk about backups of a digital music library!!!!!

    Have them go process some of their music using this new information. If CD based, they need to get the bpm of several dozen tracks. If computer, they should "process" several dozen tracks and update the tags to include all the necessary information.

    Talk about common music editing tools to trim long intros, change bpm, build in loop-able sections for easier beatmixing, etc. Audacity is all that is needed.

    General Music Theory:

    Talk about general music structure, 4/4 time, 8 bar phrases, counting beats, counting bpm, etc. Discuss general "programming" techniques that are appropriate for assembling a larger set for your audience and typical genres. If you are able, talk about key signature in music and introduce some ideas about harmonic mixing.

    DJ Basics:

    Introduce the theory of beatmixing. Show them the "Five basic transitions" techniques Ean discusses in this video:



    Introduce the "DJ controls" in the booth again. At a minimum, discuss the mixer and player controls. Demonstrate the use of the up faders, channel gains, cross fader (including channel assignments), the 3-band EQ and filter (if available). Add in any other controls that are available in the actual setup. Do this with actual demonstrations of how that changes the sound in the room.

    MC Basics:

    If appropriate, talk about basic microphone technique, how to hold and use a microphone and make announcements. Practice using the "radio announcer voice" and then avoiding the "radio announcer voice." Have everyone take some TV commercial or radio ad or movie trailer they like, and have them re-create it as a method to practice.

    Practice:

    The remainder of the time I would spend on the "mechanics" of DJing....hands on practice of assembling and playing a set, beatmixing (if needed), using loops to make transitions easier. Have them prep and preform a 5 song routine in 10 minutes (it forces some mixing or cutting the songs short).

    This sounds like good stuff to me although I'd put PA basic and getting music last or maybe not at all. I think most people already have music collections, although a brief blurb on getting extended versions for DJ'ing might be helpful. Also, I think knowing about a PA system is not something someone needs until well AFTER they've put in a lot of hours.

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