How do you practice?
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default How do you practice?

    I'm interested in how guys approach practicing. I sometime find it hard not to just 'play around' - I'm sure I'm not alone.

    Recently I've tried to become more focused and just focus a session on one or two things, but just wondered any thoughts you guys had on efficient practising.

  2. #2

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    i guess it depends on what youre practicing and why..

    for practicing mixing i just start surfing my music and grouping songs together that i found compliment each other in some way.
    then i practice mixing within those groups when i want to get music together for gigs or routines.

    for scratching i think you are best not to really noodle about until after you have made focused practice time for the day or session. it is very important not to build bad habits into your muscle memory when it comes to scratching , once you do it can take years of careful practice to undo the habits. if you are a beginner you should really focus on one technique at a time, and learn it very slowly, with no background music on. then build it up in speed until you can do it in time to slower BPMs, and build up power and speed by doing the same scratch over increasingly faster BPMs. after you have your focused practice, then freestyle a bit and try to build combos of your repertoire.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru ImNotDedYet's Avatar
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    Just go man...just go.

    Keep your practice sessions fun for you, that way you'll keep practicing. And only you can define what's fun for you. If it's screwing around, then screw around, but make sure to actually get some practice on a specific aspect in.

    And record them.

    Then listen to them after a while.

    Then see what sucked and didn't and try not to repeat the suck.
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru
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    Depends.

    Basically, I do not think of the activity as "rehearsing" until I am working to build muscle memory with a technique or to refine my work flow. Thinking about changes, researching changes, experimenting with changes...are all good, and all need to be done....but that is not the same as rehearsal. Perhaps that comes from my background as a competitive dancer. Rehearsal does not start until the choreography is done and learned.

    I find that short(er) sessions are better for me. So, given 60 minutes a day to practice, two 30 minute sessions tend to work better for me. That said, anything under about 20 minutes isn't enough for me to actually accomplish something productive. I do something DJ related 4 to 5 days a week. Sometimes it is just 30 minutes, sometimes it is a couple hours.

    I spend time working on my music collection in general. Processing new music into the collection happens every few weeks. I use SoundHound to ID songs I hear while out and pull those that grab my attention into a playlist every couple weeks. I am constantly fidgeting with tags, etc. This is NOT rehearsing.

    I spend time building remix sets, and working on my library of sounds for producing. I am currently working on building a remix set that works with Motown and soul and 60's R&B. This is NOT rehearsing.

    My current controller is an "old friend" by now. I have been using it for 3-ish years. Whenever I buy new controllers I "learn" the mapping by experimenting with all the controls and features. It can take a while to figure out how I want to incorporate a new toy into my work flow. This is NOT rehearsing.

    I am always experimenting with new techniques. Right now, I am working to incorporate the MF Twister step sequencer into my sets. That means building remix sets that sound good with different genres of music. It means working out patterns/rhythms on the sequencer that sound good with different genres of music. I spent a couple hours working with the MF mappings, and learning all the controls and the feel of the unit. This is NOT rehearsing.

    I am a mobile DJ, and I play a WIDE range of genres and tempos. I do not normally use sync, so learning to work with sync is taking some time. So, I am practicing with the MF Twister in my workflow. I have a good idea of how I want to use the tool, and I am practicing toward that specific goal. This is rehearsing.

    I practice "quick mixing" techniques with slams and/or with FX. My goal is "ten songs in ten minutes." I use this technique as a "finale" at weddings to clean up any outstanding requests. So the playlists tend to be a bit...well..."random." I have a LONG stockpile of these song lists, so I have enough material to let me practice. This is rehearsing.
    Last edited by soundinmotiondj; 02-03-2015 at 10:30 AM.
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  5. #5

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    Normally I practice on the weekends or whenever I have some down time which is rare since I work full time. I get home plop in from of the TV turn on YouTube listen to some sets that people have posted and if I hear some records that I like that I dont have I d/l them. After my my crate dig I cozy on up to the controller and start to organize my new tracks then I hit the jog wheels with the new songs I have just to get a feel for them and beatgrid them too. I take a dinner break then I come back to the controller and go for it again by then its 11pm then I hit the sack. Thats my routine during the week lately I've been playing around with tone play which is pretty cool. I also try to get some recording sessions in so I can upoload to my android pfone.
    Numark 4 Trak | VCI-400 | Fostex PM0.3 Bookshelf Monitors | The Triple Threat NI-F1, N1-X1-MK2, NI-Z1 | Serato DJ/Flip

  6. #6

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    I record everything and upload to mixcloud... Knowing that my intentions are to always upload my mixes tend to make me more responsible on the mix.... However since it is a practice I will try mixes and such I normally wouldn't... When I'm live or gig I always will do a full blown transition in my cans and if she's not right I don't mix it and carry one to next selection... I really don't like that as I feel if you aren't taking a risk you aren't advancing.... Every mix I upload to mixcloud I listen to it multiple times and make note of what I was doing on the transition either good or bad and go from there..... I love mixing with filters however this is not always best practice... There will be transitions I do were I'll have a hp at 100% wet and have mids and highs off then slowly bump up my kids and highs as I start to bring the wet down with my lows at 50% and as I bring wet down I will bring channel fader up and highs and mids... I've mastered this technique which creates a really nice blend with certain styles that it just took trial and error to get the right formula down for different genres....


    Anyhow yeah record your mixes and with intention of making public this give you that underlining thought to not drift in the playing too much... This is entirely dependent on genre though some genres benefit from the playing others require a more serious approach

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor P4ULSON's Avatar
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    Deejaesnafu got it down this is correct and what i do. As well if your just practicing maybe find a setlist from a dj you like and mimic the set perfectly. Same goes for scratch routines. Don't play them in public thats bitting and wack but will help you develop skills since you have the material already. Example is every good guitar player can play "stairway to heaven" but never do in public

  8. #8
    Tech Guru calgarc's Avatar
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    I have a weekly podcast... my podcast is pure practice. It forces me to listen to new music daily, gets me organized, constantly preparing tracks, i get loads of promo material, and most importantly it allows me to practice physical DJing every week ... you can always re-record your podcast before posting it online

  9. #9
    Tech Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by P4ULSON View Post
    Example is every good guitar player can play "stairway to heaven" but never do in public
    There are a few passable covers of the song.

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  10. #10
    Tech Mentor KF81's Avatar
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    I always record my mixes otherwise i get bored half way through and if i like them then i will save it. As for practising, i would say i only practice a couple of things at a time, like using an effect or something. But i would have a muck around to get used to it before i hit the record button.

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