Why you should practice DJing

I’ve never really been interested in the art of DJing, but lately I’ve started lusting for a Digital DJ Controller. Why? I think the spark came when I visited one of the huge DJ stores in Tokyo a while back. They had rows and rows of beautiful controller lined up, and I have to admit that it was pure looks that pulled me in.

At the time I had only a vague idea of how they work, but I guy in the store was kind enough to give me an overview of the standard controls and he also gave me a quick intro to Traktor and Serato DJ.

As I got home that night I downloaded the demo version of both and started playing around with them. While they are limited they do contain all the basic functionality, and since then I’ve been fooling around with more and more often.

Here are some really cool takeaways, and the reasons why I’m now considering buying an actual controller:

1. Building a library of tracks to practice with has forced me to listen to and buy a lot of new music. This has ben crazy inspirational and a really good kick in the ass to explore and listen to more music! (Especially more mainstream music.)

2. Practicing mixing has taught me a ton of new details about track composition and timing. How long is a typical trance lead in? Lead out?

3. Rhythm practice and appreciation of EQ and frequency bands. Understanding what to take away, what to emphasize and how to adjust speed and tempo to seamlessly blend and mix tracks has forced me to think more about where in the frequency band certain sounds or instruments lie and why.

4. Greater appreciation for sampling. I’ve found myself not just listening to more music (remember 1 above?), but also out in record stores digging through old vinyls and CDs looking for interesting, fun or just unusual loops and sounds to sample.

I think dabbling with DJing (really, I suck but hey…) has gotten me thinking about structure, tempo and sound in new ways. Before I could talk and reason about it, but now I feel like I ‘understand’ and can appreciate it even more.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I really recommend you do!

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