Most new deejays when they get that piece of equipment, they are desperate to start mixing and playing the tunes that they love and creating their own deejay set straight away and that’s the dream.
But there is a skill that really needs to be mastered to become a confident and creative deejay down the line.
What is that skill?
Let’s call it beat matching and more importantly beatmatching by ear.
What is beatmatching?
Beatmatching is the ability to be able to get two different songs and get them in time with one another so that they stay in time.
And when you mix them together they don’t drift out of time and sound horrible. You get a nice seamless mix from one track to another. There are lots of AIDS in this day and age to help you with this sort of beat matching.
- We have things like SYNC buttons.
- We have waveform displays.
- We have phase meters.
There are all sorts of indicators. And these are visual indicators or programmed features that are in the equipment or software that can help you and aid you with beat matching.
However, I would highly recommend that you trust your ears and you train your ears before training your eyes.
Well, we listen to music. We don’t watch music. We watch TV. We need to understand how music is structured. We need to understand when something is right and when something sounds wrong. And that’s where it comes in.
As soon as you add the visual element into the learning process you start to eliminate what your ears are being trained to do. You start to ignore all of that. So beatmatching by ear is such a key and vital skill as a foundation skill that every single DJ needs to learn.
Now, this isn’t me saying you can’t use sync buttons and you can’t use waveforms. They’re all great. They’re good aides. But soon as you rely on them you’ll only ever be as good as those features.
And guess what forcing buttons and things like that to work. Most tracks have to be analyzed.
When a track is analyzed, It’s a computer listening or reading to that piece of music and trying to determine what the BPM-s are and add a grid to that track.
A computer doesn’t always get it right. So you can actually mix two tracks together.
It says it’s right. It looks like but actually, it doesn’t sound right and that’s where the matching buyer really comes in as well.
It’s going to help you with loads of other things too like mixing acapella like crossing between different genres like combining three or four decks if you wanted to further down the line.
It’s going to help if you wanted to start producing music understanding the structure of songs the structure of drums when different things come in and the timing of the music.
I’m going to show you quickly what I would call beat matching by ear and something that you can try. Even if you don’t take one about a line call says you can get an idea of what you should be practicing at home.
We’ve got some really unique ways to help you train your ear to learn what’s right what’s wrong. Which way we need to nudge the dog well. Which way we need to move the tempo adjust and start doing all of that a lot quicker. So this is what I mean when it comes to beat matching by ear.
So for example, if I was loaded to Random House loops in our controller, we’ve got house loop number 4 on this right side of the controller and number loop number 9 on the left side of our controller.
Now the original speed of these tracks when they’re both at the center position is 127 BPM and the other is 123 BPM so they’ll go out of time.
What I would recommend all new DJ learns how to do is to beat match by ear is to cover up any visual aids by not using any sync features or any visual aid that’s going to help you get these tracks in time.
You want to get comfortable with your adjustments on the tempo adjust with the jog wheel and getting two tracks in time. The quicker you can do this I guarantee the better DJ you’ll be down the line and more confident DJ you will be further down the line.
So, for example, we play a track we would listen to it. And then it’s about setting the other track off and getting it in time as quick as possible. And what I’m doing is I’m beatmatching by ear and I’m trying to keep the track in time throughout even when both tracks are playing out loud.
Obviously, you would be doing this in the headphones to avoid any slight slip-ups and the audience can’t hear the mistakes that you’re about to hear but from years of beatmatching by ear what it’s done is it’s trained my ears and other deejays ears to know when something’s wrong.
Which way we need to know yet whether it’s faster or slower and by how much and then by how much we need to adjust the tempo and the jog wheel to correct that timing and beatmatching then hopefully you get to a point where it doesn’t go out of time.
If you are satisfied you can reveal to be BPM-sand just check and try to beat match blinded until you get it right.
Are there any limitations to be matched by ear?
Well, a lot of entry-level controllers like these do have quite a small tempo adjusts but you can still beat match by hand. I’ve done it multiple times and it really does work and if you can be much of something like this then you can beat match back on anything.
All you need to do is get really comfortable with the control between your fingers and how to adjust your tempo, adjust to make fine increments final adjustments, find nudges and if you want to really learn how to beat match by ear and to master the skill so that you can become a confident and creative DJ.
There’s no point trying to use all the creative features slip loops and keyboard modes and sequences and samplers if we don’t master those foundations and those basics.
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments whether you are totally going to deejay and whether you’ve thought about this or whether you’ve started without and used sync features to start deejaying.
What your experience has been learning to deejay or starting to deejay and if you’re already confident beat matching and you are in that skill set. Maybe just drop some positive comments below and encourage other new deejays to learn this important skill.