Have you made a new year’s resolution? I’m not talking about giving up smoking, or staying off the booze, or eating with your mouth closed – I’m talking about a DJ resolution, something you want to do to forward your DJing this year.
Maybe it’s playing a gig once a week, or learning to beatmatch without the autosync, or learning how to produce a re-edit of a record. (It could just be remembering every record you played without having to check the “history” on your software the next morning…)
Whatever your resolution, though, it’s no good if you don’t manage to stick to it. So here we present a few ideas on how to choose a resolution wisely, and then how to stick to it once you have.
- Aim low – If you’ve only been DJing since Christmas Day and can’t perform a beatmix at all with autosync yet, don’t aim to master professional music production in Ableton this year! Pick something that’s in the right direction but more achievable. You can always set a second resolution later on in the year when you’ve hit your first one. Pick one achievable thing rather than lots of unlikely targets
- Tell everyone you know – You can start by telling us in the comments, then tweet it, post it on Facebook, announce it on the microphone at your next gig (well, maybe not that)… you get the idea. No shame in positive peer pressure
- Plan a reward for achieving your goal – So you want to learn to beatmatch without autosync? Promise yourself those headphones you’ve always wanted when you manage it. Or you want to be able to re-edit a tune in the starter edition of Ableton that came with your controller? Then promise yourself the full version of the program when you achieve it
- Track your progress – I’m writing a DJing book at the moment. A book is not like a blog post – it takes months. So I’ve planned it all out and I am ticking off as I go along. That way I can see how far I’m getting into my task. If you are wanting to learn to beatmatch (to come back to our example), have a chart that says how many beatmatched mixes you manage compared to how many you attempt in each practise session, so you can see yourself getting better over time. If you want to learn to write a tune, divide it up into bassline, drums, synths, arrangement, mastering etc and when you learn that part, tick it off. Pin your chart up so you can get encouragement from it
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- Make friends with someone who does what you want to learn – Want to DJ in a club this year? Befriend a club DJ. Produce music? Someone who’s a whizz on Ableton. Beatmatch? A vinyl DJ. We imitate those around us and learn from mentors far better than on our own
- Life gets in the way. Accept it – Plans are a guide, not a straitjacket. Yes, plan your progress, yes be held to your resolution by your friends, but family crises, work, just finding out something is harder than you thought – all can throw you of target. Brush off and carry on – and don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s better to play with the big boys and fail sometimes than be scared to get onto the field at all
My resolution? Well, I’ve always been a Virtual DJ and Serato ITCH user, but have never really spent more than a minimum amount of time with Traktor.
Seeing as it’s by far and away the most popular DJ software among readers of this blog, this year I am going to put that right, and make sure that I’m a Traktor expert by the end of the year. Next year maybe Ableton…
What’s your DJing new year’s resolution going to be? Let us know in the comments below.