Reader DJ Jet writes: “I’m just getting into DJing and while I’m building up my skills of beat matching by ear, I currently mostly use either the waveforms on the screen of my DJ software (Virtual DJ) or just the sync button. Many people say that DJs who work like this are not proper DJs as they aren’t mixing by ear as the old vinyl DJs had to… what is your view on this? Is beatmatching by ear still important to being a ‘proper’ DJ?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
This is a question that comes up time and time again, DJ Jet! Beatmatching by ear is important, although it’s only a small part of DJing. We carried an article on it a while back – read through it and look at the comments from other DJs at the end to get a full picture:
You may also find this article useful, about using waveforms to DJ:
On the other hand…
One other thing I’d say though. As a “new” digital DJ, you’ll find a lot of people who whatever you do, won’t acknowledge the worth in what you’re doing. Frankly I’d say you should ignore them and get on with it. Many old vinyl DJs are firmly in the “digital sucks” camp and nothing you can do will impress them. Just look at the comments from vinyl and digital DJs in these two posts to get a sense of the divide. It’s getting better (digital is fun, after all), but the divide is still there:
To sum up, I’d say if you’re serious about your music, programming sets, mixing and the overall craft of DJing, the rest will follow naturally. Practise beatmatching, but don’t panic to get it nailed – there are so many other things to learn too.
The most important things are not to let anyone put you off learning, to keep practising, and to play in front of any real audience at all as often as you can.
Do you think DJs should learn beatmatching before anything else, or do what DJ Jet is doing and keep learning a bit at a time as he goes along? Why not let us know your thoughts in the comments?