5 Reasons Why Every DJ Should Learn To Scratch

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 2 July, 2018

We teach four big areas of DJing here at Digital DJ Tips: How to master the general skills of pro DJing, how to make music in order to further your DJ career, how to set up an event-type DJ business… and how to scratch.

There are lots of reasons why we think scratching is such an important skill for DJs to have and why we give it the same importance as those other “big” areas, but today I thought I’d share with you five of the big ones (as discussed in the Facebook Live video at the top of this piece).

So if this interests you at all, check out the list below, and watch the live video if you want to hear a bit more about each of them. the video went a bit crazy over on Facebook…. seems like many people completely get what we’re talking about here…

  1. To many people, scratching IS DJing – Ask your grandmother to do here best DJ impression. She’ll more than likely put one had to her ear (that’ll be the headphones), and with the other hand? Make a scratching motion. Look, this stuff goes back to the 1980s, when it first hit popular culture. DJs, well, scratch! And if you don’t scratch? Go figure. It’s Just. One. Of. The. Big. Skills
  2. It forces you to actually play on your gear, to learn the ins and outs – So you jump in a big, flash sports car. You’re not going to find out what it (or you) can do if you just drive to the shops in it, through city traffic, are you? You’re only going to find that out on quiet, mountain roads where you can let rip and hit some challenging corners. Better, on a racetrack. Same with DJ gear. You’re not really USING it unless you do what it was made for.  So scratch!
  3. It shows the rest of the world that you’re doing something – Sure, YOU know that what you just did with automated cue points and those two tunes in the same key, beatgridded together and practised at home, is actually kinda cool. Your audience? None the wiser. Same goes for that smooth beatmix, that clever acapella. But a nice bit of scratching? NOW they know you’re doing something… it’s part of the showmanship of DJing. You need some of it
  4. You can scratch in pretty much any DJing situation – Many people think scratching is only for hip hop DJs, but it’s being used by DJs in most genres, and from clubs to weddings (seriously – a judicious bit of scratching a couple of times in a wedding DJ set is engaging and gets respect – and that leads to full dancefloors and people present booking you for more high-paid weddings…)
  5. It’s hard, it’s satisfying… and it’s a lot of fun! – Scratching isn’t easy. It’s not convenient. It has an element of risk. It will scare you. And for all those reasons, it’s hugely satisfying when you get it right. Oh, and did we mention it’s probably the most fun you can have on two decks? You didn’t buy your DJ gear to play it safe and boring – so don’t! Learn to scratch and push the boundaries. Be honest… that’s why you got into this in the first place…

What to do now…

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