9 Tips on How to Beat Match

So you want to be a DJ? One of the first things you have to learn is how to beat match a record, er actually two records. Maybe you are using are all digital programs, like using Ableton Live or Native Instrument's Traktor, where you can just sync it. However, you still should learn how to beat match. It is one of the essential things to becoming a DJ. I use Trakor Scratch with CDJs now days (I know I've gotten lazy), but have learned to beat match with vinyl. So here are a few tidbits to keep in mind:

1) It's probably easiest to start with two of the same songs on both decks. Usually a "four to the floor" house track suits the best type of music (I actually found it easy to learn with hard house type of music, I'm not sure if that style of music is still around though).

2) When you're first learning, don't use the headphones... just use your regular speakers.

3) Count the beats. Since most dance music is 4 by 4, just count the ones, twos, threes, and fours, till the song comes naturally. In fact, I still count the beats on some songs that I play because sometimes the melody starts on an off beat and it can throw you off (You don't have to worry about this till later). It also might help to tap your foot, or dance if you have to. Just get into the music, it helps.

4) If you are using a DJ program to learn (I think you really shouldn't), please don't look at the BPM counters and match it accordingly (you're just gonna cheat yourself in the long run). Before you can do that, you should match it by ear first. Only until you are confident enough to beat match records and do a whole set (more than once) all in sync and in front of people, then you can graduate and be lazy like the rest of us.

5) Make sure that when you mix in the next record, you cue them on the one beat, as most songs are created this way (but I guess if you're just beginning, it would be good first to get any beats to line up).

6) When changing tempo of the opposite record, and you don't know how fast or slow the record is (in relation to the one that's playing) slide the fader all the way to the end, then scale it back. It saves time from having to keep nudging it a little, and a little more. This part takes time, but the more you learn, the faster you'll get at this.

7) If one track is slightly moving faster or slower than the other while you are mixing, try to use the tempo control instead of squeezing the turntable nipple thing (there's got to be a better word for that). You may notice a very abrupt tempo change if you squeeze the nipple (very noticeable when there is an upfront melody playing), instead opt for a smooth change by using the tempo control.

8) When you first put your headphones on, it can be daunting to hear two different tracks playing at different rhythms in your head. You just have to keep on listening as to what drum beat is from what track and so forth. This part takes time and practice.

9) Practice. Practice. Practice. You've learned how to beat match, but you still have a long way to go. Just keep practicing till you get the songs to always be perfectly in sync (or close to it). No DJ was created overnight.

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