Be clear about the equipment you need and where it's coming from.
Will you use vinyl turntables or CDJs? A CDJ is a CD player setup that allows the DJ to manipulate music the same way as vinyl on a turntable. Not all CDJs have full vinyl and scratching abilities.
- Decide on young people’s roles and what skills you want to develop.
- Decide where and when you want to run a DJ Skills session.
- Decide how you'll publicise it to other young people. Design your introductory session(s). This could include:
- What's involved in listening — how your brain understands sound.
- What genre of music will you mix — R&B, House, Hip Hop, Drum & Bass?
- Learning about beats per minute (BPM) and understanding how to count beats.
- Finding your way around the turntable (or mixing software).
- Explaining beat matching and the timing of dropping beats.
- What is mixing, and the skills needed: manipulating pitch, counting beats, timing, releasing a record, increasing and tempo, wheel jog.
- How to wire a set of CDJs/vinyl’s.
Introduce the different options for mixing whether using vinyl, CDJ or mixing software. There are digital mixers in many formats, even programmes that mix beats for you, but even though there's a lot of software that will sync 2 songs for you there's nothing as yet that always gets it right.
Identify a couple of tracks for practice: Then let the fun begin!
- Everyone tries:
- Cueing up a record.
- Counting the beat in sequence.
- Releasing the record at the right time.
- Adjusting the record if out of sync.
Tip - Include a practical to help understand beats
Give everyone 1 ping-pong ball to bounce on a table. Every time it hits the table it's 1 beat. They do this at a regular tempo for 3 minutes until they go crazy, counting 1-2-3-4 repeatedly. Then introduce a second ping-pong ball to bounce, which is the second beat. They must practice slowing one ball down and speeding the other ball up. This helps to understand how to mix 2 opposing beats together. And to see how tricky this is!
That's the basic session.
For those who want to develop their DJ Skills, they'll need access to equipment.
Learning to release on track can only happen through doing it over and over.
Design the next session(s) for taking it further: Pitch control.
Using 2 tracks to practice identify which is the faster and which is slower, reducing one and increasing the other until playing in a synchronized state without compromising either track. This takes a lot of practice, is frustrating and usually the point at which people give up!
Introduce scratching. Run a session just for this (depending on equipment).
The next stage to becoming a DJ is even more practice — young people use their own music, varying the tracks they play and mixing up styles.
First 10 minutes on DJ Decks for beginners - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLYYyqSy35U
How To DJ - DJ Lessons To Help You Learn How To DJ! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMYWoeolOVs
What DJ’s Do - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GLOoeRnsOI