4 Reasons Beat Matching Makes You A Better DJ

Improve your skill with manual beat matching!


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If you’ve ever spent any time with DJs who were on the scene long before digital DJing became the norm you’ve probably stood in awe, at one time or another, at the ease with which they operate. Those guy—and gals—who had to learn to DJ the hard way can mix and beat match tunes without much help from the software we take for granted these days.

This is one of the areas I envy these DJs. Although many young DJs laugh at mere mention of DJing on vinyl, the truth is that these guys have real talent. Without digital assistance they can do many things that most of us couldn’t do without software guidance—like beat matching by ear. Does this make them better DJs?

I’d say unequivocally “YES”. This doesn’t make them superior but I think we can all learn from these guys, the importance of being able to do it old school. Beat matching is an important skill to have for all DJs, let me tell you why.

The Ol’ Switcheroo

Any DJ who’s been on the scene for a few years knows that things can change at the drop of a hat. Just because you have your own DJ equipment doesn’t mean that you’ll be asked to use it.

What will you do if a client asks you to DJ on CJDs or what about vinyl? Would you be able to pull off an effective set under those circumstances? What if there’s a glitch with your equipment and you have to do it old school? Do you simply want to tell them you can’t do it, or do you want to wow them with your DJ prowess?

If you can’t, don’t worry; there is still plenty of time to learn. But this is why beat matching is such an important skill to learn.

The Art & The Science

I think manually beat matching tunes helps you seek out the rhythm of the tracks. It requires you to focus more on the intricacies and nuances of each track you want to match. First of this is a lesson in music education that many new digital DJs tend to ignore in an effort to get right to “the good stuff”.

Learning the art and science of beat matching, you become a better listener and a better musician in your own right. The more you hear in a song, the more options you have when it comes to mixing and making your own tracks. Once you learn how to beat match you’ll understand how those amazing DJs are able to flawlessly mix genres and come up with tracks you’d never conceive.

Machines Can’t Do Everything

As a digital DJ I’m always terrified of becoming too reliant on my DJ laptop, my software and all the other gadgets that make digital DJs so incredible. I mean what if something happens and I’m stuck on a stage without the ability to do it on my own? It’s like math; sure it’s great to have a calculator handy but if there are no more calculators?

BPM counters, specifically, are not infallible. In addition to worrying about them failing tremendously, you also have to worry about accuracy. In fact, I’d argue it’s better that a BPM stops working altogether than have it miscount. Without manual beat matching skills, you may miss out on key changes in tempo or unique a cappella arrangements.

You may be a very skilled digital DJ, but imagine how much better you could be if you were so in tune with the music that you could beat match by ear!

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Better Trickster

You know those DJs who just seem to be able to do things you’ve never imagined could be done? Well you could be just like them by learning how to beat match manually. How?

Simple, learn the BPMs of the music. Not just your particular genre of music, but all types of music. The more you know about the beats of the genre types, the better you will be at cross-mixing genres. When you can beat match by ear you’ll learn certain tricks like how much you can speed up a track or slow it down before it no longer resembles music. Better still, you can start to create mixes on the fly…in the heat of the moment.

Beat matching by ear can really give you a whole new bag of tricks to use to please a crowd.

Learn The Basics

The truth is that beats are an important part of DJing just like the penal code is essential for a lawyer and human anatomy is vital for a doctor. Just because you don’t “have” to learn beat matching doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn it. There is a lot we can all learn, as DJs, from those who paved the road before us.

Let the digital software and gear be your guide and use it to enhance every single performance, but take the time to master the traditional tricks that can take you to the next level. In an industry where it is important to stand out, beat matching by ear can give you the edge needed to become a star DJ in your own right.

I hope you now understand how important beat matching is to a disk jockey. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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