DJ TIna T. > Learning How To DJ In Serbia
Today I Sat in on a DJ workshop in Serbia to learn about the scene here. I was excited to watch the people I’m traveling with learn the basics of DJing for the first time! I was curious to see how it would be taught, what equipment they would use and how this would all go down. I was also very aware of how much I would need to try and keep my mouth shut to respect the teachers and their curriculum of choice.
It took everything in me not to walk out of the class when they started teaching with the sync button on Traktor. I asked if most of the local DJs use the sync button and was told “Yes, only some old school DJs consider it cheating but no one in the club cares, they just want a good party. Its all about the music”
I totally agree, most people in the club don’t care or know if you are using a sync button, but I hate to see any DJ deprive themselves of the accomplishment and thrill of pulling off clean mixes live in front of crowds by training their ear to match up beats manually. The only way to get that kind of rush is if you’ve experienced the embarrassment of train-wrecking and clearing a dance floor. No risk = no reward. You have to experience the lows to enjoy the highs and a sync button is like putting your DJ set on auto pilot.
Call me old school, a purist or just plain old, but I think anyone learning how to “DJ” with a sync button is not actually learning the true art or skill of DJing. You might as well be learning how to play a video game or just throw on a pre recorded mix. This is why DJs get stereotyped as only being “button pushers.”
I have no problem with people who know how to mix and choose to use the sync button in more complex sets that need their focus on other skill sets. My issue is with the aspiring DJs who are learning with it and never properly train their ear or take any risks.
I did some reflecting on when I was first learning how to DJ on turntables and vinyl (which I know isn’t common anymore) and am thankful for having such great mentors over the years who would have never encouraged short cuts and always challenged me.
The DJs who taught our class today were talented and sincere artists/producers with a passion for what they do. I respect them and think they were simply looking for the most time efficient way for a group to be able to mix with the least amount of difficulty. They wanted us to have fun and not get overwhelmed or frustrated. Mixing takes years to learn. They had two hours with us.
I walked away from the experience needing a drink and pep talk to regain my faith in the future of DJing. Thankfully, there is never a shortage of friends to drink with on remote year!
This definitely happened for a reason. I’m more motivated than ever by my experience today to continue bringing the DJ community together at Camp Spin Off. We have the opportunity to mold young minds and pass along our skills, stories, traditions and knowledge to the next generation of DJs…