Beatmatching: A Practical Guide for Students in DJ Training

Posted on June 24th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

beatmatching helps pros with DJ training keep the music playing

Music has long been used to bring people together and get them dancing. But if you’re playing songs one after the other, there will be moments when the song needs to be changed, resulting in moments of silence. Fortunately, there are ways around these awkward pauses. Beatmatching allows for the song to change in a DJ set by fading one song into the other and matching their tempo, or their beat, which keeps crowds dancing.

Read on to discover some practical tips on how to beatmatch once you become a DJ.

Students at DJ School Will Learn How to Properly Cue up a Song

When you begin to learn how to become a DJ, you’ll discover that one of the first steps in mixing and beatmatching is ‘cueing up’ a song. Cueing up a song refers to how a DJ prepares a song so that it starts playing right on the first beat.

A typical DJ set-up features two turntables placed on either side of a mixer, which controls how the music is sent from the turntables through the speakers and the DJ’s headphones. A Typical mixer will have anywhere from 2-8 mixer channels. On most standard DJ mixers there will be a ‘cue mix’ button for each mixer channel. These mixer channels will each be connected to a song or turntable. Once a DJ presses the cue mix button, the song on the mixer channel will begin to play—but only on the DJ’s earphones at first, and not yet through the speakers. Once you become a DJ, use just one earphone to listen to the song that you plan on syncing, while letting the other ear listen to the music being played on the dance floor.

When finding the first beat, DJ students know that they can’t just let the record spin until the first beat arrives. There isn’t time to waste as a DJ, you need to keep the music coming! That’s why instead of waiting, students learn to ‘fast forward’ a song by rotating the record on the turntable in a clockwise motion until they hear the first beat. Then they rewind the song until the needle lies directly behind the first beat. It’s important for students to precisely let go of the record as the first beat hits.

Pros with DJ training often listen through one earphone

DJs often listen through one earphone to hear the song currently playing as well as the one being cued

Syncing the Beats is an Important Lesson in DJ Training

Once you’ve started your training at DJ school and know how to properly cue a song, it’s time to move on to learning how to sync tracks. That’s where your turntables will come in handy. Let’s refer to the left turntable as A and the right as B.

When you have turntable A playing through the speakers, it’s time to use the above lesson to cue up the record on turntable B to begin syncing your music. Press the ‘cue mix’ button for turntable B, which will begin to send its sound through your headphones. Put your headphones up to one ear, and try to simultaneously listen to what is being played through your speakers and what is being played through your headphones. Now, try and start turntable B’s first beat at the same time that you hear a beat coming through the speakers from turntable A, usually by focusing on a kick drum sound.

If you’re lucky, you will match the kick drums of both turntables, but if not, there are some ways to quickly fix the situation. If you started record B late, give the record a slight push so that it begins to match up, and if you’ve started the record early, place your finger on the side of the turntable to slow it down just enough to begin to sync.

Matching Tempos Is Important For Students in DJ Training

Most likely the tempos of the two tracks you’re hoping to sync are different, which means that you’ll need to adjust each turntable’s speed in order for the tracks to sync properly. One way to do this is to raise the pitch level on the turntable in order to speed it up, or lower the pitch level to slow it down. This will help make the tracks line up well. The pitch level is often controlled by a little slider that is located directly next to a turntable and is used to speed up and slow down the speed of records.

Once the beats are synced, you can use the ‘fader’ slider on the mixer to begin to fade the song from turntable A out of the mix, and bring in the song from turntable B.

Want to discover how DJ training can provide the hands on instruction you need to match beats and move crowds?

Contact an advisor today to find out more!

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