Beatmatching is a prerequisite for most mixing styles. It’s the part where the DJ matches the tempo of the next track to that of the tune that’s currently playing on the dancefloor. Beatmatching is done by ear, and it’s a skill that needs to be learned. If two tracks aren’t beatmatched, their beats will fall out of sync during the blend. Instead of sitting beautifully on top of each other, they will sound like a train wreck, which will mess up your mixing in a blink of an eye.
Now is the time to dispel the biggest myth about beatmatching. As opposed to mixing, which has a good deal of creativity to it (when to drop the next track? how long to make the transition? how to make the songs go together really well?), beatmatching is a purely technical skill that even a monkey can be taught. In that sense, beatmatching is like being able to walk for a basketball player. It’s hard to play basketball if you can’t walk, but walking is not what made Michael Jordan famous. Similarly, the genius of great DJs isn’t in how quickly or how precisely they can beatmatch.
Why then is beatmatching so much talked about, especially among beginner DJs? The thing is, learning to beat match by ear takes weeks or even months. It’s the first real challenge that will put your desire and motivation to become a DJ to a test. The good news is that, just like walking, beatmatching can be mastered by anyone: your mom, granddad, your neighbor and even her dog (OK, maybe except for the dog.)
So no more excuses, you can learn how to beatmatch! Let’s go?
Next up: A Few Words on BPM Counters
JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.
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