Digital DJ
Time N/A

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites Trailer Mash
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Ross Parker
Groupings Individual
Pairs
Minimum Year Group None

Blurb

DJs take other people's songs and make them sound good together. Sounds easy, but takes practice, skill and knowledge. In this lesson you will learn the basics of being a digital DJ.

License

This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC

Outline

The Pitch
Why should I bother learning this?
  • Want to be the heart of the party? Learn to DJ!
Resources
What is needed to run this unit?
  • Philips M1X-DJ Sound System (school will provide)
  • iPad w/ Lightning port
  • djay 2 app for iPad
  • Music to mix, or a Spotify account.
Interdisciplinary Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • Links to Music in terms of beat, BPM, beat matching, etc.
  • Links to Media in terms of music industry, changes due to digital tools.
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Credits
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

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Heart Of The Party
The Pitch
  • Want to be the heart of the party? Learn to DJ!
  • As a DJ you can learn to put together sets of music that get people in the mood to dance, relax or whatever you like.
  • Express your creativity, and build on the work of others.
What's A DJ?
Theory
  • A DJ, or Disc Jockey, is someone who puts together music into sets in order to entertain others.
  • DJs often work on the radio or at events requiring music.
  • You can DJ with a variety of setups, but traditionally, a professional DJ would use:
    • 2 vinyl record players, known as decks.
    • A mixing board/desk (including a crossfader and other controls)
    • Headphones
    • Speakers
    • A collection of music on vinyl records

  • This setup is now being replaced by digital technology, which is more convenient, and has grown steadily better over recent years.

DJing: The Basics
Theory
  • DJs aim to keep music playing all the time, and to make elegant transitions between songs.
  • The basic principle is to be playing music on one deck via the speakers for the audience to hear, whilst cueing up music on the second deck (listening only on headphones). At a certain point, the crossfader is used to switch what the audience hears from one deck to the other.
  • Crossfading will sound terrible unless the two records have their beats matched, so that they are running at the same speed (BPM, beats per minute), with the beats falling at the same time.
  • On top of this, the DJ will add effects, loops, scratching and more to add to the overall effect of the music.
  • The video below gives a humorous look at what a DJ is doing:

Our Setup
Hands On
  • We will be using a simple digital set comprised of: Philips M1X-DJ surface+speaker, iPad w/ djay 2 app and music either on the device, or streamed via Soptify.
  • The video below introduces the Philips M1X-DJ:

  • Once you are familiar with the ideas in the videos above, see your teacher for an introduction to our setup.
DJing
Hands On
  • You are now ready to start practicing.
  • Work to select tracks that sound good together, and then mix from one to the other.
  • Try to avoid using the automatic sync features, and instead work on beat mixing manually, as this will really improve your skills. The video below might help you with your beat matching:

  • Keep practicing and building up your experience.
Your First Set
Evidence
  • As you improve, work towards putting together a short set of around 4-5 tracks, mixed together one after the other.
  • Make sure all the tracks match in terms of style and feel, to get an overall effect.
  • When your set is ready, video record yourselves executing your set and then submit the recording as your evidence for the unit.
    • In your video both you and the mixing surface should be visible: in addition, the audio should be clear.

Images


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