The Notorious R.A.V.’s DJ Journal – #4

Homework for Scratch DJ Academy is practice time. During the week, I found my way to the academy for some serious practice time. While there, I found that its library of vinyl includes Perry Como and Glen Campbell, in addition to the more predictable offerings. One day, I am going to hand either the Como or Campbell album to one of the DJ teachers and ask them to do something interesting with them. I’ve been wanting to get back at both singers for the hours that I was subjected to them during my childhood.

I spent a little bit of time walking over to a few used record stores in the area. I’m in search of old Israeli folk dance music, which, to me, seems to ask to be beat mixed. Also, the more obvious: Steely Dan (one of the most sampled bands), old Prince, Commodores, and perhaps some Bhangra/Indian music. I struck out on all counts, and will clearly need to expand my reach to other stores in the Village.

My third class at Scratch features the third different teacher, this time DJ Tim Martell. Although there are some minor bumps in the road, as he gauges what we’ve learned (a lot), what we’ve mastered (not as much), he’s solid.

This lesson: Dropping on the Ones. This is apparently the essence of beat mixing and of a bunch of other things that we’ll have to learn. Learning this is the point at which simply listening to really great music or doing a scratch on a record ends and the reprogramming of neural pathways begins. Taking a cue from the student next to me, I decide that trying to listen to two records at once, while close to 20 people are trying to do the same, might work better with headphones. Plus, lets face it…it just looks so cool to be spinning records and scratching while wearing headphones.

I now have to deal with listening to two records, coordinating two hands doing different things, and working on hand-eye-ear coordination. A few times, I actually am able to match the beats on record one and record two, and I do a fist punch in the air, to which, fortunately for me, my fellow students are oblivious. Tim and the teaching assistants stop by a few times, offering much-needed pointers. Tim twice catches me when I’ve successfully matched up records and offers high-fives.

I’m enjoying it, both for the love of the music, and for the thrill of learning something that is far outside of my comfort zone. This is the excitement of really new learning.

This class has a student that I’ve never seen before. He looks to be somewhere between 10-12 years old. Cute kid. I may have finally found someone who will be at my level for future DJ battles. I can see it now: The Kid vs. The Old Rabbi Guy.

4 responses

  1. Hey RAV!I have some Steely Dan in vinyl, as well as several other if you wanna borrow them. MarciKar


  2. Thanks for the offer (and for reading my blog), Marci. But trust me, you don't want to lend vinyl to someone who is "scratching." We're being taught to do all the things that those of our generation know we should not do to phonograph records, from putting our grimy hands all over them, to moving the needle all over them, etc. It's unlearning good habits and replacing them with bad ones. Enjoy your records, and protect them from my newfound skills.


  3. Try Whirlin Disc in Farmingdale, and also I can give you some places for vinyl in the city. HELLO! I worked in Electronic Dance Music for years! I know me some vinyl stores!Keep it up Arn, I'll represent you yet!RSTAR


  4. Thanks, Robyn. I do have a list of places in the Village, just need the time to do it. Wow, I've already got myself a publicist. Go figure. Next steps appear to be buying some gently used equipment to practice on.


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