Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DJ-ing Teachers - A Special Opportunity

We DJs can play the dancefloor but can't chose who comes to events we play at. So we have to cater to the needs of those who are there. If that means it's a crowd that can only dance to very slow music, we'll have to play mainly in that tempo range. Funnily enough if a DJ gets asked why (s)he is playing slow music the answer is often "beginner music". What is beginner music and how does that affect teaching?

Dancing to 28 to 32 bpm is difficult because you have to superficially keep up momentum. Thinking of simplifying as slowing it down to those tempos is adding new difficulties and if you dance for too long on super slow music when you start, it adds habits that will be tricky to get rid of later.
It is patronizing to assume that beginners can't dance to medium tempos right away and worse - demotivating when they see the cool kids dancing to faster (actually regular) tempos at parties.

Of course we have to simplify stuff, and slowing stuff down to a certain degree makes sense, but stop in reason. Beginner classes with triple steps can be done to 34 bpm as slowest. Rhythm can be taught in easier ways as Groove Walks to beginners at tempos around 38-40 bpm.

Don't create weird new stuff for beginners. Teach them what you dance. Don't dumb down, but simplify!

If you are a teaching DJ you have a special opportunity, you can decide what the people on the dancefloor can dance to, - because you teach them. So when you play slow music - play it because you want to dance to it!