Practice DJ Techniques With Everyday Objects

To obsessive DJs, it’s easy to look around the entire world and view it as a dance floor just waiting to happen. But when you don’t have your decks in front of you, how is a DJ to practice? For a fun Friday article, we thought it would be amusing to round-up a few ways that DJs use ordinary objects to practice familiar-feeling techniques.

Scratch With Your Zipper

Yes, you’ve got a scratch record on your clothes, just put on a solid beat in the background and cut it up with your jacket zipper. It’s not a very good facsimile of the two-handed skill set needed for real turntablism, but you absolutely can put together basic patterns and phrases with a zipper. DJ Yoda’s video might have been one of the first to put this on an actual album:

Time The Windshield Wiper / Turn Signals

One of those things that almost every DJ with a car does: tries to speed up/slow down the windshield wipers so that they’re in time with the track playing in the car. It’s probably not the safest thing in the world (pay attention to the road, people), but most DJs can’t help themselves. Turn signals apparently work great as well – although they usually don’t have adjustable speeds.

One commenter on Reddit even noted that evenly spaced seams in the road work – but again, don’t forget to drive first, mix later:

Gate / Cut The Track The The Mute Button

It might feel pretty silly when you’re not mixing into another track, but tapping the mute button on your laptop in time with a playing track can be a great way to practicing timing. Try to break out each sound in house tracks – letting only the snare, clap, or hat through with your “cuts”.

Your Voice + A Water Bottle

Some of the most wild “DJ without DJing” solutions have come from countries where real DJ equipment is rare, expensive, and sadly inaccessible. But that doesn’t stop aspiring DJs with a performative spirit from making do with what they have. In the above 11-minute clip DJ Castro puts together a complete “DJ mix” – singing the vocals from recognizable house songs (skip to 6:00 to hear his version of Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey”) while tapping out a percussive rhythm on a water bottle.

Even More Ideas From Twitter

Share yours! Have an object that you use in a DJ way while working, idling, reading, or listening to music? Let us know in the comments.