Huge congrats Adam! Super inspiring stuff, well done for sticking with the process and for the progress you have made!
You can follow Adam here: https://www.instagram.com/_pineapple_p/ to see all 100 day videos.
It’s something I undertook myself (see here) and have been encouraging my students to do the same – as a way to get in the habit of daily practice, documenting progress and connecting with others.
I asked Adam some questions to help you if you are thinking of doing the project.
Can you give us some background on your interest in music and scratching?
I remember clearly when I was about 12 years old going over to my neighbours house to play video games and we were looking for some CDs to listen to while we play. Being bored of his limited CD collection we snuck into his older brother’s room to check out his CDs and I stumbled across Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers. I didn’t know what it was but I was checking out the cover art thinking I have to hear what’s on this. Once we played the first track Bring Da Ruckus, I was hooked! Been a huge hip hop fan ever since. Shortly after that I discovered Gangstarr and DJ Premier’s production, the way he combined scratching into his beats always amazed me. My interest in scratching began back than and just continued to grow through listening to hip hop music throughout my life.
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge?
Well I had been practicing scratching everyday for about 5 months and I decided I just wanted to challenge myself to see what I could achieve in 100 days. I thought it would be a good motivation to practice and to push myself to try new techniques and learn new patterns. Seeing other School Of Scratch Students participate in the challenge and watching their progression was very inspiring, it played a major part in my desire to do the challenge. As cool as it is to watch DMC level scratching videos, as a beginner I really enjoyed watching videos from students learning because I could relate to that level of scratching, watching their videos inspired me to make my own and the 100 day challenge was a great way to do that.
What was your approach?
I didn’t have a set plan in place, I began my first few videos with basic scratches I was comfortable with and than began to try to learn some new techniques after that. I would usually record myself doing drills of different scratches over the course of a week and than do a freestyle video trying to use those techniques. I tried to work on a different scratch or timing technique each day to keep it interesting and varying the beats and samples to keep each video unique.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
I would usually practice for about 30-60 min on a specific scratch or pattern and than once I was comfortable with it I would start to record. Sometimes I would be happy with my first take, but many times I would record multiple takes and pick the best one afterwards. I would review the recordings after my practice and post my favourite each night.
What are your top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
I used a Sony HandyCam to record my videos. It has a direct audio input which was very important to me because I didn’t want to have to record audio and video separately and than try to edit them into a video. I had absolutely zero video editing experience going into this challenge so I wanted to make it as easy as possible for me. I uploaded my recorded video to my MacBook via USB and used iMovie to edit my 1min clip. I would than save the clip and upload in into Dropbox. I could than Download the video off Dropbox to my phone and upload to Instagram.
What did you learn?
I learned a variety of scratch techniques such as Joe Cooleys, Crab Scratch and Boomerangs. Also learned different timings like Triplet Timing and Swing Timing to practice with scratches I was familiar with. The biggest thing I learned was how to practice, I started out by practicing a specific scratch technique every night. So I would do baby scratch one night, than chirps the next, than transformers etc…I would spend enough time each night to see significant progress in that one technique.
The problem with this is that as I began to learn more techniques the amount of time in between practicing these techniques become longer and longer. I learned that I had to practice multiple scratch techniques every day in order to maintain them. I also learned that progress doesn’t happen in a straight line. Many times I felt during my scratch practice that it was one step forward and two steps back. One day I could do a certain technique and than the next day I couldn’t, it was very frustrating. Knowing that going through those stages is all part of the process and it takes lots of practice time and a few steps backwards before you can really develop the skill your trying to learn.
What were some of the highlights for you?
The days where everything just “clicked”. As your learning there are many days of frustration and plenty of times where you think you’ll never be able to get these scratches down or on time. Than some days it all just clicks and your doing it exactly how it’s suppose to be done. Some days your just in the zone and practice seems easy because everything is working and sounding so clean, those were the best highlights for me. You have to enjoy them because there are also days where it seems nothing is working at all…you have to take the good with the bad. Also the support from the online DJ Community was a huge highlight for me. Many people reached out to show support and encourage me along the way, it was a huge boost in confidence and motivation to keep on with the challenge.
What helped you on your way?
The feedback and motivation from Emma (DJ Short-E) was a big help in what timing and techniques I should progress to next. Again the support from the online DJ community was very helpful in knowing that people were enjoying the videos I was posting and seeing the progression. Watching videos from fellow School of Scratch students who had done the 100 day Challenge or 50 Weeks of Freestyle Challenge also helped to give me ideas about how to approach putting scratch videos together.
What didn’t work?
Putting too much pressure on myself. As I started getting close to the end of the challenge I put too much pressure on myself to make sure the last 10 videos needed to be the best ones. I thought the last ones had to be better than the previous to show that I had progressed. Overall this was a bad idea because putting that pressure on myself not only took the fun out of it but I realized my overall scratching was much worse. Once I decided to just post whatever I was practicing that particular day, I was much more relaxed and enjoying the process again.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
The most challenging part for me was how to deal with frustration. When learning a new technique I would be so determined to get it that I would spend hours practicing it. I would fight with the frustration and just keep trying and trying. Looking back I think a better approach would be to spend a little bit of time each day practicing a new technique and than move on when it becomes too frustrating. This way you can make small daily progress and over time achieve the goal rather the spend hours in frustration trying to learn something in one night.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
- Have fun with it and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
- Make the recording and editing process as quick and easy as possible.
- Vary up the beats and samples to keep things interesting.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
If I was to do it again I would give myself small weekly goals to achieve. If you look at the 100 days as a whole it seems like a hard task to say what do I want to achieve in 100 days. If you break it up and say what do I want to learn this week and give yourself a 7 day goal to achieve and than have a new goal for the next week. Over the 100 days you will reach lots of smaller goals set out for yourself rather than one big one.
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school experience been like?
The School Of Scratch experience has been amazing. The video tutorials are incredibly in depth and very easy to follow. Emma does a great job of breaking down techniques for everyone from beginners to advanced students. The online school community is very supportive and have always done a great job of answering and questions I’ve had regarding equipment or scratch techniques. It really is an awesome way to learn and be a part of DJ Culture. My favourite part of the school is the monthly Live Jams. Being able to get together online with fellow students and have a live scratch jam is a whole new element to learning and developing your skills. It’s always a positive atmosphere and really good group of people to interact with. My advice to anyone considering joining would be to sign up right away! You won’t regret it!
What is next for you?
Starting to practice with looping and scratching with both hands. My goal is to continue to practice and develop my skills and eventually work on putting together 1-2 minute routines that include scratching, mixing and beat juggling.
Where can we find you online?
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Adam! Well done again for taking part and completing this challenge! Looking forward to seeing your continued posts and progress! Thank you for your continued contribution to your fellow students in School of Scratch! See you in class!
Wanna take part in the 100 Days of Scratching Project?
You can take part in the 100 Days of Scratching project and join a group of supportive DJs here:
If you are curious about School of Scratch you can check it out here and sign up below to get 2 free lessons to get you started.
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E