Today we are celebrating School of Scratch Student Michael Hansen from Denmark, who has recently completed the 100 Days of Scratching challenge! ??❤️
Here is Michael’s 100th day post:
View this post on Instagram
Huge congrats Michael!
I asked Michael some questions to help those of you who are considering doing the 100 Days of Scratching Project.
Welcome Michael! Can you give us some background on your interest in music, DJing and scratching?
In ’86 I moved to Helsingør (a city in Denmark) and my new classmates were listening to some weird group called Public Enemy and then I was sold ?. I couldn’t paint or break like they did so I put my love into the music instead.
We wanted to try rapping so we formed one of the probably 5 first Danish rap groups, rapping in Danish and since rapping also was something I couldn’t do I turned into djing and producing.
Back then with no Youtube etc, it was kinda hard because I didn’t know anyone else who could teach me anything.
So when we went to concerts with PE, RUN DMC, LL Cool J and so on, I made my way up front so I could see what Terminator X & JMJ and other DJs were doing. So my skills were kinda limited to Baby, Drops, Forwards, Slices (I just learned the name of those now when it’s February (challenge) and of course good old Transforms with the phono / Line button.
After 5-6 years the group stopped so I didn’t really DJ that much. Back then Hiphop DJs Weren’t that big here in Helsingør. Most people hated Hiphop so I mainly played at the posse´s parties and started to do radio.
Then came a long period without my gear because I got married, lol, but after the divorce I put my gear up and I met a parent at my work who produced and had a group.
So I joined them and got back to scratching again. I also started to get some warmup jobs at concerts and was DJing at skate contests. I saw that DJ Graded had scratch lessons so I took one and then I met my new love the RANE 12, so I bought those and then I think it was Torben who told me about School of Scratch so I joined for life.
The biggest reason I joined School of Scratch (SoS) for life, is that I never had anyone to lean on to, learn from, or get feedback from, so I have never really known if I’m a good or bad scratcher.
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge?
It forces you to practice every day (well if you can every day) and as we know practice, makes better so I thought it would be a great idea to learn and improve.
What was your approach?
At first my approach was chaos when I look back because I focused on too many styles at one time, so no red line (I wonder if that’s only a Danish saying) to follow. Also, I didn’t have great recording options, but then I received advice to use the iRig and that works great.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
I turned on the gear and started practicing and when I felt it was good enough for the world, I recorded it and almost every time the red button (recording) syndrome came. So I changed my approach and started to record from the start and then I edited the recording when I was done.
What are your top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
I use iRig for recording and its really great and for editing I use iMovie on my phone.
What did you learn?
I learned to slow down and be patient. Watching my videos I learned a lot about platter control and that I tend to remove my hand “away” from platter when I do some types of scratching, so now I don’t do that so much and my cuts are better.
I learned its okay to be imperfect especially when you post videos. It’s a process and no one is perfect.
Besides those important things, I also learned to do Crabs, Joe Cooleys, my Flares got getter, everything I practiced got better and my weak hand improved.
What were some of the highlights of the 100 day project for you?
The highlights is how much we support each other in School of Scratch. When you post a video and the other DJs comment on it, it pushes me / you / us further the right way and makes us better at scratching.
Also how much you can learn just by scratching 10-15 minutes a day instead of 1 hour once a week.
The biggest moment was when Joe Cooley himself started to follow me and wrote that he likes my cuts. I know its kinda silly for a man in my age lol but I have loved his work from day one so it meant a lot and made me push harder.
What helped you on your way?
Emma did. The 100 days of Scratching tips sheet she created in the resource pack for students really helped.
And to see the other DJs doing it and the support we give each other.
What didn’t work?
At first my brain didn’t work because it wanted to do everything all at once. After I started to focus on one thing at time it got a lot better.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
It was the recording bit. I felt like I had to “invent” a new thing every day so my videos didn’t get boring.
I mean one click flares day 1 and day 2 is almost the same, so I felt like it had to be boring for people to look at.
It took some time but then I started to use it in a positive way. I used it to challenge myself with increasing BPM or changing to weak hand, double tempo and so and that actually made me improve more.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
- Don’t be afraid to look “bad” on video – The feedback and love you get from the DJ community is amazing.
- Never be afraid to ask for help – Like number 1, the support you get are amazing.
- Focus on one maybe two styles all the time – If you focus on too many, it’s hard to feel the progress and that might “kill” the joy.
- Do the School of Scratch monthly practice challenge – It helped me to stay focused on one or two things.
- Start recording when you start practice and then edit recordings after – After 1-2 minutes you forget the camera is recording and then you are more relaxed and it kills the red button syndrome.
- When you feel like you’re not making progress, go back and look at your first videos and see where you were back then.
- Most important is to remember to have fun and enjoy it. It’s better to miss a day or two than feel forced to do it.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
I would probably use the advice I came up with and that would probably make it more relaxed next time.
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school and learning experience been like?
It’s an amazing community and the people there are great. I wish I had something like that in ’86 The way Emma has built the School up is great and the webpage is so easy to use. The best thing is the tutorial and masterclass videos. Emma explains it so easy and simple so all levels can follow her.
How do you approach ongoing learning and staying fresh?
I’m going to keep practicing what I have learned so far and I will learn more new stuff with the School of Scratch monthly practice challenges.
Do you have any wisdom on learning that you can share with our students?
It’s been said many times from you, others and me too. Take it slow and you will progress fast.
What is next for you?
Slices are next for me in the School of Scratch February challenge.
When Covid is gone I looking forward to get out there and do some cuts and mixing.
In 2020 I joined DMC Denmark (oldest DJ to compete ever in Denmark) for the first time and I will be there again in 2021 even if I know I can’t win.
Where can we find you online?
- The instagram where I post videos related to School of Scratch: @michaels_schoolsofscratch
- Main instagram account: @playsthebeat
Is there anything else you want to add?
A big thanks to Emma for making this possible for all the people around the world who want to learn. Also a big thanks to all the people in the DJ community both in SoS but also out there online and real life, who support each other. Cut it up!
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Michael! Thanks for sharing your story with us! That’s some history right there!
Thank you for being part of our Supa Scratch Crew. Looking forward to seeing your continued progress!
About 100 Days of Scratching
100 Days of Scratching is a project I started and completed (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.
Michael joins fellow School of Scratch Students aka the Supa Scratch Crew: Nick Diablo, Jairo, Mike Marble, Ouille, D Supreme, Robert, Jenny Pocket, Eric Spindler, Roli Rho, Andrei, Jaden, Molino, Jamie, Jerry, Alina, Toby, Jay Rakim, Vanessa, Julian, Crystal, Smallimus, Allexia, Thomas, Ashley, Adam, Erick, Magnus, Roly G and Denise who have all completed the 100 Days of Scratching project. What an amazing crew of creators!
Wanna take part in the 100 Days of Scratching Project?
You can take part in the 100 Days of Scratching project and join our group of supportive DJs here:
Join the 100 Days of Scratching Challenge
If you are curious about learning with 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