We all do it – we compare ourself against other DJs, and even against others outside of the DJ world.
“His chirps are way better than mine! Her stabs are so much cleaner than mine!”
Comparison is usually a recipe for instant discouragement and stress, so we must become aware of it and put it in check immediately!
Comparison is the thief of joy.
– Theodore Roosevelt
Photo Credit: VibrantLivingProject.com
It is great to see that the DJ community is maturing and becoming more aware of the underlying mindset necessary for a fulfilling (DJ) life.
As an example I recently saw this article on the topic of success, which also references comparison:
I recommend taking 5 minutes to read it. Guaranteed feel good juice to fuel your next scratch session!
Measure your own successes against Yesterday’s You!
If you are better today, than you were yesterday, then you are successful.
Photo Credit: LiveLifeHappy.com
An example of putting this philosophy into practice happens within the School of Scratch. We now have a new monthly prize draw video contest. The difference is that we are competing against ourselves, not each other. To be in with a chance of winning (a $20 Turntable Lab gift certificate), members simply create a video performing the months chosen scratch technique, then post it in the community forum. Anyone that posts a video is automatically entered into the prize draw. This encourages the spirit of having a go and attempting something without the pressure of competition. We reward participation and competing against yourself. You are not judged on your skill level or execution. You are encouraged no matter what level. It is only by doing this and getting comfortable with feedback that you will improve.
I personally sometimes fall into the comparison trap when I am creating tutorials for the School. It’s tempting to watch other tutorials to see how others explain, but more often then not I end up comparing my tutor skills and doubt what I am doing. Not good for me or my awesome students!
I’m slowly learning that the tutorials that get the best responses in the School are the ones where I create and express from my heart, putting my own unique spin on techniques and how to learn them. I might still watch some other tutorials to make sure that I haven’t left anything obvious out, but after watching them, I try to put as much distance between them and myself as possible, before I begin my own creation process. The world doesn’t need another rehashed explanation, it needs to hear how I can break it down and give you insights to help you learn it more easily.
Honestly, I’ve sometimes doubted my tutorials – they can be much longer than the average tutorial, but this is what makes them different. I go into detail and draw out the points that will make it as simple as possible for you to get going.
I encourage my students to learn everything but then put their own spin on it and experiment, not do exactly what I do.
We can draw much inspiration from other creative people outside of the DJ world.
I love James Victore’s School of Design, Rule# 1:
First learn everything. Then forget it. Then design.
Sometimes we want to learn and perform the same scratches and combos in the same way as other DJs.
Why not just create your own? Bring your own unique take to existing scratches and combos.
Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.
– Brenda Ueland
Top Tips for Reducing Comparisons
- By all means watch others but put some distance between you and them before you start scratching.
- Close YouTube, Twitter and Facebook (and your phone).
- Scratch by yourself, before you start watching others.
- Use new beats that you haven’t heard anyone scratching on.
- Record your scratches and watch them back to give you more ideas.
- Be around other people who encourage your growth and individuality as a DJ rather than competing or even comparing you against others.
- Create don’t compete!
I’ll leave you with one more quote:
Photo Credit: BeHappy.me
If you appreciate the concepts in this article and want to learn more about the art of scratching within an environment of supportive and like-minded DJs, consider joining School of Scratch.
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E