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Skratch Theory Lesson on Swing

It's amazing how just a bit of swing can change everything. This was the first of the "Skratch Theory" concepts that blew my mind. I'd been skratching pretty consistently for around 9 years when I submitted my first video to Qbert for his review back in 2009. Qbert Skratch University was still under construction - the lessons had all been recorded, the website had been built, but it hadn't been launched to the public. Lucky for me, as an integral insider at ArtistWorks, I had access to everything. So when it came time to test out the new Video Exchange system, I was actually the first person to get video feedback from Qbert. It was a humbling experience to say the least.

qsu logo - oldI submitted a short video of me practicing the OG Flare skratch, something I'd been unsure about for years, and waited for Qbert's feedback. This was a very important step in getting QSU off the ground. In fact, it was the crux of the entire ArtistWorks model: get personalized advice from a master about how to progress on your instrument.

To someone like myself who learned how to skratch in social isolation (I was the only one I knew into skratching), this sort of feedback is priceless. The fact that the feedback would be coming from DJ Qbert, who had been an inspiration to me ever since I was 13, was almost too good to be true. But sure enough, there it was - my first Video Exchange with DJ Qbert, also made available to the rest of the QSU community to see (who were all just the original beta testers at that point). 

Qbert's advice to me (after confirming that I was doing the OG Flare correctly), was to "swing it more". He then demonstrated the difference between skratching with swing vs. no swing. You can see this in the short video above. It was something I'd never really thought about, but something I'll never forget. By adding swing, which was easy once I became aware of it, my cuts instantly improved.

QSU officially opened shortly after, and once students started joining, videos began pouring in - and so did Qbert's video responses. As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who was struggling to find their inner swing. I started seeing the same issue from students all around the world, and Q's advice about incorporating swing into their flow seemed to resonate with people. It got them to think outside the box about their skratching, focusing less on skratching for skratching's sake - and more on the overall sound of their flow.  

Soon Qbert decided to add a new section the curriculum called Skratch Theory to focus on the these musical aspects of skratching, as opposed to the mechanical (which he already covered in the curriculum extensively of course). We filmed a series of new lessons around the theme of Skratch Theory (read more about that here), which is an advanced concept because it can only be applied once you master the specific hand/fader movements of the individual skratches. The section keeps growing as Q continues to identify more skratch theories all the time! It's the Why and When as opposed to the How..

So When and Why should you use swing? Swing it whenever you want to...because it sounds funky! How much or how little is all up to you, and remember that swing is just one of the many tools in your skratch toolbox. The more tools you learn the better you'll be able to express yourself through your flow. And finding your own unique way of flowing is what skratching is all about!

Related Blogs:

qbert skratch university

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