When I practice, I usually start and end with this exact thing. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for my whole training session.. just depends on my mood, but every time I sit at the controller to practice, I use this technique. I learned it from videos from DJ Carlo Atendido. I agree it's much easier to pick up changes when the songs are the same and you know what is coming and what you're listening for.Littletreeguy... The part Pro said about trying to mix 2 of the same songs and messing with it with minor adjustments is some of the best advice. You learn so much from this simple excercise.
I really appreciate everyone's advice. As a beginner mobile dj, I still worry that I'm not doing "enough". I play at a bar regularly, I've played a few private parties I've booked, and I've played a few songs while working as a "roadie" with other DJ's. I aspire to be a hobby-level mobile DJ. Private parties, some bar work, maybe 10 or so weddings a year. I guess part of my dj education is to remember that even if the mixes or transitions become a little stale to me, if the crowd is happy, that's what really matters.
Speaking to the customer service comments. I consider myself very fortunate that some of my first jobs presented me with managers that were EXTREMELY customer service oriented. While times have changed, a lot of what I was taught early on still applies. I now work in a highly technical and highly computerized industry. I've seen both sides and fully agree that while technology can make things really easy, there still has to be a level of comfortable, reassuring customer service there.
Thank you all very much... you've given me a lot to think about.