How To DJ: The Basics

shutterstock_125397836A good DJ can turn a party or event from a dud into the time of your life. It’s no wonder that so many people are interested in learning how to do it – it gives you the power to use your passion for music to improve other people’s lives! Whether you plan to work as a professional DJ or just  learn the skills to DJ parties for friends and family, it’s a great way to convert your love and knowledge of music into an exciting hobby, and to learn even more on the way.

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However, some people aren’t sure where to begin. You’ve done a lot of practicing at home and are maybe thinking about investing more time and money into DJ-ing – but what next? These tips will help you figure out the most important things to focus on as you embark on your journey to improve your DJ skills.

1. Figure out your specialty

If you’re thinking about DJ-ing as a job, think about the type of gig you’d like to work. Some people love doing weddings and office parties, while other people opt for clubs. For more generic parties and weddings, it’s usually best to have a smattering of popular music, new and old, that will please any crowd. If you’re focusing in on clubs, decide whether your specialty will be house music, hip-hop, jazz, etc. – there is a need for all kinds of DJs out there, you just have to figure out which music style is your forte.

2. Start with the basic equipment

Most DJs will need the following equipment:

  • Two turntables
  • Headphones
  • A mixer

Some DJs or clubs will want you to mix on a laptop with mixing software, so that is something to consider as well. But you can decide which one you prefer and, as long as you have your own equipment, it’s likely that you can bring it with you to any gigs you have. You may want to wait on spending a lot of money on equipment until you improve your skills and decide where your areas of interest lie. DJ equipment can get super expensive and you can keep augmenting and accessorizing until you run through your whole bank account! So be careful and stay within your budget until you’re sure you’re ready to invest in top-quality equipment.

 3. Study up on successful DJs

A good place to start learning is to listen to DJs that have achieved popularity. Whether you like them or not, it’s good to be informed on what other people in your field are doing. Listen to the types of songs they mix into one another, and how they play to their crowds. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people for tips either! People love to help others who are starting out in their field.

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4. Learn Mixing Techniques

The basics of mixing techniques involves keeping a constant beat while transitioning songs. This is known as your BPM (beats per minute) and keeping these steady will ensure a smooth mix from song to song. However easy or complex your mixes are, it’s important to make a seamless transition so that the music keeps going without any pauses or silence. You’ll want to spend time listening to the beginnings and ends of songs (intros and outros) as they are often different from the middle and will have more impact on how you’re able to mix them. Just make sure you always have a second song cued up once a song is playing so that you can fade one into the other.

It can take some time to learn and to pick up the intricacies of DJ-ing, especially if you’re planning to use mixing software, but Udemy offers lots of courses to help you get on your way! Here are a few that might interest you: