Starting a DJ career can feel overwhelming, especially if you are unsure where to begin. There is so much information out there, and before you know it, you are down a DJing rabbit hole. To avoid that, here is a list of tips and tricks to help you get started right.
This is the most important tip. If you want to be a DJ only for fame or money, you can just stop reading now. Being a DJ is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, practice, and dedication. But if you do it for the love of great music, you will push on even when things get difficult.
Loving the music you play will help you play music with a passion.
Choosing your equipment can be exciting and daunting at the same time, mainly because the wrong equipment will affect your craft. Thankfully, Channeldj.com has detailed reviews on various DJ equipment and will guide you in the right direction.
Furthermore, do not skimp on your headphones. Quality headphones will enhance your skills.
Now that you have gotten the right equipment takes time to understand what each button and knob does. I know you are eager to play around with your set up but read the manual first. Once you understand the basics, start with a few buttons and knobs and scale up from there.
Breaking down the learning process will help you know which features can make your mixes better. Experts recommend starting with one song and playing it on loop as you test your gear.
Watch out for any red lights that may pop up on your equipment. Find out what they mean and fix it to avoid mediocre sound quality or damage.
The art of track selection is something every DJ should learn. You can start your track selection with music you are familiar with and music that makes you happy. You can then explore different genres and experiment.
To discover different music, browse different streaming services and listen to your local radio. This will help you grow your audience base.
The music you know will inform your setlist.
There are basic techniques that every DJ should know, some of which include:
- Beatmatching. Beatmatching is matching two tracks that play at the same tempo and phase.
- EQ mixing. In a nutshell, EQ mixing involves adjusting frequencies to ensure that your mixes are smoother. The technique is dependent on the type of mixer you have, so take time learning your EQ mixer.
- Phrasing. Phrasing or stage matching helps you understand the structure of songs and how to smoothly transition from one track to another in your mixes.
- Crossfading. This refers to the smooth transition from one track to another.
- Harmonic mixing or mixing in keys will help take your DJing skills to the next level. Even though there is software to help you do this, understanding which tracks go together is best learned through the ear.
Practice the techniques you are learning. You cannot grow a skill without practicing it. Spend time going over what you are learning, and before you know it, you will be able to do it in your sleep.
Learn to prepare your setlist before your gig; the earlier, the better. In fact, it is better to create more than one setlist. This will give you room to adjust it if you need to change anything and remove any guesswork on the day of the set.
Also, understanding the expectations of your audience will help you prepare the right setlist. Before your gig, make a list of anything you may need so that you are not caught unawares.
Your DJ software should enable you to record your sets. This is a great way to know what you sound like. You can also share your sets with a friend to get some honest feedback. Be open to the feedback you get.
Learn how to engage your audience and get them to enjoy your music. This is a skill that you shouldn’t undermine. Each audience is different, and you can learn how to read your audience within the first few minutes of your set.
When you get feedback from your audience, acknowledge it and learn what you can.
Youtube tutorials are an amazing learning tool. You can learn anything from how to use your equipment to different techniques.
You can also learn from other DJs by listening to different mixes, especially from DJs who have a similar sound to yours or those with sounds you would like to try. This will help you gauge where you stand and see what else you can incorporate.
Another way to grow yourself is to talk with different DJs to better understand the industry and hear their experiences. This will help you gain a 360° view of DJing.
Once you learn these things, you can choose a specific niche and become a club DJ, scratch DJ, mobile DJ, wedding DJ, or house party DJ. However, these should not limit you. The world is your oyster, and you can choose what you want.
Above all, have fun! Your audience will know if you are having a good time or not and can pick up on your energy. Do not get too hung up on your mistakes. Instead, learn from them and make adjustments where necessary. Be kind to yourself as you learn.