The Beginner’s Guide to becoming a DJ
Being a DJ is a lot more than queuing up a great playlist.
While you might think you have great taste in music, cracking into the industry is very difficult, because everyone and their dog wants to be a DJ.
If you ask any successful DJ (and they are as rare as hen’s teeth), they’ll tell you it took them many years and a lot of hard work to get where they are today. If the low chance of succeeding and all the years of work doesn’t put you off, then read on to find some tips about becoming a DJ.
Practice every day
The difference between being one of the horde of mediocre DJs out there and being a pro that people actively seek out to employ really comes down to how dedicated you are. If you practice irregularly, you’re not going to fall into the prior group – practice religiously everyday regardless of how you feel or how inspired you are and you’re on well on the road to being one of the best.
Don’t just practice the same set either. Mix it up. Work on specific skills like scratching and juggling genres of music you are not familiar with, so your ability as a DJ becomes more rounded and diverse.
I recommend recording every session you do. Not only will it make you take your practice sets seriously, but it will give you the ability to listen over what you’ve done and to help identify ways you can improve. Share your recorded mixes with other people and get feedback. If you can’t handle a little productive criticism, you’re never going to make it in this industry.
Watch other DJs
If you want to be a DJ you should be going out to listen to others play. It will get the inspiration juices flowing and who knows, it might give you ideas for tracks (but don’t just rip off their routine).
Learn the basic skills
In order to be a competent DJ, you will need to learn a range of skills. We are going to cover a couple here briefly, but you should be proactive and go and do some research of your own. Read guides, ask other DJs to show you, and practice like a demon possessed until you can confidently perform these skills without thinking about it.
Beatmatching – This is when you get two tracks you’re mixing to play at the same tempo. Some people say it is a redundant skill because you can synch tempos with software packages, but I believe learning how to do things manually will make you a better DJ.
Phrasing – Phrasing is when you blend tracks together at point where the musical phrases match, making the transitioning between two songs seamless. Although you can do this with an auto sync function, it is nowhere near effective as doing it manually. Phrasing is a skill you need to master if you want to be a great DJ.
DJ in public
DJing is a performance. Like any performance, no amount of practicing behind closed doors will prepare you for playing in front of an audience. Your practice sessions might go smoothly, but wait until you get nervous and scores of drunk people yell at you to play their favourite songs – it’s a different ball game altogether. The jump from amateur to pro will only come from logging a lot of hours in front of people.
Jump at every opportunity to perform. At a friend’s party, a wedding, the local bar etc. Any experience counts and will help you transform into a veteran of the DJ scene.
The crew at DC productions hope this guide has been helpful to the inspiring DJs out there. If you have a gig coming up and need to hire DJ equipment, contact one of our experienced team and we will sort you out with one of our premium products.