First off, learning how to be a DJ (Disc Jockey) is not as easy as it looks and it takes a tremendous amount of dedication. A DJ is someone who mixes recorded music together,usually with a sound system, for an audience or client. Theres different kinds of DJs so just know, that’s not the entire definition of what a DJ is. It’s worth it to know, a lot of people whom want to become a DJ never fully become one, because they do not fully comprehend what it takes to be a great DJ. Not only do you have to dedicate a decent amount of money into gear, but you need to spend a great amount of time into improving your mixing skills, knowledge of music, crowd reading skills, style, timing, DJ contacts, booking agents, and clientele. In this extremely informative article, we explain exactly how to start pursuing a DJ career. In fact, we go over basic DJ gear you need to start, knowledge you must possess, actions you must take, and basic DJ skills you must acquire to gain enough confidence to become more than you could have ever imagined…a professional DJ!
So, what are the steps you need to take in order to become a DJ?
- Learn what kind of DJ you want to be & mentally prepare yourself
- Learn about DJ software, mixing basics, & about the DJ culture
- Invest in DJ Equipment
- Make Friends With DJs. Study their style & music selection
- Study all genres of music & familiarize yourself
- Buy music, borrow music, & organize music
- Practice beat matching as much as possible
- Learn from as many people as you possibly can
- Start getting gigs
- Create a business name |website |business card | & self promote/advertise
If you’re just thinking about becoming a DJ and you’re not sure yet, be sure to check out 6 Reasons Why You Should Start Djing.
Seriously, even if you have to spend your weekends applying these steps because you have to work all week (like I did), in the end, it will be well worth the sacrifice of your time & effort!
As an example, I went from working 40+ hours a week working my ass off in a hot warehouse, driving a forklift, and lifting heavy boxes everyday to working 6 to 8 hours a week DJing. Oh, and yes, I was able to make the same amount of money…
Now, imagine if you could DJ 40 hours a week! 🙂
So, without being a further waste of your time, here are your 10 tips on How To Be a DJ:
1) Learn what kind of DJ you want to be & what it takes to mentally prepare yourself:
First of all, there are several different kinds of DJs out there. Basically, you got club DJs, mobile DJs, producer DJs, radio DJs, & turntablist competition DJs. In fact, check out a post I wrote, Different types of DJs | What Kind of DJ Do You Want To Be? I explain the different types of DJs and give details about each one.
Different types of DJs & a brief description
It’s important to know that each type of DJ has a different approach to learning how to be that type of DJ. In the following paragraphs, I’m going to give you a brief description of each type of DJ. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of which type of DJ you want to become. Also, this post is geared more towards how to be a mobile DJ, or club DJ, because the other DJs have a little different strategy behind becoming that DJ as I explain below.
Club DJs play whatever type of music the club wants them to play and it’s usually a lot of upbeat songs with build ups. In fact, there are a lot of different club owners with different visions of what kind of music they want their customers to listen to when they’re enjoying themselves at their club. Some clubs may want you to play more of an electronic / dance set all night and may want you to stay away from certain genres where as another club may want you to only play hip hop music all night.
Regardless, the path to becoming a club DJ still involves most of the steps in this post. However, learning how to become a club DJ requires you to keep a crowd dancing all night long with extremely well-mixed songs that have little room for mixing errors. Usually, club DJs just plug into a sound system and do not need an entire DJ setup as a mobile DJ would need.
Mobile DJs are an entire different breed of DJ compared to a club DJ. In fact, mobile DJs travel to the clients location of choice and it’s up to the DJ to ensure with the client they have a proper location to setup their DJ equipment. Mobile DJs that are extremely skilled at mixing and knowing how to keep a crowd dancing all night long benefit well with plenty of gigs from weddings, proms, birthdays, sweet 16s, corporate events, etc. Mobile DJs can self promote to find their own gigs or sub-contract through booking agents who own a DJ company. Usually, mobile DJs have their clients sign a contract to ensure payment will be paid in full and music services will be performed on a specific date, or they sign a contract given to them by their booking agent.
Producer DJs use a software program such as Abelton Live to rework songs with different beats or create new sounds all together. For example, Skrillex is a producer DJ whom electronically installs unique sounds into a DAW to create really cool and intriguing beats that can get a certain crowd dancing. Also, producer DJs flutter Youtube with their newest remixed hit and many create a living adding their dance beats to a well remixed hit song. If you’re a technical wiz and have a lot of creativity up your sleeve, and don’t really like being in the spotlight, this kind of DJ might be for you.
Radio DJs are much harder to become and it takes a lot of schooling. In fact, a lot of radio stations won’t accept your application unless you’ve had some sort of college degree or complete an undergraduate program. Some radio DJs need a lot of professional mixing skills for certain radio stations. Usually, some radio DJs have a strong voice and host shows on a daily basis. They make announcements for advertisers and pre-prep content for the show everyday.
Turntablist Competition DJ
I believe you’ve heard of this kind of DJ before. These types of DJs have an extensive amount of knowledge in the spinning arts of mixing music, blending, performing on the fly mixes using effects, looping, and best of all, scratching. Competitions are held all over the world for these types of DJs every year and you can start practicing right in your bedroom every night to become this kind of DJ. Brush up on the history of scratch DJs and you’ll enter a whole new world of music. Any kind of DJ has an appreciation for these types of DJs because it takes a lot of hard work and practice to master the arts scratching!
What do you need to know about music?
Before you become a DJ, you should know about the main music genres most people like to listen to, the top 100 hits of the current year in each genre, and top hits from the past in each genre. Also, you’re not always going to be playing top hits, so it’s wise to categorize your songs appropriately into playlists. For example, your top pop dance songs and your dinner playlist should be separate! Likewise, your top pop dance song playlist should be separate from your go-to pop song playlist.
How many songs do you need for a full DJ set?
Next, after identifying your genres, it’s time to start listening to a wide variety of music to study it. How do you know you have enough music? Well, lets break it down. Usually, the average song is three minutes long. Keep in mind, DJs don’t always let the entire track play and usually only play about a minute or two of the best parts of the song. So, if your performing for a 4 hour party and you’re only playing each song for a max of 2 minutes, then you’ll need about 120 songs for your set. Your not going to play dance hits the entire time are you? These are questions you will start to ask yourself!
If you want to play a one-hour set, only playing each track for 2 minutes each, you’ll need around thirty tracks. Also, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of your songs, knowing where to mix in and out, setting cue points with your mixing software (we will talk about this later), and the best parts of the song. Think about it! You don’t want to mix out of a song and into another one and have the crowd look at you funny because you didn’t let the best part of the song play! Listen to your tracks before time!
How long do you need to spend researching music?
Music is an ever-changing industry and you will always need to study music in order to keep up with the newest hits and dance trends. However, all the songs of the past, no matter what genre, will only need to be learned and categorized in the correct playlist once. At least once a week, you need to find new music and spend your time and money on purchasing it. Also, when listening to music, be sure to listen for all the natural transitions in the songs between the chorus and the verse or the chorus and the bridge. These transitions are important to the blending process we will talk about soon.
One sure thing that can make learning new songs easy is listening to them while you’re on-the-go. You can try signing up for a popular music streaming service and download their software app on your phone to listen to music while driving, running errands, or at the gym. For example, they have Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Tidal, Pandora, Deezer, Google Play Music, Qobuz, Primephonic, Amazon Music, and iHeartRadio. Usually, these apps allow you to save songs to your own playlists. In fact, you can label and save different playlists to organize each song you discover.
How do you mentally prepare yourself to be a DJ?
Next, before we get into the other steps, I want to explain a few ways you can mentally prepare and assure yourself you can learn how to be a DJ. In fact, you’ve probably asked these questions before in your head, but never out loud to someone experienced enough to answer them correctly. Many people ask the question, “is DJing hard to learn”? Well, in the following paragraphs, I will answer this question and many other typical questions people ask about becoming a DJ.
Is DJing Hard to Learn?
Now, if you’ve ever wanted to become a DJ and learn what it takes to light up a crowd with your mixing skills,
then you’ve probably wondered, is djing hard to learn? The answer is no, especially now, with technological advancements. You can learn how to mix through phone apps or just by using only a laptop and a DJ software program. However, to become a good DJ requires dedication, a lot of practice, an extensive knowledge of music, and crowd reading skills,. You also need the basic DJ equipment, the standard technical understanding of basic DJ terminology, & you need to know some basic DJ techniques.
Therefore, if you want to grow to be among the most recognized DJ’s in the world like The Chainsmokers, Marshmello, or Martin Garrix, your dream is 100% valid. I may not be able to teach you how to be as good as them, but I will teach you how to get started in the right direction!
How long does it take to learn how to DJ?
Now that you know becoming a DJ isn’t hard, the next thing you’ve probably pondered is the amount of time it takes to learn how to DJ. If your goal is to be a DJ that gets a crowd dancing as soon as you hit the stage, you will need plenty of practice and time to hone your skills to gain the experience necessary.
Becoming a decent DJ takes between three months to several years depending on certain factors. In fact, you need to invest a lot of time learning how to mix properly, learning all the top hits in each music genre, learning what songs to play during certain moods (especially dance time), memorizing tempos to certain songs, gaining confidence using a mic, making announcements, being under pressure, being well coordinated, learning song selection, crowd reading skills, and most importantly how to have fun behind the decks. If you aren’t fully invested in DJing, then you’ll take longer to learn.
Let me be honest, there is no exact period of learning how to DJ. Different types of DJs take different times to learn their skills. However, the vast majority of DJs that end up being successful use the time frame we’ve stated to work on their expertise. The skills that you learn as a DJ also determine how well you can obtain information, acknowledge it, and memorize it.
2 ) Learn about DJ software, the basics of mixing, & about the DJ culture:
DJ software allows you to mix music by plugging your DJ controller, or turntables, to your computer. Most importantly, you need a computer that’s compatible with the DJ software you intend to use. DJ software allows you to mix, edit, & mashup music on the fly. Nowadays, with most of the popular DJ softwares on the market, you can record your mixes and listen for errors to improve your mixing skills. Usually, when you purchase a new DJ controller or mixer, it will come with a compatible DJ software license you can use to activate your DJ software. That’s right, you don’t even need DJ hardware to download DJ software to your computer!
This step is just as important as having all the DJ equipment your going to need that we can talk about later. In fact, I will go without saying a lot of the DJ controllers you can buy on the market today usually come with some sort of DJ software. In addition to having the equipment, you need to learn how to use it!
So, there are 4 main DJ mixing softwares TheDJpro recommends. Each DJ software program is unique in its own way! In the paragraphs below, I’m going to explain each one with a brief description. Always remember when purchasing a DJ controller you must see what DJ software is compatible with that certain controller. Also, each software can be downloaded and installed on your computer without having any extra equipment, but in order to use these programs to there full potential, you will need DJ equipment. Be sure to check out a post I wrote about the 3 main DJ mixing Softwares, where I go into great detail about each software. In the meantime, here is a brief description on 4 well known DJ softwares…
Serato DJ Pro:
Serato DJ Pro is one of the most popular DJ mixing programs on the market today and this software has state of the art features that work perfectly with a tremendous amount of compatible mixers, MIDI controllers, & Serato accessories. In fact, Serato DJ is my favorite mixing software out of all of the DJ softwares I’ve used and it’s the number 1 DJ software I recommend to anyone! Serato DJ Pro is the full version of the software allowing you full access to all of the Serato DJ Pro features, where as the Serato DJ Lite software limits the amount of features you can perform with, but it’s FREE! In fact, you can go to their website and download the Serato DJ Lite version right now and start practicing on your computer!!
Rekordbox is now a cloud-connected DJ platform which allows you pull music from any cloud-connected device and use it with Rekordbox software to mix, edit, and perform. This DJ software program is on it’s way to some pretty remarkable things considering where it already is and with Pioneer backing it up, Rekordbox is on it’s way to being one of the best! Rekordbox has monthly payment plans for their software which allow you to do some pretty cool stuff such as connecting to stored music on the cloud and export mode which allows you to export a playlist to a USB and use it with some Pioneer CDJs. Trust me, theres a lot more features I haven’t mentioned, but go check out the Rekordbox website to see more!
Traktor Pro is another well known DJ software program a lot of DJs use for mixing. As of now, the current release is Traktor Pro 3. There are a few different features this software program has that stand out such as the stems view which splits tracks into different channels and allows you to focus on track elements independently such as bass, vocals, drums, and the melody of any track. This allows you to perform some really cool mixes! Also, many well known DJ controllers are only compatible with Traktor Pro software.
Virtual DJ is extremely popular due to it’s DJ software allowing you to mix without decks or turntables. In fact, I’ve personally seen DJs rock a party using Virtual DJ and it allows you to set up an entire set before hand and automatically mix for you. All you have to do it hit pause or play, but this isn’t for everyone. In fact, I’d say Virtual DJ is more for mobile MC DJs who are more in tuned with the microphone by getting a crowd to follow their lead usually with games and activities. This way, you don’t have to mix and stay close to the decks and this program allows you to use your hands more freely. Check out the Virtual DJ website for more information.
Of course, there are plenty more DJ software programs on the market today that are making it big such as djay Pro and Mixxx.
What do I need to know about Blending?
Blending is the term used when DJs mix two songs together using EQ knobs on a DJ mixer with a DJ mixing software program. the fastest and most straightforward way to learn how to blend is by watching others in the process. The primary thing you do when blending is adjusting the high frequency, mid frequency, & low frequency knobs, as well as the faders on each channel, to fade in one track while fading out another track. Blending works best when vocals are just ending on one song and vocals are just beginning on the next song, or when one song isn’t playing vocals at all and the other song is just instruments.
Blending songs with vocals on each track at the wrong moments will sound like a disaster when the beats or vocals from the two different tracks start to clash. Then, you’ll see your crowd cringing and that’s the last thing you need is a cringing audience when your performing your heart out.
What is Gain Control?
Gain control knobs are on all DJ mixers and they’re used to adjust the volume of your audio output to a suitable amplitude. Usually, each channel will have dedicated gain control knobs as well as a master gain control knob. Typically, the mixer will have a meter on it that will show you if your gain control is in the red, but if it doesn’t, then you’ll have to find it in your DJ software program to make sure your not clipping in the red.
What is EQing?
Equalizing, or Equing, has to do with amplifying or removing frequencies to blend tracks together. Basically, Equing is blending. Of course, you can beatmatch two tracks together and use your crossfader (left to right) to bring in the next track and call it a mix, but using EQ knobs and adjusting them accordingly so that the mix blends more smoothly is a more professional approach to mixing. Stay with me, I’ll break this all down for you real nice…
What do I need to know about Beatmatching?
Beatmatching is the main core skill of every DJ. Beatmatching refers to the adjustment of the next track’s tempo to match the pace of the song that’s playing. To dumb it down, beatmatching just means your adjusting tempos to make the songs play at the same exact time! In fact, when the two tracks are playing at a similar speed, the crowd won’t easily notice the transitions, and when you start sneaking in their favorite songs back to back, you’ll keep them going all night long. Beatmatching is how you control and maintain the energy of your sets when DJing. Remember, beatmatching is an art based on skill and your learning time depends on how much practice you put into mastering this skill.
What do I need to know about Mixing in Key?
Every song you’ve ever heard can be measured by its mood, or key, of the song. Now a days, mostly all mixing software can detect the key of a song and display it for you in the program. It’s important to know that certain keys can mix with other key sounds and there are keys that don’t mix well at all. This helps to build energy and control it on the dance floor. Your job as a DJ is to learn these keys and what keys mix with others. Once you figure this out, your professional mixing skills will be much more noticeable. Check out Digital DJ Tips to learn more about mixing in key!
Learning about Tempo / BPM
Even more, There are an enormous amount of songs with different tempos (BPM). The tempo is the measurement of speed, or pace, of a beat. Tempo is measured by the beats per minute, or BPM, of the track. Slow songs have low BPMs and fast songs have higher BPMS. For that reason, your job as a DJ is to start taking mental notes of these tempos (BPMs). Think of these tempos as your keys to unlock the dance floor.
In fact, you will start to generate a mental list in your head of what songs have the same Tempos. If you want to learn how to be a DJ, and I mean a PROFESSIONAL DJ, this is going to help you tremendously!
That’s What I’m Talking About!
Tempo Interval break down
To demonstrate, here is a rough draft of tempo intervals & what to know about each one:
30-60 Beats Per Minute = Very Slow Dance Tempo:
Songs below 60 BPM are very slow. These songs are only played when you see a lot of couples on the dance floor. Rarely, do these songs ever get played more than twice during a gig unless you notice your crowd is really digging the slow dances!
60-80 Beats Per Minute = Slow Dance & Chill Out Head Bop Music
Firstly, Every song you listen to in this BPM range needs to be evaluated and put into the group playlist it belongs to. This is so you can access them on the fly! Remember, There are plenty of hit songs that are in this tempo range that will get a certain crowd dancing.
90-110 Beats Per Minute = Some Chill but Mostly Dance Music
These mid-range tempos should be used to build up the tempo until people are full out dancing! 110 BPM to 115BPM. Then 115 BPM to 120 BPM. The energy of this tempo range can vary depending on the mood of the song so organize your music!
110-160 Beats Per Minute = Very Little Chill, Mostly Dance Music, & Fast-Pace Dancing
This tempo range is where you’re going to spend a lot of time trying to master. Especially when you start DJing for people and you get your first dance floor!
Additionally, songs in the 60-80 BPM tempo range can vary having different moods. Usually, songs from the 60-70 BPM range are the more popular slow dance songs because they have more energy to their rhythms (they’re faster!).
Also, songs with tempo ranges from 70-80 BPM are slow but they’re usually perfect for when people are eating dinner or just relaxing. Remember, Their are plenty of hit songs that are in this tempo range that will get the dance floor going so be careful not to ruin the vibes!
More Examples of Mixing with Tempos
Another example, lets say you have a dance floor that’s packed because you threw on a Top 40 dance song that has a BPM of 120. Awesome dude!
Now, lets say you decide to mix into a 60 BPM song. The energy level is going to drop tremendously. Actually, you might even get a couple of bad looks.
Note: Even though 60 BPM & 120 BPM are so far away, these beats still match!
To explain, by the time the 60 BPM song plays 1 bar, the 120 BPM song plays 2 bars. This is because it’s twice as fast!
Although, you can do some really cool mixes jumping tempos like this, you really want to gradually mix songs that are close in BPM. This is the best way to gradually bring down the energy of a dance floor! Then, you can work your way back up.
Learn more about Beatmatching
I’ve written a post covering the basics of how to mix. It’s called , “Beat Matching Made Simple“, so be sure to check it out!
I recommend learning about the DJ culture by studying professional DJs, their mixes, and what songs their mixing with. You need to start studying their techniques and mixing strategies.
Study the DJ culture!
Google search all the top DJs and start listening to their mixes. Sound Cloud, Youtube, & many other Social Media Platforms are full of mixes you can listen to. Study each DJs style and find a DJ you really like. If you’re going to make DJing a career, you need to have a little background knowledge in the field. Research how Disc jockeys began and where it’s at now. Learning about the history and culture will help prepare you out in the real world. You can develop a better style more people will notice from studying old school and new school DJs!
3) Invest in DJ equipment:
First off, there are a plethora of DJ products on the market that can help you get started making money. As long as you are a go getter, the money you spend on your DJ equipment will pay for itself 10-fold. Often times, many beginner DJs jump the gun on this very important step of learning how to be a DJ.
Do not settle for less! More over, In order to be accepted in the DJ culture, you have to have some knowledge on the DJ gear that’s out there.
This doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive DJ controller and try to impress everyone with a product you know nothing about. In fact, I highly recommend you to write down a checklist of each piece of DJ equipment you plan to buy.
Although, you could just download the checklist I already made for you below and get more free stuff!
Learning about DJ equipment
Depending on what kind of DJ you want to be will determine what kind of DJ equipment you will need. Just about every kind of DJ you can be will still call for some sort of DJ equipment you will need to practice on. Usually club DJs just need a computer, a mixer or a USB stick to plug into the house mixer and a practice DJ setup at home. Mobile DJs need an entire DJ setup including turntables, a mixer, or a DJ controller, DJ speakers, a microphone system for announcements, a table, etc. Producer DJs just need a computer, some decent headphones, and a software program such as Abelton Live. Radio DJs are many kinds and you’ll have to go to school to figure that out on your own. Lastly, Turntablist DJs need turntables, a DVS expansion pack, a computer, some records, and a sound system to practice for competitions.
Be sure to check out my post on Affordable DJ equipment where I go over basic DJ necessities and the cheapest, top rated, DJ products on the market today!
Affordable DJ Equipment – How To Be a DJ
In the video above, I explain where I buy all of my DJ equipment. Your welcome!
Cheap Professional DJ Controller Payment Plans
More over, there are plenty of cheap well known professional DJ controllers that allow you to pull off mixes just like the expensive DJ controllers. You may not have all the advanced features, effects, etc, but your main focus should be learning how to mix songs first like a professional.
Additionally, if you want to stop guessing and start planning on what you’ll need, make sure you check out 10 Basic DJ Necessities of Complete DJ Setup. This post will give you all of the equipment you’ll need so you can learn how to be a DJ.
In short, a popular DJ controller such as the Numark Mixtrack Platinum USB DJ Controller is a great choice for beginners. The quality of this DJ controller for the price is as good as it’s going to get. Recently, I wrote a Feature Overview Post on the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3. This controller is the baby compared to the Numark Mixtrack Platinum USB DJ Controller which is now available instead of the Mixtrack Pro 3.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum USB DJ Controller
Where to buy DJ equipment?
Of course, this is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to DJ equipment. I highly recommend you purchase your gear through a monthly payment option. It doesn’t cost any extra then if you were to pay a whole lump sum. It can help you to start practicing now and show people everywhere that you mean business.
In fact, zZounds is The DJ Pro’s Number 1 Recommended Place To Buy DJ Gear!
GUARANTEED LOW PRICES
NO CREDIT CHECK DJ EQUIPMENT
45 DAY SATISFACTION GUARANTEE
FIRST PAYMENT SHIPS PRODUCTS IN 2 DAYS!
Invest in DJ equipment:
Even more, DJ Equipment can be a struggle to get, but it’s vital to the process of changing your life! Also, be sure to check out How I Afford All of My DJ Gear Through Monthly Payments. After you learn what you’ll need for your first DJ setup, it’s time to invest in it! As long as you invest smart and implement the next steps, you will learn how to be a DJ in no time!
4) Make Friends With DJs and study their style and music selection:
Above all, this step is especially crucial to learning how to be a DJ. In order to be known as a DJ, you have to surround yourself with DJs. The same thing goes for any other line of work you want to succeed in. You have to meet people that are already succeeding in the DJ business and understand their job process.
The reason you want to surround yourself with DJs is because they know where the moneys at. The next few steps are going to make more sense as to why you need to accomplish this step and start showing up in the DJ scene.
How Do You Meet People in The DJ Scene?
To demonstrate, I’ll explain how you can manage to meet people who are making money Djing.
First off, go to every bar, restaurant, and club within a 10 mile radius of your house and introduce yourself to as many DJs as you can. You’ll meet DJs that are really good at their craft and you’ll meet DJs that are going nowhere fast.
Secondly, Explain to them that you’re interested in becoming a DJ and you practice at home. The goal is make friends and exchange numbers.
In fact, I met a DJ named Nick Flash & DJ Murkem who let me watch them perform up close and personal. Actually, it wasn’t long after that I was helping them set up their DJ gear before their gigs and learning all about their equipment.
You want to study their song selection, their mixing transitions, their crowd reading skills, & everything they do to keep people dancing. Also, ask them if you can go with them on weddings, birthday parties, & other special events. Gain experience!
Ask DJs Questions
Ask them if they work for a DJ company and how they got started Djing. Remember, this is going to take time to get into the scene and get your name into peoples mouths. Learning how to be a DJ is a process that cannot happen over night.
Your goal should be to understand what songs people are dancing to, what songs get the most reactions, & how the DJ is transitioning from song to song. Finally, after you get your feet wet in the DJ world, it’s time to make some friends.
If you want to start making money quickly, your best bet is to meet as many DJs as you possibly can! Get really excited and go introduce yourself to local DJs in your area. Tell them you bought your first DJ setup and you’re dedicated to learning more.
Therefore, maybe you can talk them into letting you shadow them. Regardless, you need DJs on your team! If you want to start your own DJ business and work for yourself, you need to find out where the moneys at!
Usually, any DJ you meet either has their own business or they’re sub-contracting through a DJ company. DJ companies are where you’re going to make a lot of money! They’re usually well established and they attend local events to advertise their businesses. They will give you work if you know the right DJs whom can vouch for you!
Eventually, after you surround yourself with DJs in your local area and you’ve managed to be friends, you’ll need to move on to step 5!
5) Study all genres of music & familiarize yourself:
Generally, this step can seem exhausting because there is so much music to consume in such little time. Firstly, I know you’re busy, but learning how to be a DJ is going to take determination. Luckily, you have a mentor (me) to explain to you how your going to accomplish this step!
Especially in the Mobile Disc Jockey business where you’re Djing weddings, birthdays, and special events, you’ll definitely need to study music. It’s really not that complicated! A very successful DJ business owner once told me, “You only have to learn it once, because music is broken down into time”!
In fact, think of each genre broken down into decade intervals. For example, 60s Rock & Roll, 70s Rock & Roll, & 80s Rock & Roll or 60s Hip Hop, 70s Hip Hop, etc.
How to study music to be a DJ
For instance, each and every single crowd of people you ever DJ for will all have a different taste of music. In order to read a crowd accurately & make sure people don’t come rushing up to your DJ setup, you need to be constantly reading crowd reactions. Also, judging the ages of your audience, testing out different genres, and decade intervals.
Additionally, you might want to bookmark The Top 100 Billboard Website. Check to see what songs are at the top each week and add them to your arsenal. Actually, If You Want to learn about how to determine song quality or how to find music then click here!
Also, you can check the Itunes top downloaded songs of the week. Likewise, This will give you an idea of what people are listening to!
Itunes is the best place to get high quality music!
Finally, once you’ve studied music & you understand what the majority of people are listening to, it’s time to move on to step 6!
6) Buy music, borrow music, & organize music:
First off, do not just start downloading random songs that you like and expect to be a well paid DJ. There are plenty of songs out there that will never get a crowd to dance & you will lose peoples attention very quickly. Your goal is to build an arsenal of popular music, remixes, instrumentals, & Acapellas.
Pay Attention & Organize Your Music!
As you listen to each and every song you put into your playlists, you need to organize them. For instance, “Watch Me Whip Nae Nae” is around the 70 BPM range. Ask yourself, does it belong in my Slow Dance Group Playlist? Does it belong in my Go-To Hip Hop Chill Out Group Playlist? Or does it belong to my Dance Hip Hop Playlist?
Since people are going to be doing the Stanky Leg when the beat drops, you might want to put it in the “Dance Hip Hop” Playlist.
Be sure to check out 5 Tips On How To Set Up Your Itunes Library where I explain how I setup my playlists. This will teach you song organization techniques that gives you quick access to find the songs you need at the right time.
Finally, now that you have an idea on what music you need to play, and you have a sense of tempo, it’s time you move on to step 7!
7) Practice Beat Matching As Much As Possible
To summarize, the more you practice, the more you will develop more tricks to the trade! In fact, when I first started Djing, my mixes were a disaster. Practicing at home as much as you can will familiarize you with the simple process of beat matching.
Once you get the hang of matching tempos, blending, and basic mixing, you’ll start to memorize how to do it flawlessly. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed! This doesn’t mean you’re the master at it yet.
Learn About Song Structures!
Learning about song structures and counting music so that when one track ends a chorus or verse, the next track starts, is also vitally important to the mixing process. I recommend checking out –Beat Matching Made Simple– if you’re struggling with song structures. You can learn useful information on this subject.
Every song you’ve ever listened to is similar in a special way. They’re broken down into sections! Study how many bars are in an Intro, Chorus, Verse, or Bridge.
How to get better at beatmatching
Start noticing that 4 bar intro beat on your favorite song. Actually pay attention to how that DJ just mixed the beginning of that 8 bar intro into the chorus of the song that was playing & how he flawlessly switched over to the next track as it started the song perfectly.
Pay attention and understand what beat matching is all about and you will start to get ideas! Mixing is more fun than it’s a job! Remember that…
Finally, once you feel like you’ve practiced enough and you can beat match like a pro, it’s time to move on to step 8!
8) Learn From As Many People As You Possibly Can| Jump Start Your Career!
Overall, learning how to be a DJ is extremely difficult. You can waste a lot of time learning the basics, spending months practicing in your bedroom, watching youtube video after youtube video, and learning your heart out. I say “waste a lot of time” because researching and practicing can only get you so far in such a long period of time depending on how well you soak in the information! This is why you are here! You probably already thought to yourself…
Can I teach myself how to DJ?
Having gone through basic DJ techniques, you may wonder, can I learn how to DJ on my own? Is going to a DJ school or learning from another DJ a better option? Well, there is no right or wrong way to go about learning.
Yes, you can teach yourself how to DJ. However, you will take a longer time to learn the necessary skills, and this can be frustrating. Science states that the fastest way to learn something new is through learning from someone who already possesses the essential knowledge. Therefore, the most recommended way is learning from someone who’s cracked the secret to Djing.
In fact, statistics show that 98% of new DJs struggle and take years to hone their skills when they turn down opportunities to learn the ropes from the more experienced DJs. Getting mentorship from a Dj who’s been in the industry for some time will save you years of struggling to learn how to mix.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s okay to practice on your own and learn skills during your spare time. Getting a mentor doesn’t mean you become lazy and wait for him/her to teach you everything. It’s okay to do trial and error and use social media platforms like YouTube to gain more knowledge and improve your mastery.
However, if you want a smoother learning experience, let someone teach you how Dj and don’t do it all on your own.
Trust Me, I Know!
Whether you like it or not, it’s not going to happen over night, but there are other ways to Jump Start Your Career! I’m very excited to announce that I’ve partnered with DJ Courses Online!
DJCoursesOnline has collaborated with top DJ instructors & put together one of the best online DJ schools you will ever find. With their 100% Guarantee, you can get a head start on How to be a DJ. Best of all, this course will work with your schedule so that you don’t have to sacrifice your entire weekends shadowing DJs.
As a matter of fact, there is so much jam-packed information in these easy-to-understand videos, that you’ll have the skills to go straight to the DJ companies themselves! Impress them with your knowledge and change your life.
Regardless of how you learn to be a DJ, once you’ve accomplished this step, it’s time to move on to step 9!
9) Start getting gigs | Start DJing:
Next, this step is probably the most important step of them all. Well, besides the first 8 steps. If you don’t know any DJs and you have no clue on how to be a DJ, how do you expect to get hired as a DJ?
If you’ve followed all the steps correctly, step 9 is going to be a breeze! Your goal is start getting the attention of local DJ companies by asking your DJ friends or searching Google, Facebook, Instagram, & any other social media platform that can give you the numbers to local DJ companies. Call, Email, & blow them up until you find someone willing to help you and hear you out.
This Step Is a Breeze!
Call your new DJ friends and ask them to tell their boss to give you a chance. Explain to everyone that you’ve been applying yourself in the field, you’ve practiced your butt off (possibly even took a DJ Course), and you’re more than ready to blow peoples minds.
Most of all, be prepared! Most DJ companies are going to test you on the spot, and some DJ companies will even want you to shadow their DJs. Beat them to it and tell them to test you! Tell them you would love to shadow their DJs and learn how you like your DJs to perform.
DJ Company Rules
Every DJ company is going to have their own rules and limitations. As long as you can mix music, keep people dancing, play the right songs, have the right equipment, & can show up on time, you’re going to make a lot of money!
Furthermore, once you’ve started making your first bit of money DJing, you will come to a time where it’s time to move on to step 10! Congratulations!
10) Create a Business Name |Website | Business Card |& Self Promote
Finally, you’ve made it all the way to step 10 and I’m extremely excited for you! No more working 40+ hours a week and barely having time to do anything with your life. It may take you a while to get to this point, but I assure you if you follow these steps, you will make it!
Create a business name, DJ Name, & create social media accounts with those names! Build a foundation for your DJ Business!
Create a Business Card
First off, creating a business card is very important! Do not make the same mistake I did in my beginning years! You want to pass out your business card as much as you can. This will generate income over time and eventually allow you to pass on gigs to other DJs while still making a cut.
Create a DJ Website
Secondly, Build yourself a DJ website! Make sure you’re taking as many photos at your gigs as you possibly can. Additionally, ask people to take pictures of you performing with your phone. I highly recommend spending a little money on hiring a professional photographer. Take really good pictures of you behind your DJ setup.
Add pictures to your website. Making your DJ website look like the other professional DJ websites is important. Study them and make yours better!
DJ Contract & Event Form | Paperwork Is Boring!
Equally important, you want to work on having all of your vital DJ business necessities. This involves legally covering yourself and assuring your clients are bonded by a DJ Contract. Also, theres a lot more paperwork you’ll need for your DJ business.
Luckily, you have me to help you with that! In fact, Download your FREE DJ Contract & Event Form today!
In conclusion, learning how to be a DJ can be a long and dreadful process. Implementing each one of these steps will change the direction of your career. Likewise, you can make more money and have more time for yourself and your family.
Again, I spent a long time constructing this masterpiece of a post for you to learn from. It would mean the world to me if you could take the time to Comment & share it with friends! Also, be sure to check out a post I wrote, How much does it cost to start a mobile DJ business to get an idea on how much an entire DJ business can cost all together to get started.
In the meantime, please answer this question in the comments:
What’s the number 1 thing you struggle with when it comes to learning how to be a DJ?