The idea of becoming a DJ is popular nowadays, and can be an appealing for many different reasons. Basically, you can learn to get started, since the skills such as breaking beats, looping, scratching, and punch phrasing require practice and dedication. Here is a generalized guide which will help you learn what equipment and necessary skills you will need to develop, and how to build your fanbase and experience into becoming a successful DJ.
Carry out a research on what DJs normally do
Generally, we have different categories of DJs where you can conduct your research, they include:
Club or Bar DJ
This is a type of DJ who usually is at a certain local night club or bar on a daily basis. In fact, every club has its own feel, reputation, and audience which means that clubs and bars vary in what they expect from their musical selection. The main task of this night club DJ is to keep the dance floor moving without any interruption by doing long blends between songs and other tricks to keep the crowd’s feet moving.
This is more of an entrepreneur DJ activity, and where one can have the most success in making some money. The best example is a wedding DJ. This type of DJ typically needs to be comfortable with taking requests, speaking on a microphone, and investing in his or her own sound devices.
Guest or Performer DJ
This type of DJ has a different kind of pull. People normally go to see this DJ because of who they are, and maybe because of their reputation. The suitable example is the more exhibitionist DJs such as turntablists and other semi live performers. Obviously, it takes time to become a notable DJ, which is why this is something that you might want to strive to become later on in your career.
Determine your main aim of becoming a DJ
Basically, there are several reasons why you may want to be a DJ, but it is advisable to be completely honest about what those reasons are. Successful DJs got into the industry because they loved music and had the idea of sharing it with an open audience.
There is a good number of software options which can enable you to access a library of MP3s to match your vinyl and CD selections. In fact, some programs provide you with special capabilities, such as a live looping and scratching capability, reverberations and delays, and superb real time controls and video options. If you want to find out more about some of the best beat making software out there for DJs go ahead and head over to our reviews section, where we review some of the best software out there that you can use for the greatest benefits.
Start with the basics
To be a DJ typically requires you to do a lot more than just playing songs. It’s important to learn structuring a set, as well as mixing on the fly to get the crowds moving using your deck. You can later invest in bigger speakers, MIDI controllers, monitors, mics, audio interfaces, and various plug-ins depending on your goals for playing out. All of these must-have investments for DJs can be found at our store. A basic DJ set up should have a 2 channel mixer, headphones, 2 turntables or 2 CD players, speakers, and a mixing software. There’s more information on how to setup your own music making studio here.
Learn the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of the songs you play
The Beats Per Minute normally determines how smooth and easy you can mix one song with another song. It’s easy to calculate the BPM by simply counting the beats using a stopwatch, or by having a BPM counter on the board. You can simply use a pitch distorter to match the beats, although it’s best to choose two songs which are only a few BPM off. Be careful when mixing songs that have different BPMs, because depending on the difference, it can make the whole transition from one song to the next a complete disaster if you don’t handle the transition correctly.
Learn about the intros and outros
Many dance songs have an intro in which music is playing, but the vocals are not, and a matching outro at the end. Mixing typically means you blend one song’s intro with the outro of another. Basically, knowing when an outro begins and an intro starts is critical to live beat mixing. You can cue up the second song and have it ready to go as your first one is winding down. Use one hand on your turntable to adjust speed just in case your BPMs don’t match and put the other on the crossfader so that your first song’s volume decreases as the second song’s volume increases.
Learn how to scratch
Certain places in some songs are prime for scratching whereas others are terrible for it. You have to be careful when your going to do a scratch, because it could end up sounding awful. It’s very important to know when it’s right and wrong to scratch.
Transitioning smoothly between the songs
This is the most important part where you match beats so that the beats remain constant. This lets the crowd know that they can continue dancing without any interruptions. You can use conventional DJ hardware and listen to the second song’s intro in your headphones, moving the pitch slider until the songs plays at the same speed and cue the song concurrently with the preceding song.
Build a big collection of music
To be a successful DJ, you need to be a music expert. You can hit up your friends and consult about the charts, or learn from websites which cater especially for DJs such as this. Learning how to record several mixes of different types of genres will help, since people have all different tastes when it comes to music. This way you may be able to reach out to several important individuals and maybe even become famous.