Beginner DJ Tips – The Start and The journey
Before you start your journey in DJ-ing you might want to make a choice in the type of successful DJ you want to become.
There are many DJs that “play music at a party or festival” but I probably don’t have to explain the difference between a wedding party and a rave party. If you have ever been to one that contained both, write it in the comments below, I would be amazed :)
Although the difference is the target audience and the type of music you play and the way you present it to the crowd, the similarity is that you need to please the crowd and build up a mood.
If it’s in your blood to do so than you already have a good start.
The DJ basics
To please that crowd, you want to build up momentum.
You do that by playing the right songs at the right time.
If you do it right, it will become an awesome journey for your raving crowd and the night will be long and awesome.
Depending on which route you want to go, playing generic top 40 songs or play your own music, you need to do some work before you start.
If you want to play existing music, you need to learn a couple of things.
A beginner DJ needs to know the structure of a song. The basic structure of a song consists mostly of the bridge, fill in verse and ending.
The more you know and feel where you are in a song, the easier it becomes to switch/mix 2 songs together. It would be a bummer if you switch right at that moment the verse starts and the crowd wants to sing along because they recognize the song.
Song Popularity. You want to know what type of people will be amongst the crowd. remember that wedding party? if you know a little bit of the overall genre that might connect with the crowd, you could provide a full night of great songs and mix them together in a tasty cocktail off “Knock your Socks Off”. Don’t forget to add in some shuffle dance songs, and play the time of my life if the crowd is 80s oriented if you want to play your own songs, you will need to do a little bit more work before you start. Let’s see what you need for all this
For both examples, you will need gear.
Your basic gear will contain a (virtual DJ) mixing desk and 2 audio devices
Although you could choose to use a simple cd player or iPod, you will have more control over your total mix when you have the ability to speed up and slow down the music.
This can be done with special cd players or special software on your laptop (Like Atomix Virtual DJ). both of them will have the opportunity to slow down and speed up a song so that it becomes easier to create a steady beat/pulse and switch different songs.
If you go the DIY route and make your own music, you will also need software to create those awesome beat drops, super leads and fat basses.
There are different types of software on the market that can help you with that, like Ableton Live or Traktor Pro for example. Both of the software bundles come with a ton of samples (snippets of sound) to start making some basic beats and grooves.
Whichever route you go, there is still one thing that you should master.
For all the above DJ software examples, you will need to feel the groove. The groove of the music and the vibe of the audience. You don’t want to be jumping when the crowd wants to shuffle, and vice versa.
Knowing where the beat needs to drop, the lead needs to lead (yeah, that sounds stupid, but you know what I mean) and the bass needs to rock some socks off take a lot of practice.
You can start small and play some gigs at a local bar. You can even start as small as just being the guy who makes sure the right songs are getting played at a party, without any special DJ gear. If you see the crowd reacting positively you know you are doing something right. just keep an eye out n what the crowd wants to do.
then you can build it up and maybe take your own gear to the next party. built it up slightly and ask for feedback after you’re done.
You can also mix a couple of songs at home and play the full track at the party or maybe even at your work.
After a while, you will get the feeling for it and you can start to mix in some of your own songs. See how the crow reacts and just for fun, don’t add that you created it. you will get more honest answers that way (believe me :)
After a couple of successful parties and positive reviews, you can start to call yourself DJ.
Where to go from there
The journey is just starting, so don’t stop now.
if you see and feel that you are on the right tracks,(haha, audio tracks) just keep going.
do more gigs and maybe even start to ask a small amount of money. maybe just gas money or free drinks, but slightly build up from there. once you have your own momentum going, up the price. Maybe even see what your fellow DJs are doing.
Your fellow DJ producers
Don’t forget to share what you do with fellow DJs, the more you learn the better and maybe you can do a show together. This will be an awesome opportunity to get in front of a new crowd and start making a name for yourself.
Take some business card with you if you do so, and/or make sure you have some social media presence. A Facebook page is cool, invite some former visitors to your parties and let them write something cool..
A website is even better. You can even add some snippets of your mix and the next live show. Don’t forget those awesome pictures from your latest live show to share that experience.
If you add an email list to the mix (haha, mix) you are the bomb. That way you can instant message your fans when you have a new album out or do another live show.
Build up from there, and you will soon be a professional DJ Producer!
And as always, keep making awesome music and share it with the world