How To Become A DJ: Part1 – A Beginner’s Guide
Learn how to become a DJ, and you learn to match your own musical expression with the desires of a given audience. It’s not just matching beats, or scratching over songs. It’s about being observant, empathic, and reactive.
It is not difficult to start. But it is difficult to stand out, and to be exceptional. There is a lot more to becoming a DJ than knowing how to mix one song into another.
My goal in creating this guide is not to teach every single individual DISC JOCKEY skill, in great detail. Rather, you can use this guide as a resource while establishing yourself as a happy and successful DJ.
How to Become a DJ: Getting Started
In this tutorial, I have recommended a 10-step process. It’s important to remember that while the steps are simple, they require dedication. Contrary to popular belief, learning to DJ is not an effective route to overnight success. This takes work, and hustle, and time.
There are many different kinds of DJs, and many different reasons for those DJs to exist. In this guide, we will start with getting serious about YOU: what is it that you want to get out of this kind of work? From there, you can get a better idea of where to focus your energy.
By the end, my hope is that you will be well on your way to building your career and learning the craft of mixing music.
Let’s get on with it!
Step One: Find out What DJs Actually Do
Becoming a DJ
What kind of DISC JOCKEY are you interested in becoming?
Strictly speaking, a DISC JOCKEY is anyone who plays pre-recorded music for an audience. If someone hires you to play a great iPod playlist at a cookout, you’re DJing.
Since you’ve made it to this guide, let’s assume youre thinking about doing more than just that.
So , let us break it down into a good few simple categories. These are not concrete definitions, because many people (such as myself) often end up juggling several types of DJ roles.
The Bar DJ (Resident)
This is the DJ that has a recurring gig at the local night club or bar.
Each club has a different feel, reputation, and audience… which also means that clubs vary in what they expect from their music selection. Typically, the night club DJ’s job is to keep the dance floor moving, uninterrupted … often by doing long blends (transitions) between tunes, or perhaps some other trickery to keep people’s feet moving.
Ideally, this DJ knows how to ramp the energy up and down to balance among an active floor and a busy bar.
The Performer/ Guest DJ
People go to see this DJ because of who it will be, their reputation, and what people think they can do behind the decks. This can include anyone who has built up a following that people will come out to see.
The more “exhibitionist” DJs also fit in here, such as turntablists (people good at cutting, itching, and various record tricks ), and other live and semi-live performers.
The Mobile/Wedding DISC JOCKEY
A notably diverse style of DJing is required of the mobile DJ. This is usually more of the entrepreneur type, and typically where you will have the best chance for success in making a living.
This kind of DISC JOCKEY often needs to be comfortable with taking requests ( and sometimes even entire playlists), speaking into a microphone, and investing in his or her own sound equipment.
The Radio DJ
The concept of the DISC JOCKEY owes it is origins to radio.
The radio DJ’s job varies greatly, from the person who announces the weather between tracks, to full-on music curation. While many corporate radio DJs have lost control over musical selection, this role can now be fulfilled via online radio and podcasts.
What About Producers?
Many people often confuse DJing with producing music. DJing is usually playing pre-recorded music to an audience; producing is the original creation or recording of music.
In other words, someone produces a techno song, and then a techno DJ plays that song at a festival. Sometimes that is the same person.
This is often hard for people to wrap their heads around, especially in the realm of electronic music, because it may be artists often do some hybrid of the two… whether that is live, or in the studio.
DJ? Producer? Remixer? What’s the Difference?
All in all, it’s important to realize that there are many different types of performers. Some are strictly DJs, some play a “live PA” ( complete with hardware synthesizers or perhaps drum machines), and many land somewhere in-between. You can think of this as a spectrum.
What is it that excites you about becoming a DJ? Is it the thought of directing a dance floor in a big dirty warehouse someplace? Playing big tracks in summer festivals? Starting a wedding DISC JOCKEY business? Building an target audience for an online radio show?
The choice is yours, but it is very important to give this kind of some thought, as it will help you know how to pursue your job or hobby.
NEXT : Determining why you want to learn how to become a DJ
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