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How to Become a Great DJ

Updated on October 30, 2015

Individuals who have a passion for music would find themselves drawn to the pulsing crowds, the nightlife, and being surrounded with the same group of people interested in the same kind of music as you are. Of course, there are different music genres, but today’s crowd is into loud and lively music. This is where DJs come in. A great DJ can keep the party going and can bring life to an otherwise ordinary party.

Fame and recognition can be had in the music industry if one has enough perseverance to pursue his dreams of becoming a DJ. Although not all DJs make it to the international music scene, one can still have steady gigs and events if he proves himself to be a great DJ. But what exactly does it take to be one?

Gaining Experience

Of course, one cannot be a good DJ if you have little experience and background in music. All the good DJs know how to read the crowd and base his set of songs and beats depending on how the crowd responds to him. A good DJ must have extensive knowledge of the music scene and be able to make quick decisions on how to mix and play the greatest hits of today, even yesterday. If you know you have a huge love for music of all kinds, and you want to bring life to events, you can consider becoming a DJ.

To get started, you should get some experience and you can do this by playing for your local club or perhaps even practicing at home. Everyone begins with practice. Most of the successful DJs began their careers by having their own equipment and fine tuning their skills. The first few steps are hard, slow, and may cause a lot of aspiring DJs to stop right there. What would back up a DJ’s success though would be that drive to keep going and gain more experience as well as opportunities to keep the music at the best possible level for the crowd.

Jamming with friends, attending community parties, volunteering to be the DJ for a relative’s event can help you gain the experience you need. Exposing yourself to different groups of people and knowing what it’s like to feel the crowd will give you a better idea of how it would be when you are finally facing the life of a DJ.

Gathering Your Equipment

You should have the basic equipment of a DJ. Initially you can borrow some equipment while gaining experience, but it would be so much better to invest on your own set. The basics include:

  • Two turntables or CD players
  • Headphones
  • A mixer with two or more channels
  • Speakers

Before you invest on your own set, experimenting with other setups and trying them out to get a better feel of them would be ideal. It can get quite expensive to purchase your own equipment, and having a good idea of what you want for your own set will help save you money and make you feel that you made the right decision on your purchases.

Once you have your equipment, your next step would be to enhance your music resources by having dependable software. This would allow you to have access to a number of music files on your laptop which you can use to complement those on your CDs or vinyl pieces. These softwares can help you loop, scratch, and have more control over music files. Of course, you must not be dependent on your software, but you can use them to make the act of being a DJ more convenient.

When you have your own equipment, you should take time to practice on your own and get the hang of using what you've invested on. Learn how you can successfully mix beats so that you can transition from one song to another when you finally play for an event. Some DJs have their beats pre-recorded at home, but it would be best if you know how to mix your beats live. Learn how crossfading works and be familiar with the beats per minute or BPMs of different songs. This would allow you to have better control of your tracks.

Fine tune your skills and learn how to scratch, loop, reverberate, and the like to come up with the best set of songs and sounds for your events! Continue practicing and be prepared for your gigs and you’ll be on your way to having steady gigs in the future.

Advertising Yourself

You will only be able to gain gigs if you go out there and make yourself known. To gain exposure, you can join community music events, be the DJ at a friend’s party, or go to clubs and other music places in town to ask when they have nights that allow amateurs to perform for them. This way, you get to expose yourself to your potential crowd and be known even by just a small circle of people to begin with.

For events you have attended, you can use social media to spread word that you played at this event and this can add to the influx of people who may contact you and inquire about your DJ services. You can start small, and work your way to the top by finding the opportunities where you can become a DJ.

Tips to Remember

Even the most successful DJs went through a phase when they had a not so exciting time in their life. This should not discourage you. Keep your fire burning and continue to hone your skills as a DJ. Sooner or later you will get noticed if you are continuously improving your craft. Remember the following tips to become a successful DJ:

  • Do not invest on highly-expensive equipment when you are a beginner. Keep your equipment simple yet fully functional. Your equipment won’t define your skills as a DJ.

  • Know more about different music genres. Some of the ones you should have a good knowledge of include: techno, jungle, drum and bass, hiphop, trance, electro, glitch, progressive, breakbeat, downtempo, dubstep, and others.

  • Learn from experienced DJs. It would not hurt if you observe DJs for a good amount of time and pick up some of their style. You can even spend some time talking with or being trained by them for a more personal experience.

  • Instead of focusing on just one genre, you should try to become a multi-genre DJ. You will get to have more opportunities when you are the master of several genres instead of having just a limited knowledge of music. Have a healthy mix of music in your repertoire and you can prerecord them to play for your potential clients to see if they would like it.

  • Stay in touch with the current music trends. Know the chart toppers and please the crowds you will be playing for by giving them the songs they want but with your own personal twist. It is important that you know how to best accentuate these songs and make their music listening experience more memorable.

It takes quite a lot of work and investment before you can become a DJ, but if you have the determination for it, you may be one of the most recognized and well-loved DJs for the hippest events of today’s music lovers. Follow these tips and check out this video for more ideas on how to become a DJ.

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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      OMG it's soooo important to check out your DJ! So true-- I lived with my cousins for a while, 2 brothers who had all the equipment and started doing parties. It's amazing they didn't get sued-- they'd show up late, they only wanted to play and do what they liked, one was shy & didn't want to talk, one would get drunk and act stupid, they almost always got into fights, to the point where one would walk out or they'd shut down early. People in the neighborhood started hating them, they ruined many an occasion. :-( I learned my lesson after that-- you give great advice here!

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      @WiccanSage - Thank you for the comment! I do believe that in becoming a DJ, one has to learn to accommodate all kinds of music -- and not just play what one likes. Again, thank you for reading. :)

    • profile image

      Ganie 2 years ago

      Hi there, i just wanted to drop you a line to say that i thorlughoy enjoyed this detailed post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the appreciation Take care and keep blogging.

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

      Hi, Ganie! Thank you so much for your kind words. We are deeply humbled and we appreciate it so much! Thanks for reading our posts! Take care. :)

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