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DJ Tips Tricks and Tutorials

Updated on January 4, 2016
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I started DJing back in mid 1980s as a young teenager. I was inspired to learn to DJ by the movie Beatstreat.

DJ Tips, Tricks and tutorials 101

So you want to be a DJ huh? Well, you came to the right place. You've seen them on clubs, parties and even TV and movies. The DJ can be a very attractive job but an easy job by any measure. Being a DJ requires you to love all types of music, have an appreciation for rythms, beats, vocals and all things music. Now I know some will tell you, I just like this genre and that's all I play. That's fine but it does make you a better DJ if you appreciate all kinds of music because it will instill your creativity.

Music genres, are they important?

For example, if you like Hip Hop, it should not surprise you that some rap songs contain samples of old songs including disco, funk and rock. Knowing some of these genres might help you create a more intensive mix or make you more knowledegeable of the genres. So yes, do learn some about top music genres. For example, if you're interested in becoming a mobile DJ, gues what? You are going to be asked to play songs from multiple genre listings. Listen to music, or as others say, know your music. Not only does this help you appreciate it but it also helps you learn how to mix it.

Great places to hear music are:

  • Pandora
  • Spotify
  • YouTube
  • Old records

Of course, it does require time but in the long run, it will make you a better DJ. When I started back in 1985, I was exposed to 70s disco, early Hip Hop pioneers, 50s, 60s and of course 80s music. Having been exposed to all these genres has made me a better DJ today and really appreciate past and present work from artists. Bottom line, you have to love music.

DJ equipment, the tools of the trade!

Don't have DJ equipment? No problem. Back in my day, I was a teenager without making money from summer jobs but that wasn't enough. The best I could do was use two old turntables from the second hand store to start mixing. I would listen to radio DJs and paid attention to their mix cues. I would then emulate their same mixes to help me learn what I had heard. My turntables did not have pitch sliders so I would have to hold the spindle tight until the record could be released to normal speed. It was difficult but it did help me appreciate old technology until I got my Technicks MK 1200s with a Numark mixer. My first mixer was a Realistic mixer from Radio Shack. Today, you can get started by downloading Virtual DJ which is free for non commercial use but useful to you if you want to start mixing music and learning about BMPs (Beats Per Minute), and mixing with two digital turntables. It's not easy but it will allow you to learn the basics.

Digital mixing calls for digital music. I'm sure you have some CDs laying around that you've bought over the years. You can load those into Virtual DJ and of course, if you have iTunes, you can use your songs from iTunes as well. I'll touch on some of these topics later as we get underway in learning how to mix.

Headphones, you need some headphones. $20 headphones will do for now. Start with a small budget unless of course your budget is limiteless then go for a more expensive set of DJ headphones.

Do you need a laptop? You do but we have heard of DJs who mix from their phones or tablets. Do your research depending on what you have. A laptop was best for me since it gave me more space to play with.

DJ Software, which one is right for me?

Serator or VIrtual DJ? These are the most widely used DJ softwares and people stand by them depending on their needs. They are both robust and can do virtually the same thing. You can try both of these for free. It is important to remember that some DJs still prefer to DJ on actual turntables instead of completely virtual or with some sort of software controller. It's all relevant to the DJ, so you need to figure out what type of DJ you are.

Of course, I'll be talking more about a lot of the topics I've discussed here but these are some of the few things you need consider to learn about becoming a DJ. If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a comment and I'll be sure to address it in a timely manner.

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