How to Get Started as a DJ

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There are a lot of reasons why people go into DJing; they may have a passion for music, want to make some money or love being the life of the party. Whatever their reasons are, you likely have your own motive behind following this career path. Contrary to what many people think, becoming a DJ is quite challenging and, in many cases, it’s not an easy route to overnight success and stardom. This article will look at what you need to do to turn your passion for DJing into a successful career.

Choose Your Genres and Build Your Music Collection

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Although you can decide what genres of music you would like to play once you learn how to DJ, doing so early will make things easier down the road. This step should come naturally to you, especially if you already have a passion for music. The two main types of music collections you can build are vinyl music collections and digital music collections. In the past, CD music collections were popular, but they have since fallen out of favour with the growth and popularity of digital media.

Many club DJs focus on vinyl music collections because of the perceived higher and deeper music quality. Vinyl music collections are more personalised and are usually popular with DJs who play one or two genres of music.

Digital music collections have become very popular, with the ability to fit hundreds of thousands of songs on a computer or thumb drive. They are also easier to manage than the crates of vinyl you would have to carry around when you perform. Because of how much music you can collect, digital music collections are popular with DJs who are much more versatile and focus on many music genres.

Think About the Type of DJ You Want to Be

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The next step is thinking about the type of DJ you want to be. A popular option is becoming a club DJ. Club DJs are hired to keep people dancing and the drinks flowing. You need to know how to read people and choose the type of music the audience is likely to like. DJs who perform at one club are known as resident DJs, although there are DJs who rotate between different clubs as guest DJs.

Performing DJs are known for their skills and specialisation, which can include their music selection, cutting or scratching. They build their reputation in one specific area and become headlines for different clubs and events.

Mobile DJs do not have a specific club they play at, although they can be guest DJs. They perform at weddings, birthdays, pool parties, corporate events, and other types of events. Therefore, they do not necessarily need to have a specialisation and are very versatile.

Radio DJs play music on radio stations. They use their personalities to keep the audience engaged, and they sometimes perform outside their radio stations.

Learn Basic DJ Skills

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Many DJs have become proficient at their craft through the internet. There is so much learning material available that it has become very easy to get started. The main things you need to learn are beat matching (lining up tracks), phrasing (mixing music at points that make sense), and EQing (using the equaliser to blend songs).

For all of this, you do not need expensive equipment because DJ software is available to help you get started. All you need is a laptop, and you can learn how to DJ on a laptop before you move on to expensive equipment. Pirate has put together a detailed guide on how you can DJ from your laptop, and it is worth a read.

Check it out here:

Record a Mix

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Many DJs have become famous once their mixes became popular on the internet. With a laptop and the right software, you can create intricate mixes that wow your audience. Most DJing software comes with a record button for live recording or a broadcast button for live mixing. Audacity, an audio software, also makes it easy to record using your computer’s audio input.

Your first mixes should be all about you because there is no crowd to think about. You can use them to showcase your skills, tell your story, or simply introduce yourself to the world. Recording a mix is also a great way to learn how music mixing flows. You should not try to play only the latest or similar music because that becomes monotonous and boring.

A good tip is to approach the mix like an album; it should be cohesive, flow, and make sense. With mix recording, there is always the option of editing the mix afterward. If you decide to do this, listen to the mix a few times to catch mistakes, learn from them and then edit the mix if you wish.

Get DJ Hardware

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At this point, you might be making some money playing at various clubs or online, or even through some donations. It is time to get DJing equipment. A DJ controller setup comes with everything you need to get started. It is the recommended way to get started.

CDJs were initially created to play music from CDs, but they now accept USB drives. They are the industry standard now, found in most places. You should therefore learn to play on them since you will interact with them a lot.

Vinyl setups are harder to get started with, so it would be better to wait until you have enough skills to come back to them. However, if you love the tactile feel of playing music, vinyl setups are for you.

Becoming a DJ is not as easy as many people think, but you can get into this career with hard work. You need to know how to choose and mix music, record mixes, read people and market yourself online and everywhere else to become a successful DJ.