Basics to Becoming a DJ

Cool DJ

Becoming a good DJ takes hard work and dedication. It is a skill that needs to be learned and developed. Someone can come to the field with a great sense of timing and intuition, but those gifts have to be honed. Not only the mechanics of knowing how to mix are in play, but the innate ability to sense what an audience needs is crucial. This is what sets a great DJ apart from the others in the game.

My good friend Paul Maddalena used to help me do custom audio visual work on the side and he taught me a lot about using proper equipment to get the best sound quality and acoustics in different rooms. Being a decent DJ isn’t difficult, but the better you become and the more sophisticated your equipment, the more likely you are to get a reputation and higher paying gigs. Don’t get me wrong you don’t need to have the most expensive gear on the planet, but having a versatile deck that gives you flexibility and options is something to aim for.

Get yourself a DJ controller. When you travel from place to place, whether it’s local or international you want to be as compact as possible. Getting a DJ controller answers most of your needs. A controller is a piece of equipment that is an electronic combination of a traditional mixer/turntable-deck setup that is more mobile, and adaptable for travel. One of the most advanced and easy to use is made by Serato & Traktor who have teamed up to bring the best of their individual expertise to the party.

Once you have played a few parties, your name will get around. Naturally you’ll have to do some marketing, but that’s another blog post. Right now I’m more interested in just touching the basics.

Of course when you are just starting out you may not be able to go top of the line with equipment. Nonetheless, invest in used equipment. It will be more affordable and if you’ve done your homework, you’ll know what you’re getting. Used decks are a great way to get a feel for what you are capable of doing. It’s a good approach to learning your craft without breaking the bank. Then when you are ready to move to the next level, if you’ve bought wisely, you can pass it along with confidence.

Study other DJs. You might know how to mix, but there is always something to be learned from the accomplished pros. Often it’s the small tweaks that give a DJ their individual style and that comes in time. Your personality will shine through once you are comfortable with the mechanics.

In the meantime, get your hands on a free DJ mixing software package. Even as an amateur you can sound like a pro. Learn different styles while perfecting your own. If you want to stand out and get your name ahead of others, then develop your own delivery. Be unique and have a signature sound.

To jump from the wedding circuit to being club-worthy, you can’t just ride a mediocre wave. Small weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and local pool parties are good training ground, but . . . To get the attention you need to go on to something that makes excellent money, and you can call a career you have to get exposure in the most popular clubs.

Take the first steps, invest some time and a little money, get enrolled in a few on-line courses listen to other DJs and then just go for it. You will soon know if this is a path for you.

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