Learning to DJ can be an ideal hobby that you could even turn into a side hustle or your full-time career. But figuring out DJing can be a big learning process, and it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by it all when you are first starting out. It’s easy to run the risk of running into it too quickly and getting things wrong, but the good news is that even some of the biggest and most successful DJs out there probably made some common mistakes when they first started out. If you are thinking about learning how to DJ, keep some of these top DJ tips for beginners in mind to get you started out heading in the right direction.
Choosing the Right Equipment
The first thing that you will probably do when learning to DJ is choose your first setup. This can be an exciting process, but it is also easy to rush into and end up buying all the wrong gear. As a result, you could end up with equipment that is low-quality or even worse, something that’s expensive to buy but just isn’t suitable for your mixing style. Or, if you go for something too basic, you might outgrow it quickly and end up spending more upgrading it very soon. Before you choose the right equipment for you, it’s important to think about the type of DJing that you want to do. Whether you want to be a house party DJ, club DJ, mobile DJ, scratch DJ, or are just DJing to have some fun at home, your choice will determine the equipment that you will need.
If you want to be a club DJ, most clubs will use a standalone player and mixer, and some have controllers. You will usually need to take your own laptop. If you want to DJ in a club, it is a good idea to buy multiplayers or CDJs that will allow playback from a USB device. Club standard DJing gear can be quite pricey. It’s worth buying if you can afford it, but not necessary to have if you can’t. However, you will need to make sure that you are familiar with club standard equipment before playing your first gigs.
House Party DJ
If you plan to be a DJ that works at house parties or pool parties, for example, you will be traveling around with your equipment quite a lot, so separate players are a good idea. DJ controllers are the most convenient option, including a mixer with two decks that are built into one unit to control the playback from the digital music files on your laptop.
Like a house party DJ, a mobile DJ also moves around a lot – if not more. You can carry a laptop with your mixers or get an all-in-one unit that is more portable and playback the music from USB devices, so all you need to remember to add is your thumb drive, which makes transporting the kit for your gigs easier.
If you want to become a scratch DJ, you have a few options to consider.
- If you want to do some club mixing with a little scratching, a set of players with solid jog wheels are recommended. This is important, since the jogs are going to be doing a lot of work. You will also need to get a good mixer that includes an adjustable crossfader to allow you to easily switch between scratching and mixing.
- On the other hand, if you want to get into turntabling, you will need a set of turntables that have a digital vinyl system. A solid mixer that includes adjustable faders is also necessary.
Getting a Laptop
Most DJ equipment will require a connection to a laptop, so it’s worth considering which laptop is going to be the best option for you. Bear in mind that spending a lot of money on a laptop is not always going to guarantee the best results for you, with some top-range laptops an awful choice for DJing.
For most DJs, a MacBook is the best choice and the brand that most will find works best. While they do tend to be more expensive compared to other laptop brands, they’re often worth it since they’re more likely to work well, helping you avoid buying lots of cheaper laptops and ultimately spending more.
Once you have gotten the equipment that you need and gotten familiar with all the functions that they offer, it’s time to learn how to mix – which is going to take you a lot of hours of practice. The good news is that with modern equipment that offers automatic options for sync and quantize, this can be an easier process. Auto sync will match the speed of your track you’re mixing with the one that is already playing.
However, learning how to beatmatch is an essential skill for any DJ, because even if you have auto sync features on your setup at home, you are going to be lost if you’re ever using equipment that does not have this function. PIRATE has plenty of useful information on how to beatmatch on CDJs on their website. PIRATE offers recording and rehearsal studios that are perfect for any kind of music. You can find them in various locations around the world with all the equipment that you need if you are interested in recording a demo or your first single.
Since beatmaching is such an essential skill for DJs, there are lots of online resources and courses that you can take to perfect this skill. And you will be grateful that you learned how to do it if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re DJing at a club and the modern equipment breaks down, leaving you with only the older, backup equipment with no auto sync function to use.
DJing can take many different forms and is a great hobby, along with a fun job idea for anybody who loves music.