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How to be a DJ

In order to become a great disk jockey (DJ) you must have an extensive knowledge of music, as well as the ability to lead a crowd. Charisma is a must, as is the ability to listen well and use equipment to make seamless transitions between tracks.

Steps

  1. First, decide whether you want to be a crowd pleaser or a music specialist. Crowd pleasing means playing songs that would, most likely, hit the taste of the biggest number of people in any given crowd.
    • Music specialist would mean playing music that you like, regardless of what the crowd demands.
  2. Obtain DJ equipment[1]. You can become a DJ using CDs or vinyl (with a turntable).
    • If you plan on doing house parties and low level corporate events then , go ahead and get the table top CD players. But, if you want to go out into the big glamorous parties and play in the major leagues, then you should need to know how to work your vinyl.Most venues, clubs, bars, whatever, have Serato Scratch Live as their base DJ setup [operated by turntables, not CD players] so all you have to do is bring your laptop and plug into their system.
  3. Be economic.Most of your money should be spent on turntables[2] and a mixer. Forget that other stuff for now. You can pick up a pair of Technics and a decent mixer for around $800.00. The suggested option is to buy the turntables used , in order to save your money, so you can buy your mixer brand new.
  4. Play around with your mixer and turntables for a while and get comfortable with it. Learn the basics, watch other DJ's, ask questions and make sure that you really want to pursue it as either a serious hobby or even a career because it gets easily very expensive.Alternatively, search the google for online DJ lessons or tutorials [3].As a good start, it is recommended to download Virtual DJ[4], a DJ program.
  5. Start small, with 2 1200's and a mixer (Vestax & Rane are good). Practice into your headphones and get comfortable with your skills. Mix with vinyl, cds, or digital files. It's the quickest way to learn how to be a real good DJ.Then when you feel that you're good enough, go out and get an amp, some speakers, and possibly even a Serato set up.
  6. Learn about all genres of music. Often you may know of a couple hit songs in a few genres, but that is not enough. Try going to sites that try to help independent labels. Often these sites have songs that are free and therefore you are able to sample before downloading. Also, make sure you learn about all the hit songs in most genres, because those will be the ones that the crowd recognizes and most likely they will like it if it's a hit.
  7. Legally download all of the music you think four out of five people like and can be danced to. By doing this, it encourages even those who don't particularly like the song to go with the flow and dance to it.
  8. Play a song you think a group of friends might like. If eighty percent or more say they liked it, then you correctly associated the song to the group.
  9. Develop your charisma. Try to be a someone that attracts attention in a good way when necessary. Also know when to step back and let the group dynamic take over. Constantly vying for attention will make people uncomfortable.
  10. Learn party games designed for a memorable experience while eliminating a large number of people last.
  11. Ask a friend who has a party that you were invited to if you can do a free gig there. This will allow you to observe the crowd's reaction to you.
  12. If DJing is right for you then begin to get a few small gigs at a price much lower than an experienced DJ would charge. A few ideas are a senior center dance in which you will be exposed to different music tastes than yours, a dance at a local youth center such as the Boys and Girls Club, and maybe a company gathering.
  13. After the smaller gigs if you still want to do it then partner with a few people and start your own business or work for an existing one.

Tips

  • Take requests for songs to play and if you don't know a song just look it up on your laptop.
  • Focus more on learning the danceable genres of music vs. say emo rock which as most people familiar with the style will tell you is strictly for listening to.
  • Download You Tube music videos for some songs you are going to play. Almost every place has a projector that can hook up to your laptop and a decent blank screen, or an average sized TV to project the video on to.
  • Develop your charisma at lunch when everybody is eating by telling a story. This helps by showing that when a crowds' energy is dying down you can step up to keep them entertained.
  • Create a laser light show. For more information look at related wikiHows.
  • Divide different styles into different sections. Put the slower songs at the beginning, eating time, and at the end. The jazzy songs go at the middle of the party, while the heavier songs go after meal time and before it.
  • Always check out the top forty lists. Good site to go to is www.popculturemadness.com This site will also help if you have to do a certain era of music like the 50's, 60's, or 70's.
  • If you get puzzled for what to play, arrange the song titles of the popular songs into a story fashion. Like my "Lady in red" drove a "Little Red Corvette" down to "Funkytown". Get the basic idea.
  • Think of a cool name, try developing it from your personality!
  • It is easy to think of your own dj name try adding no words together

Warnings

  • Don't make a habit of doing free or cheap gigs as it ruins the industry and you will be type cast as the 'cheap DJ'.
  • Clients are hiring you because you are cheap, not good.
  • Do not try to get a party involved at lunch as this is when people just want talk and eat.
  • Never play a majority of fast songs at a wedding. This will take away from the specialness of it.
  • Do not play a majority of slow songs at a gathering of kids. They will get bored fast.
  • Don't play rap music for grandmas 50th anniversary.
  • Don't go to the DJ and ask "Do you have something we can dance to."
  • Don't say "Play something with a beat"
  • keep your dj gears above average shoulder height so they dont spill any drinks on it.
  • Don't ever say that you are better than that DJ. Even if you are, there may be just one DJ out there better than you.
  • Never ever put another dj down, he may be your helping hand in getting another djing job when your times are slow.
  • Don't copy anybody else's style. In the course of you learning, you'll develop your own style. And don't waste time thinking up hilarious or corny names because your name will easily get confused with other DJ's whose names are spelled the same.
Things You'll Need
  • DJ Gear: DJ turntables (e.g., Technics 1200s) or CD players (e.g., Pioneer CDJ series), a mixer, and amplified speakers.
  • Music (the more, the better)