How To Become a DJ
When you’re learning how to DJ, you’re actually learning to match your own musical expressions with the desires of an audience. It isn’t just matching beats, or scratching over songs. It’s about being observant, empathetic, and reactive.
Contrary to popular belief, Learning how to DJ is not an easy route to overnight success. This takes work, and hustle, time and practice. It’s not difficult to start. But it is difficult to stand out, and to be exceptional. DJ Drills is DJ lessons for all ages and skill levels, that can teach you how to become an exceptional DJ and prepare you for a career of fun and opportunity. Serving Tampa, Clearwater, and Saint Petersburg areas. Get your DJ instructions today by calling 727-678-9264. Perfect class for young kids that want to get started early with the art form of DJ'ing. Learn from a Professional DJ of over 25 years experience in the DJ world.
What do Dj's do?
There are many different kinds of DJs, and many different reasons for those DJs to exist. Let’s start with getting serious about YOU: What kind of DJ are you interested in becoming?
Each club has a different feel, reputation, and audience… which also means that clubs vary in what they expect from their musical selection. Typically, the job of the resident DJ at a night club is to maintain a moving dance floor. Often, club DJs will perform long blends (transitions) between songs, or some other trickery to keep people’s feet moving.
This DJ must know how to ramp the energy up and down, and maintain a balance between an active dance floor, and a busy bar.
People go to see this DJ because of who they are, their reputation, and what people think they can do behind the decks. Their mixes are displays of raw skill, impressive tricks, and clever transitions.
The “exhibitionist” DJs fit here, such as turntablists (e.g. those who focus on cutting and scratching), “controllerists”, and other types of live performers.
These are the ones who perform at your wedding, set the tone for your corporate event, or provide a memorable prom party.
Often the entrepreneurial type, mobile DJs have a lot of things to keep track of. In some cases, they are solely responsible for the setup and teardown of equipment, planning the show, managing the crowd, and making any announcements.
This kind of DJ often needs to be comfortable with taking requests (and sometimes even entire playlists), speaking into a microphone, and investing in sound equipment.
The concept of the DJ owes it’s origins to radio.
The radio DJ’s job varies greatly, from the person who announces the weather between songs, to full-on music curation.
While many corporate radio DJs have lost control over the music, the art lives on in podcast format.
What is your goal as a DJ?
Do you have stars in your eyes? Want to start a business? Starting your own podcast? Are you just doing this for fun?
There are a lot of reasons that you may wish to learn how to become a DJ. The most important thing is to be completely honest about what those reasons are.
And since we’re being completely honest… don’t count on success, if your sole purpose is to get rich and famous.
That’s not to say that you cannot make money, nor does it mean that you shouldn’t shoot for the stars.
Many people become DJs, but very few become superstars. You have to hustle, you have to love it, and you have to work on it even when it you don't have the time.
Standing out takes a lot of hard work, and a bit of luck.
Many people want to DJ because they love music and the idea of sharing it with a receptive audience. Many will attempt to use it as a tool to get laid. Some want it as a source of income.
Whatever the reason is, identify it so that you can act accordingly.
It’s not always sunshine and rainbows; there are some important considerations when deciding to actively pursue DJing as a “career”.
This summer, DJ Drills is offering a special 15% off any student that is currently enrolled in an accredited school. Whether it is Elementary School, Middle School, High School or College. Our student program is designed to work around our students class schedule to cater to when they have free time to learn the art of the DJ. Inquire here for further information. 727-678-9264
There are a number of basic skills to consider when learning how to become a DJ: mixing, EQing, phrasing, beatmatching, and prep. We’re going to cover them briefly.
The purpose of beat-matching is to get two tracks playing at the same tempo (the speed at which the song is playing) and phase (the beats from both tracks playing in-time with each other).
Think about it like two cars driving next to each other on the highway.
Beat-matching is accomplished using a pitch fader to adjust tempo. You use a jog wheel, pitch-bend button, or the physical manipulation of a record to adjust phase.
Arguably, technology has made this skill obsolete. All the major DJ software and hardware packages, have built-in sync functionality. You’ll quickly find this to be a point of contention in the DJ community
So is it even necessary to learn how to beat-match, when there is such a thing as a sync button?
Perhaps not. But it’s a great idea anyway.
Firstly, it gives you the ability to beat-mix on anything. Turntables, for example, require you to do this manually.
More importantly, it helps to develop and tune your ears so that you know what to listen for. The practice of manual beat-matching results in a much more trained ear, and a more confident DJ.
You can always come back to this later, but I think learning to beat-match early is a great idea.
Phrasing, with an “r”, will make sense to anyone who has ever played a musical instrument.
It simply means to mix your tracks together at points in the songs which make sense.
Almost all music that you will be DJing is in 4/4 time, whether you play electronic dance music, hip-hop, funk, or top 40. Technically, this means is that there are four beats in a measure (bar), and that the quarter note gets one beat.
The takeaway is that you need to learn how to count to four, as most “DJ-able” music is 4/4.
Any DJ rig contains a few different levels of “volume” adjustment.
Firstly, each channel has a gain knob which allows you to adjust the level by watching your meters. Then, each channel has a line fader.
(The line fader adjusts how much signal you’re sending to your main output, which also has its own overall volume control.)
Then, of course, there’s the crossfader which allows you to fade between one channel and into another.
Some DJ software features auto-gain functionality. This helps minimize the amount of volume adjustment between tracks.
In addition, DJ software has its own gain structure. This can make things quite confusing. Read your manuals to verify your levels are being set correctly.
As a general rule: stay out of the red. If you need more volume, boost it on the amp or speaker side.
Equalizing (EQing) is the act of boosting or cutting frequencies so that multiple audio tracks blend nicely.
The majority of your audio “space” gets consumed by lower frequencies (bass), especially in dance music. Normally, you won’t want to mix two loud kick drums over one another, since they are too loud to combine.
A typical DJ mixer includes a three-band EQ (low, mid, and high…. or bass, mid-range, and treble). Some mixers have four bands: low, low-mid, mid-high, and high.
When used properly, the EQ is both a useful tool, and a means of creative expression.
Equalization will not fix a bad mix, nor will it work miracles. But we can use it to “smooth together” multiple audio signals, and make our mixes come out with a bit more polished. Want to learn from a professional instructor?
Contact DJ Drills at 727-678-9264 for your spot in the class schedule
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I've never touched DJ equipment before, can I still attend DJ Drills courses?
A: Yes, DJ Drills is designed to instruct students with limited or no prior experience.
Q: What are the ages that can start DJ Drills.
A: Dj Drills has taken on students of all ages, from age 5 to age 95. If this is a fun idea that you would like your child to learn, or if this is a passion that you just have not had the time to take on, DJ Drills is open to all ages.
Q: How does the training at DJ Drills work?
A: DJ Drills has 3 main modules designed to teach the students. Each Module is 4 classes (1-2hrs in length) with a Final Exam after the 4 sessions are completed. If the student passes the final exam, the student then can move on to the next DJ Drills module to learn the next tier of skills.
Q: Does DJ Drills sell equipment to students?
A: DJ Drills is not in the business of selling equipment, yet we will consult with our students based upon what their budget is to determine which DJ equipment makes sense to purchase or rent, based upon skill level or budget restraints. DJ Drills tends to have new and used equipment that is for sell, based upon availability.
Module 1 - Basic Mixing and DJ concepts. This module is 4 sessions of 1-on-1 lessons with a Professional DJ instructor. After the 4 sessions, the student will be tested with a Final Exam and will Record a 40 minute DJ Mix on a USB for the student to take with as a keepsake to share with friends and family, Upload online or use as they will, such as a party mix with Drills learned in this module.
Module 2 - Basic Scratches & Hand control techniques. This module is 4 sessions of 1-on-1 lessons with a Professional DJ instructor. After the 4 sessions, the student will be tested with a Final Exam and will Record a 40 minute DJ Mix on a USB for the student to take with as a keepsake to share with friends and family, Upload online or use as a party mix with Drills learned in this module.
Module 3 - Advanced Mixing. This module is 4 sessions of 1-on-1 lessons with a Professional DJ instructor. After the 4 sessions, the student will be tested with a Final Exam and will Record a 40 minute DJ Mix on a USB for the student to take with as a keepsake to share with friends and family, Upload online or use as they will, such as a party mix with Drills learned in this module.