So You Want To Become A DJ huh? Do you have a passion for music? Sometimes working out how to mix different songs together in your head? Sure that other people will like your song choices? Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, you may possess one of the key qualities necessary for becoming a DJ: inspiration!
Ok, so you have passion and inspiration, but now what? Well, now you need to begin making your dreams a reality one step at a time. To get you started we’ve included a list of tips below on how to become a DJ in London or any of the world’s hottest music hubs.
You don’t need to break the bank
Before you run out to the stores to buy state of the art DJ supplies, take a minute to look around your home first. If you are passionate about music then chances are good that you already have at least a few of the essential supplies.
When you are just starting out it is far more important to practice than to hunt down state of the art supplies. While you can always purchase better equipment, later on, there isn’t a substitute for practice. The amount of energy you put into practising your skills now will pay off later. It could even make the difference between finding a DJ gig in months rather than years.
Gather the Essentials
Keeping practice foremost in your mind there are a few essential tools which you will need to acquire before you start. If you already have some of this equipment feel free to use it instead of buying brand new.
A reliable Laptop and Software
With the rise of digital music files, vinyl records are no longer essential to DJing. While some DJs do use them to accentuate their music collections, you really only need a laptop to DJ.
Instead of vinyl these days, most DJs rely solely on DJ software they have downloaded to their computer. This software allows them to effectively mix music and organise it in categories.
So a reliable laptop is a must. If you do need to go out and buy a laptop here are a few things to look for:
- Good battery life, which can keep your laptop running even if you don’t have access to power
- An effective processor that can comfortably handle the DJ software
- 3 or more USB ports to connect a variety of equipment components
- A pro-audio USB multichannel sound card so you can separate sound output and cue upcoming tracks
If your laptop can already handle all of the above, then you can continue to use it for the time being. However, you may need to seek out a pro-audio USB multichannel sound card separately as these do not come pre-equipped in standard laptops.
Then, once you have your laptop it’s time to go and acquire the top DJ software. The best software for DJing does vary somewhat depending on the purpose you are using it for. For instance, a professional DJ who has been practising for years will require something more advanced than a beginner.
However, it is possible to find DJing software that will grow with you as you learn. We’ve included a list below of three of the top DJ software options to get you started!
- Serato DJ: When you are just starting out Serato DJ is an excellent software choice. Its straightforward interface makes it ideal for someone who has never worked with DJ software before.
- ClubDJPro: ClubDJPro allows you to use both audio and video clips when mixing. So, if you plan to include visuals while DJing, this software is a top option.
- Zulu DJ Software: Zulu DJ Software is professional software with a simple user-friendly interface. No matter whether you are just starting out or you’ve been practising for years – this software has something to offer for everyone.
To become a professional DJ, you must own a good pair of headphones. Bass is essential in dance music and poor headphones will stop you hearing the lower frequencies that you would hear in a club, thus affecting your ability to mix basslines.
When you are playing at a gig you will likely be using large, high-quality speakers which amplify music extensively. However, when you are practising in your own home, a simple set of speakers will work just as well. Just don’t try to use them when playing for a party at your home. You don’t want your practice speakers to blow up because you are pushing them to their limits.
If you are going to DJ, then you will need some music! The best way to store your music library is by using a large storage device like an external hard drive.
Most DJs acquire their music from a variety of sources and build up their collection over time. However, if you are just starting out there are a few different music subscription services, which you can source music from. These services include Beatport, DJ Tunes and Juno Download.
Turntables and CD Decks
Neither turntables nor CD decks are required to begin learning how to DJ. However, as you gain more experience these are both good investments to consider. Working with a turntable for vinyl records or a CD Deck will let you experiment with sound creation, rather than just playing the record or CD through its original recording. The Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2, is a great option if you are looking to purchase a CD deck and is industry standard. It comes with a 7-inch touch-screen, a turntable and top audio resolution.
CD Decks generally come equipped with a USB connection as well, which turns the machine into a DJing controller, so you can use it for cueing music in addition to mixing.
Mixers are essential for DJing an can help you deliver a smooth transition between tracks. Without a mixer, each new song you cued would begin with a choppy transition.
Luckily most DJ software comes with a mixer. When you are just starting out this should be sufficient. However, if you plan to play larger gigs in the future you will need to invest in something more advanced.
Practice Makes Perfect
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to remember that you get back what you put in. Even though you have the drive and inspiration to become a DJ, the true key to success is practise. The more gigs you play, the more experience you’ll get and practise makes perfect!
If you want some expert feedback on how your DJ skills are progressing , then why not work with a DJ instructor? Could be money well spent.