How to become a DJ: everything you need to know

How to become a DJ: everything you need to know

Becom­ing a DJ has become more dif­fi­cult nowa­days. With the emer­gence of famous DJs world­wide and diverse music trends, it is becom­ing increas­ing­ly chal­leng­ing to stand out from the crowd and turn your activ­i­ty into a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. If you are pas­sion­ate about music, get­ting start­ed is the most com­plex and time-con­sum­ing step. Between choos­ing the mate­r­i­al, cre­at­ing the playlists, choos­ing the music and attend­ing the show, there are many steps to con­sid­er.

Find out every­thing you need to know about becom­ing a DJ and how to make the most of your oppor­tu­ni­ties.


    1. Learning the basics of music

    Before you become a DJ, you need to under­stand the basics of music, such as rhythms, beats and chords. If you haven’t stud­ied music the­o­ry, there are many online cours­es and videos to learn the basics of music quick­ly and from a DJ’s per­spec­tive. So take the time to learn and train before you start.

    2. Buying the right equipment

    DJ equip­ment is essen­tial, although it is not manda­to­ry to begin with pro­fes­sion­al equip­ment. You can start with a small, afford­able DJ con­troller and oth­er low-cost equip­ment. Here are some tips and mate­ri­als on how to become a DJ:

    • Two turnta­bles (or two CD play­ers)
    • Decent head­phones
    • A mix­er with two or more chan­nels
    • A com­put­er with ded­i­cat­ed sound cre­ation and mix­ing soft­ware
    • An option­al com­put­er-assist­ed music (CAM) appli­ca­tion

    Fur­ther down the line, you can con­sid­er buy­ing speak­ers, a reli­able MIDI con­troller, a good audio inter­face, a qual­i­ty micro­phone and oth­er periph­er­als. If you can, try out sev­er­al pieces of equip­ment before you buy them. Make the best pos­si­ble choice, as some prod­ucts can be cost­ly. Final­ly, if you are organ­is­ing a par­ty, make sure you have the nec­es­sary equip­ment to trans­port your mate­r­i­al.

    Also, con­sid­er rent­ing equip­ment, which may be an option if you can’t afford to buy all the equip­ment, which is a con­sid­er­able expense.

    3. Practice, practice, practice

    Prac­tice is the key to becom­ing a DJ. As with any pro­fes­sion (elite ath­lete, artist, come­di­an, actor, singer…), you must train con­tin­u­ous­ly to reach a lev­el that sets you apart from the rest. Spend time every day prac­tis­ing your skills and learn­ing new mix­ing and sound tech­niques. Lis­ten to pro­fes­sion­al DJ mix­es for inspi­ra­tion and to improve your style.

    4. Choose between analogue and digital

    Today, the vast major­i­ty of DJs use two or more decks. Purists will choose vin­tage turnta­bles that play vinyl records for their mix­es. Opt­ing for the ana­logue method will be a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent and poten­tial­ly more com­plex approach. For exam­ple, you’ll have to scratch the old-fash­ioned way. Most of the time, you will have to car­ry a lot of vinyl records, rep­re­sent­ing a con­sid­er­able cost and weight.

    The dig­i­tal option is much more prac­ti­cal and flex­i­ble. You’ll get the most out of the new tech­nol­o­gy, espe­cial­ly when it comes to adjust­ing the BPM (bits per minute) to move from one song to the next. It is also eas­i­er to trans­port the equip­ment and mix.

    5. Learn about intros and outros

    Intros and out­ros are essen­tial ele­ments to liv­en up the audi­ence and dif­fer­en­ti­ate your­self from oth­er DJs. The out­ro of one song is often mixed with the open­ing of anoth­er to get a good mix. When mix­ing live, know­ing where the intro and out­ro start is essen­tial. If the BPMs are dif­fer­ent, adjust the tem­po of the next song and, with the oth­er hand, con­trol the cross­fad­er knob so that the first song’s vol­ume grad­u­al­ly decreas­es while the vol­ume of the sec­ond song increas­es.

    6. Create your own mixes and playlists

    Once you’ve mas­tered the basics, start cre­at­ing your own mix­es and playlists. Share them with friends and col­leagues or on sites such as Red­dit and oth­er social media to receive con­struc­tive feed­back and improve your tech­nique.

    7. Build your brand image

    As a DJ, brand­ing is essen­tial to suc­ceed in the music indus­try. Choose an orig­i­nal, cool-sound­ing DJ name and design a logo that stands out. Again, use your dif­fer­ent social net­works to pro­mote your brand and your music (Tik­Tok, Insta­gram…).

    8. Network with other DJs

    Net­work with oth­er DJs and indus­try pro­fes­sion­als to help you estab­lish con­tacts and find pro­duc­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties (par­ties, clubs, fes­ti­vals…). Attend local and nation­al music events to meet like-mind­ed peo­ple.

    9. Develop your musical repertoire

    Devel­op your musi­cal reper­toire by pro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent musi­cal gen­res and styles. Of course, you must devel­op your own style to dif­fer­en­ti­ate from oth­ers, but many DJs mix a vari­ety of music styles. Espe­cial­ly at the begin­ning of your DJ career, you need to be able to play for all audi­ences, so make sure you have a wide vari­ety of music in your col­lec­tion.

    10. Check out the latest news

    Some trends are clear, but it also inves­ti­gates the music of tomor­row and what works in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries or abroad. By observ­ing the trends and move­ments in the sec­tor and the con­tent that the pub­lic likes, you will be able to ori­ent your work and your pro­duc­tions bet­ter.

    Make a list of all the artists, DJs, pro­duc­ers and tracks whose music you like. At a par­ty, have you heard some­thing that the audi­ence likes but you don’t? Take note and add this sound to your reper­toire. Always have your phone handy, as well as a pen and a small note­book.

    Organ­ise your events effort­less­ly with Weezeven­t’s online solu­tions: online tick­et­ing and reg­is­tra­tion, access con­trol, cash­less pay­ment and CRM!

    Learn more

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