There are many aspects of DJing that a lot of new comers to DJing do not realise exist. Some positive and some negative. If you’re a new DJ looking to make money from DJing and become full time, then this article is for you.
Let’s jump right in and share the top facts and tips about DJing for newbie DJs out there.
Learning to DJ can be quick (given the effort)
There’s a tonne of resources out there for you new DJs to start learning DJing, YouTube, friends, blogs (like beatmatchguru.com), social media etc.
DJ Courses are also a great start for new DJs too (check out Beatmatch Guru DJ COURSES here). DJ courses give you a blue print to put together creative DJ mixes and stand out from the crowd.
Of course you can learn 1 on 1 with a DJ tutor either in person or online, and this is another (more expensive) method to learn DJing.
From my experience online courses and 1 on 1 tutors are a good way to fill in the gaps in your knowledge really quickly.
You can learn DJing on your own, but it will likely take you triple the time and there’s a risk you may get bored.
Sign up to our NEWSLETTER to get a progression checklist, this will help you become a great DJ on your own and hopefully stay motivated.
Tune selection is massively important
If you’re putting together a DJ mix setlist to then record and promote online, then you’ll obviously want you setlist to be on point.
Getting the flow of your DJ mix right can really help keep people listening to your DJ mix.
Here are some tips to help you with this:
- Harmonic mixing – means picking two tracks that are harmonically (in key) compatible with one another. The sound sounds amazing between the two tracks and certainly sounds smooth between the two tracks, especially if there’s a lot of chords / vocals in both tracks.
- Word play – to spice things up in your DJ set, why not find two tracks that have similar words such as “LOVE” and “you won’t hurt me again”… OR the same word “No” on one track and “No, No, No” on another track. This creates a cool connection betweent the two tracks.
- Rhythm / Beat Patterns – Rhythm is really important for ENERGY in your DJ mixes, you might have two tracks in the same genre but the energy be very different (DJ Software might tell you the energy level – but it’s up to you as a DJ to undertsand this within your music). Find tracks that are compatible with eachother rhythmically and make sure when you change energy it’s subtle to get a nice flow in the mix.
- Quick energy change – You can of course change vibe altogether and you might want to consider a mix transition that’s know as “switching” or “dropping” in tracks to support this.
- Genre – Sticking to a particular genre can help you narrow it down further e.g. Tech House Mix, Progressive House mix. This way you’ve got super focus on the style and purpose of the mix.
- Era – Create a theme for you DJ mixes, e.g. 90s Hip Hop or 80s Retro Mix. That way you’ve narrowed down your music list and can focus on getting creative with you DJ mix skills and transitions.
Networking and becoming a full time DJ can take a lot of effort
To smash it as a DJ and start building up regular DJ gigs, you need to network.
This takes time and consistent effort. It can be quite anti-social at times because you’re attending social venues that may tempt you into drinking and start partying, but focus on networking and building up contacts.
Tips to get you started are:
- get to know the key managers of a venue that you can to DJ in, share your details e.g. via email, linktree or phone number.
- give your contacts confidence that you can DJ by sharing your DJ mixes.
- keep in contact regularly to stay on top of the relationship.
Find your USP (stand out from the crowd)
It’s easy to start DJing, but sometimes it’s harder to learn how to stand out from the crowd.
One of those aspects is to have a USP “Unique Selling Point”.
This could be:
- Mask – like Marshmellow, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Claptone
- Signature mixing – you might have a particular thing you do when you DJ e.g. scratch or cut in with FX in the mix. Whatever it may be, make it as your unique aspect as a DJ
- Start a following – Create social media content that’s unique e.g. Chris Luno, Dom Whiting or SUAT. They have YouTube channels dedicated to DJing live outstide either by walking, amazing locations on a bike.
Reading the crowd can be stressful
DJing live at venues such as bars may have a wide variety of people and ages, meaning that you’ll need a large amount of music in your collection.
Some venues, you’ll find you get a tonne of requests from different groups of people. You’ll need to find a way of gaining the music, preparing a large collection or letting people down.
Drunk and drugged up people can be offensive sometimes, so be mindful of this. Try to get as much music prepped or learn from your experiences and move on.
Gain as much knowledge about technical aspects of DJ equipment & software
Learning as much about different DJ equipment can be really important and help you DJ in a wide variety of venues.
Not all venues have the same DJ equipment and managers of venues can update DJ equipment over time too.
Setting up equipment is highly important sometimes, so knowing how to use certain DJ equipment as well as setting up your DJ equipment is really important too.
Play live in front of people ASAP
Getting used to DJing and mixing in front of people is truely important from the beginning. You’re not going to DJ at home on your own forever, especially if you wish to progress a full time live DJ.
Practice by having people over to your house for a party, DJ for friends parties or wedding, offer to DJ for free at local bars and then get paid thereafter.
Live streaming is good way to practice under pressure too, but there’s nothing that can prepare you or develop your experience as a DJ when DJing live in front of a crowd.
If you’re nervous about DJing live, then read this article here.
Network with other DJs
Networking with others is going to bolster your success and progress as a DJ.
Meeting and connecting with other DJs is really important for this. You might find that they need you to cover for them at a venue that they can’t play, and then you’ve got an instand DJ gig there. And potentially that may develop in the future.
You’ll learn from other DJs too as everyone has different experiences and plus you can lend an ear to other DJs that may be struggling with certain issues.
DJ b2b with other DJs
Here’s a wicked b2b set I’ve seen recenly…
DJing b2b is something that I liked a lot when I was upcoming with my DJ skills. You get to see first hand how other DJs mix and use various techniques that you might not know yet.
Plus what’s great is that you can teach other DJs about the skills that you know to them. Teaching others boosts your confidence in the fact you know what you’re doing. You’ll get into a good state of mind and feel great about DJing.
You’ll easily learn how different tunes go well together in the mix also. These are some of many benefits to DJing live b2b with other DJs.
Post your DJ mixes online
Mixcloud and YouTube are great platforms to host your DJ mixes, and then you can share you mixes via social media to gain more reach.
You can share you links with anyone and everyone to gain feedback on your DJ mixes too.
Plus you can use links to your DJ mixes to share with event managers, bar managers etc.
Posting regular DJ mixes online helps you to commit and discipline yourself to regular DJ mixes, which will help you focus on postive behaviours towards a long term career as a DJ.
Build up an audience online (YouTube, Social Media, Website, Email marketing)
Getting gigs as a DJ requires showcasing evidence to the people you’re networking with.
Building up an audience is key to achieve this aspect of DJing as a career. Your social following is almost like a vote of confience to showcase to people hiring you as a DJ that you’re good at DJing and also you could draw your following to a particular gig and help them make sales.
Essentially “your following” = “sales” to certain people you’ll work with in the future, such as other DJs, venue managers, festival directors, record labels, and more.
Drinking at DJ Gigs is not healthy (self care is healthy)
Drinking at gigs because it’s FREE can compound and progressively damage not only your physical health but more importantly your mental health.
If you’re not healthy of body and mind, how can you expect to perform your best as a DJ. Which is at times, particularly demanding of your body and mind. Why put extra stress onto yourself if you don’t have to.
Build a team around you as you scale as a DJ
As you scale as a DJ and become super popular making tonnes of money, then it’s important to consider creating a team of positive, creative and organised people around you.
Some of the biggest names in DJing such as Martin Garrix, have a team that support them. Including booking agents, social media marketing, creative ideas for mixes and new music production. One thing that I really thought was great that Martin Garrix mentioned in an interview once was that his team helped him to say NO to certain gigs, mainly to stop “burn out”.
Even if you’re a local DJ, mobile or wedding DJ, it still might massively help you to build a small team to help you with time heavy tasks, such as admin, social media, website management and bookings.
What makes a DJ successful?
Someone who’s ahead of trends with music, pioneers new mixing techniques and DJ setlists. A DJ that know’s how to put together amazing setlists of music can become really successful and especially someone with strong online marketing skills.
How long does it take to get good at DJing?
Depending on how intensive a DJ practices their craft usually determines how quickly you can get good at DJing. This involves how you learn e.g. online FREE YouTube tutorials vs online courses, practicing DJing live on live streams and in venues.