Entering the world of DJing might seem like a daunting task, but your success depends on how much time you’re willing to put into learning the craft. There is no set way into the industry, which leaves many avenues for you to know what is expected of you to succeed as a DJ.
Thanks to a wide array of ways to learn DJing, it can be daunting choosing the best way to go about it for you. So I’m rounding up some of the easiest ways to secure your success and learn the art of DJing.
DJ Courses Online
If you’re looking for a more hands-on path into the world of DJing, then online courses may be the best choice for you. These allow you to learn the ins and outs from the comfort of your own home, and many of them give unlimited access to DJ training and tutorial videos.
You might find that these videos are produced with higher production values than what you would find on YouTube, giving you peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be able to watch these videos at any time of the day.
Online courses for the following people:
- Working full-time: Trying to fit education around a hectic lifestyle can be challenging, but having access to the course materials at any time allows you to pick when and where you train.
- You like in-depth videos teaching about certain aspects of DJing: These videos will have professionals helping you every step of the way, allowing you to have instructions, and if you have the equipment, you can play along.
- You want to be taught by professionals: DJ courses are constructed from the ground up to be people in the industry who know what they’re talking about. They will be a fountain of knowledge if you have any questions about the industry.
- You don’t have enough to study at an in-person establishment: The beauty of online courses is that they are typically a fraction of the price of learning in person. This means that if you are living on a budget, you will learn DJing at a lower price.
- If you want networking opportunities: It may be an online course, but more often than not, there are networking opportunities. These allow you to expand your knowledge and circle of people you know in the industry.
- You need more focus and less distraction: Going into a classroom is not for everyone, and online courses allow you to harness your abilities in a setting of your choice, free from distractions.
Many companies around the world are offering online courses, but it’s always best to look out for the following when you’re picking them:
- Complete instructional videos: These are great because you can zero in on particular aspects you think you need to improve.
- One-on-One check-ins with a teacher: Some online courses don’t give you access to a teacher, and that’s not good if you have a list of questions you need answering.
- Industry insiders: Many courses feature guest lectures from people in the industry. These may be pre-recorded to help fit in with the flexible nature of the course, but it’s always great to have something like that on-demand. It also shows that the course is reputable.
Learn How to DJ with Beatmatch Guru. CLICK HERE FOR OUR DJ COURSE.
List of DJ Course Providers:
- Beatmatch Guru
- Digital DJ Tips
- Phil Harris
- DJ Carlo Atendido
- DJ TLM
- Ross Palmer (Udemy)
- Club Ready DJ Course
Learn From a DJ Friend
If courses are not for you, then there are other ways out there to learn DJing. If you have a friend who is already a DJ, then you’ll be surprised to know that you can learn the ins and outs from them.
Your friend will keep you on the right path, and it could turn into a rewarding experience for you both. And it really doesn’t matter if you friend is a professional DJ in the industry or a hobby DJ, there’s always scope to learn from someone else DJing.
Having said that, depending on your own personal DJing goals it might help if you can learn from a friend who is a working DJ in the industry as opposed to a hobby DJ.
Here are some things you should consider before learning how to DJ from a friend:
- How long has your friend been in the industry? This could be a crucial aspect because you will want to have someone in the industry for at least a year to help you through it. If your friend is a new DJ, it might be harder for them to articulate what you need to learn, so if you can always try to find the most seasoned in the industry.
- Does your friend work well under pressure? This is another big thing, mainly because you will want to be able to attend events your friend is working. If you’re hanging over their shoulder checking out what they’re doing, you’re going to want to know whether they are easily distracted if the pressure mounts.
- How did your friend enter the industry? If your friend ditched classes and went the YouTube route, it’s possible they might not know all the terminology for certain aspects, meaning that it you may gain some limited terminology and DJ advice.
- Does your friend have the time? If your friend is booked and busy, whether that’s with DJing or other obligations, you need to make sure they have the time to help you. The last thing you want to do is start and learn that they have other things to do, and you can’t get that much-needed session.
- Do they have regular DJ gigs? Knowing whether someone is being kept busy consistently if self-employed is usually a good sign about whether they are good at what they’re doing. Knowing your friend always has gigs show that they have built up a strong track record.
If online courses are out of the question and you find a friend with the appropriate experience, then YouTube videos might just be the way forward for you. Many crafts can be learned on YouTube thanks to the content creators that create compelling, well-produced content, but there are some things you should consider when finding the right person to watch.
- Try and stick to the one channel: Many of these channels will have a complete how-to guide from start to finish, but many of them might have started detailing the ins and outs of the DJing world only to stop midway. That’s why it’s always best to find someone who has everything. You might find that you like the style of the person you become accustomed to and become disinterested when switching to a new person.
- How many views do they have? This might sound superficial, but if the person has more views than the others, it could suggest that people who have used them recommend them.
- What are the comments like on the videos? If there’s a lot of positive praise, then you’ll probably find this is the person you’re looking for.
- Are the videos in-depth? Well-produced videos will always look more professional, and it might be easier for you to pay attention to. Homemade videos can be rough around the edges sometimes, but the well-produced ones should look and feel much more professional.
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Check out a couple of Beatmatch Guru’s DJ lessons to get you started.
In Person Lessons at DJ Schools
Another way into the DJ industry is by attending in-person lessons. Many establishments offer DJ-related courses, at varying levels. Whether you’re looking to start from scratch or brush up on some of your skills, they are a great way to enhance your abilities.
Benefits of in person learning are:
- Instant access to professionals: The people spearheading the course will likely have industry experience, meaning they will be able to answer the questions you have off the bat.
- Access to industry-standard DJ equipment: Many places will allow you to use this as part of your studies. Many offer a booking system that gives you access outwith class hours, giving you a lot of hands-on experience.
- Meeting like-minded people: You might find that many people in your social circle are not interested in DJing, so learning in an environment with people like yourself will allow you to make new friends with similar interests.
- Courses for in person learning follow a structure: Typically, there will be an exam body that governs the courses, meaning that it will have had to be approved to train students. This helps you know that the course is not a cash grab and that there are links out there.
- Work experience: Many courses go above and beyond to get the students ready to enter the world of DJing, meaning that there’s a chance you can get work experience. There’s no better learning than on the job, especially if you’re thrown in at the deep end.
- Set learning times: While there will be work to be done away from the classroom, it’s nice to have set times for which you need to go to class. This will help a lot when it comes to tests because you’ll have had plenty of time to get to grips with the learning. There are fewer opportunities to leave the class.
- Fewer distractions: If the teacher is talking, you should be listening with technology out of sight. If you’re easily distracted, this might be the mode of choice for you.
DJ Schools by Country:
MI College of Contemporary Music
Practice Under Pressure
Being a DJ is not the most straightforward job in the world. You need to think several steps ahead to ensure the mix will land well with the people listening. You don’t want to start a set and ruin it quickly because people will be able to tell you’re struggling.
That’s why it’s always best to practice under pressure. Here are some reasons why you should practice under pressure:
- Problem-solving: Practicing under pressure will help you prepare for the worst, helping you think critically about how to avoid specific scenarios.
- People are not liking the music: This is not uncommon. Some people will not like the set you’re playing, and you need to be prepared with a backup. This will allow you to steer the attention back on to the people enjoying themselves and them not hating the music.
- A promotion could be in the cards: You could be freelancing, only to get the option of a more permanent gig in a particular venue. The person giving you the job will want to know how you perform, and they’ll be watching for flaws. You need to prove you can work well under pressure in many cases.
Some good ways to practice under pressure:
- Invite your friends over: It may not be interesting for them, but that will make you feel even more under pressure. You want to impress them and prove your worth.
- Livestream: If your friends are simply not interested or inviting them over is not feasible, you could livestream your DJ set and ask for feedback. This will show people around the world your skills, and people on the internet will probably be more critical than people in person.
- Record your DJ mixes: make sure you record your DJ sets all the time, this will allow you to be in the mindset and perspective of not just ‘practicing’ DJing. You’ll be forced into DJing and mixing music that has to be tightly beat matched and with smooth transitions.
Feedback is always going to be something you need to work with, so it’s best to get a thick skin because many people will simply not be interested in what you’re putting out. That’s not to say it’s terrible, it’s just that people have likes and dislikes, and changing them is no easy task.
Watch Other DJs Live
If you’re struggling to get your foot in the door to learn vital information about the industry, then you’ll be surprised to know that it’s possible to watch other DJs live. This will give you first-hand experience.
Here are some of the benefits of watching other DJs live:
- You can see how much attention they pay: Paying attention is paramount to the success of any DJ set. Whether this be on the DJ mixer or how they read the crowd when selecting which music to play.
- It might be possible to ask some questions: The DJ might you’re watching might be open to questions before or after the set, so pay attention to their style of DJing and ask them about anything you thought they did very well. This might be an opportunity to network too and potentially get gigs for your own DJ sets.
- You can see the audience reaction: In any venue, it’s always going to come down to how the audience reacts to the set, so it’s always worthwhile to look at how they are responding when the DJ is playing. Look at how the DJ handles any negativity, and if there is an instance of that, ask about it.
Talk to Music Industry People
Many established people in the industry like to help other people get their feet in the door. They will know more than anyone how difficult it is to get that lucky break and begin the path of consistent work.
Here are some benefits of talking to industry people:
- They know the industry: It may be self-explanatory, but If you have a wealth of questions you would like answered, come prepared. Think about the questions before meeting the person.
- They have connections: You never know what the future holds, but it’s possible the person might be impressed enough with you to give you contacts of people who may be able to help advance your career.
- They might have entered the industry in a similar way to you: As you can probably tell, there are many ways to enter the DJ world, but speaking to someone who entered the industry in the same way you’re trying to might be the nudge you need to continue to follow your passion.
- They have stories: Industry people are great to learn about stories of the industry. They usually know people who are popular DJs and know about how they got to where they are today.
- It’s good for your job prospects: The person might have a lot of pull within the industry, and if you are interviewed for a job, saying you spoke to the person to get some advice might show that you have the drive the employer is looking for.
It’s not difficult to find music industry people. Google might be your friend here, or you could search Linkedin or any other social media service to find the right person you’re looking for.
Go Back to Back With Other DJs
Another perfect way to learn is by going back to back with another DJ with a similar skillset to you. This means you will both be practicing DJing at the same time, possibly with an audience who will be watching both of you like a hawk to dole out some feedback.
Here are the benefits of back to back DJing:
- High pressure: We’ve already spoken about how a high-pressure environment can help you think more critically, but going back to back means you need to think on the fly, possibly as people are watching.
- You can both learn something: You each might have different skillsets, and chatting about what worked and didn’t work after the set could give you both some food for thought.
- It gives you time to examine what the other person is doing and look at audience feedback: It’s possible that one person could be DJing at a time during some parts of the set, allowing you to see how the other person is playing and how the audience is reacting.
- Treat it like a job: There’s a good chance you will have an audience watching your every move, so this is a good thing to show that you are a team player and also a good mixer.
Get Work Experience
Finding work experience is a great way to expand on what you know about the world of DJing. Having access to someone who is booked regularly and ready to explain things is an excellent way to ensure you are learning what you need to know.
Here’s what you should know about work experience:
- It’s free lessons: Work experience is mutually beneficial for the person giving the work experience and the person carrying it out, but at least it gives you access to the materials needed.
- Set up and take down equipment: One thing you need to know is how to set up the equipment and pack it up. If you don’t have your own equipment, this will be beneficial for you and for the person performing.
- On-the-job experience: You might find that the DJ will let you take control here and there, or train you on specific aspects of DJing.
- Be prepared to help out: Essentially, you would be the DJs assistant, and you helping them out results in them helping you out. Like I said, it’s mutually beneficial.
- Ask in establishments that have in-house DJs: You might be struggling to find work experience, so look at nightclubs or bars, providing you are over the age limit to be in them. You never know, the manager might ask the DJ to help you out in exchange for you helping with their set.
- You’ll develop transferrable skills: The skills you learn can then be implemented into other aspects of your career.
- It could lead to full-time work: It may be the goal, but it isn’t always possible. If you show remarkable resilience, willingness to learn, and a great work ethic, then you don’t know where it could lead down the line.
- You’ll broaden your network: Knowing people in the industry is a great way to build a group of contacts who might have some work for you down the line.
Pick the Best Entrance Into the World of DJing for You
As you have probably gathered, there is no hard and fast rule for becoming a DJ. Some of the in person options work out better because you have access to that person and they will be able to keep you on the right side.
But if you don’t have the time for that, watching YouTube videos or going online is not a bad option either. You just need to be prepared to put a lot of time in. You also need to make sure you are up to speed with the latest music, allowing you to pick the songs you think people will like.
It might seem daunting, but unlike many other industries, there are a lot of ways to get your foot in the door, allowing you to choose your own path. You could start with one and wind up doing another, it will all come down to how it plays out for you.