How do you make the transition from Bedroom DJ to professional? Maybe you’ve just picked up a DDJ-400 and are looking for some DJ tips to get started.
Maybe you’ve been a bedroom DJ for some time and you’re looking to start your journey as a professional DJ. Whether you’re looking to DJ at parties, weddings, or become a name that’s thrown around with the likes of DJ Tiesto and Calvin Harris; the fundamentals remain the same. So in this article, we give you 5 DJ tips that will help you break out of the bedroom and start earning some money as a professional DJ!
- Take it seriously
- Mix in key
- Learn to beat match
- Produce Originals
Start Taking DJing Seriously
Do you want to be taken seriously? Well, the first thing you’re going to need to do is to make sure you’re taking it seriously yourself! Every professional DJ has had a moment when they decided to get serious, and you’ll need to have yours if you want to take it up a notch!
This might mean making small adjustments in your DJ habits and day-to-day life. But tweaking little things can go a long way in order to take things to the next stage. These things might include:
Maybe you’ve been haphazardly mixing together tracks on a whim without any real plan or structure. If this sounds like you, it’s time to make some changes!
The lesser DJ is likely to finalize their songs on a whim, then haphazardly mix them together one after another. As a result, your sets are going to sound incoherent, show no progression or balance, and simply fall short. Although thorough planning might add additional time before your gigs. It will all be worth it when the crowd is buzzing and the venue is begging to have you back.
Of course, nothing ever goes 100% to plan. So plan to fail, and have some extra songs on call for when others unexpectedly fall short.
I think it also goes without saying; you’re obviously not going to plan to play the same songs at a wedding as you would a nightclub. So it pays to know your audience, and know what’s trending. For more info on planning your mixes, check out our article on making a mixtape.
How to Make a Mixtape
Organise Your Music Library
If you’re sitting on top of a never-ending library of music you’ve been collecting for years. There’s a good chance that it’s not as organized as it could possibly be. The way you approach this can greatly impact the usefulness of your complete library, as well as your workflow for future sets. Some tips for organizing your music library are as follows:
Clean Up Your ID Tags – Song Name, Artist, Album, Year etc. Make sure you have these fields filled in correctly!
Include Import Date – This way, you can easily sort through your latest and greatest tracks. Allowing you to quickly access those new releases that are sure to go off in the club or party
Star Ratings – Rather than using the star rating feature to indicate how much you like a song. Use it to rate the energy level of your tracks. For instance, a 1-star track will be something you use for a warm-up, and a 5-star track will be one of those club anthems that never fails to hype the crowd.
Comments – Use the comments section to jot down those important notes for each song so you can quickly decide if its something worth playing or not
There are so many more tips I could list for organizing your library, but this is a great place to start!
Record & Evaluate Your Mixes
Another underrated tip for improving your DJing and taking it more seriously is to record your mixes! Recording, re-listening, and going over your mixes with a fine-tooth comb will allow you to find little things you might never have noticed if you didn’t record the mix.
If you listen back and you still can’t find anything that you want to change, then now’s the time to send it to your peers for feedback. Make sure you don’t just send it to your friends and family either, because the chances are they’ll only tell you what you want to hear.
A good idea might be to upload your mix onto Soundcloud, and share it on your social media as well as forums on the web. From there, you’re sure to get some real evaluation and feedback you can use to hone in on your mixes.
No one wants to get told their mix isn’t as good as they thought it was by some guy on Soundcloud. But, it’s a sure path to growth as a professional DJ!
Mix In Key
There are so many key-detection tools at your fingertips, that there are no more excuses for not mixing in key. If you have a basic understanding of music theory, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. But if you don’t, it’s definitely something you want to get a basic grasp of.
Essentially, each song is centered around a specific key. Meaning, it has a root note (A, A#, B, C, etc) and is also built around a major or minor scale. So, mixing two songs together that use the same root note and scale is going to sound so much better because they use the same notes and chords. Whereas if you’re using songs that are in different keys, 9 times out of 10 it’s going to sound out-of-tune.
So, whether your DJ software has the capabilities, you own software such as Mixed In Key, or use the free online tools available such as TuneBat; you can quickly and easily find out what key a song is in. Therefore, your mixes and transitions are going to sound much more coherent and smooth!
Don’t rely on beat syncing
Thanks to advancements in technology, most modern DJ software and hardware offers the ability to sync your tracks with a simple push of the button. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great feature to have in your arsenal. However, it’s important not to get too reliant on it. Learning to beat-match is still a skill that every single DJ should have, and many veteran DJs share the same opinion.
If you can’t put syncing aside and perfectly beat-match two tracks, then you’re not really a DJ! So if this is something you need to work on, make sure you get practicing!
Try not to look at the displays either while you’re learning. Start two tracks and use your ears to hear the little signs your tracks are slipping out of time. Beat-matching isn’t something that you’ll learn instantly, but it’s a must-have skill if you want to DJ like the pros!
Producing Originals & Mashups
Look at every famous DJ you can think of right now, and what’s the one thing they have in common? Most, if not all of them double as music producers and have a notable collection of their own tunes. Even the ones that don’t produce originals are still throwing together their own mashups to ensure they stand out from the crowd.
Because these days, no one makes a name for themselves purely from doing DJ sets. They make their name from their releases, and your goal should be getting other DJs to play your stuff!
Getting into music production requires another level of commitment, especially if you have no prior experience. But it’s also loads of fun and extremely rewarding. So it’s definitely something we recommend dipping your feet into!