Its all too easy to unwrap you new shiny DJ hardware and just start playing with all the buttons and dials and faders all at once! But you’ll never truly understand your mixer or decks unless you take your time to find out what each little tool can do.
So slow down, pick a track you can loop for 20 minutes. pick one or two controls and see what they do.See how creative you can get with just those controls in play. Once you feel you’ve mastered how to use them, move on to another pair.
No piece of DJ hardware is perfect either, learn what shortfalls your system has or find out what shortfalls YOU have when trying to use it.It’ll help you identify areas you need to improve and also find solutions to the issues in your setup.
Seen a DJ do something interesting during their set? Or heard about a new mixing trick with filters and faders? Maybe a new looping technique or tips on how to seamlessly mix key matched tracks.
There’s thousands of cool DJing tricks and techniques to learn but it can feel like you want to just jump in and do it all right away. Trust me you’ll never master the art of DJing by doing that. Pick one tip or technique and practice, practice, practice. Repeat it over and over with a couple of your favourite tracks.If you want to find tracks that are key matched or are in complimenting keys check out our review of a free online resource on
This will likely take you years to master but every good DJ should be able to scratch mix! There’s no denying it, scratching is cool, it always has been and judging by the amount of digital hardware that lets you scratch MP3s and CDs, its not a dying art form either.
There’s plenty of YouTube videos on how to learn some simple techniques to get you started. Learn how to keep you scratches tight, master using your crossfader to its full potential.
Learning to scratch mix isn’t just about making cool sounds over your tunes, it helps you learn to catch and release tracks at the right moment and even get you out of a tight spot if a mix totally fails on you.
Learning to mix well is at the very core of DJing but sticking to one musical genre wont help you improve your mixing abilities. Jump out of your comfort zone and try mixing another style. If you’re a house DJ try Hip-Hop which is around 30 BPM slower and has a different set of mixing challenges.
Or up the tempo with Drum & Bass (Learn how to DJ Drum and bass here) which is rich in percussion and bass lines that you’ll need to master mixing together.s not only broadens your skill set but helps you understand your hardware better too. You may find techniques and styles in those musical genres that you want to try out on your musical passion. Merging these can lead to a whole new way of DJing for you!
For some reason people think modern DJing is all about bravado and fame. It really isn’t and the DJ community is actually a very friendly, helpful and collaborative world.So meet other DJs, discuss your skills and more importantly ask questions, answer them too if you have the answer. Share tips, learn from others.
Modern DJ hardware can sync tracks with the push of a button which goes against god and nature in the eyes of many veteran DJs. me included! There’s a lot to be said for syncing tracks, leaving you free to get super creative.
But the sync feature doesn’t always work perfectly and if you rely on it you are doomed to fail! So learning to beat-match is a key skill every DJ should have. If you can’t disable syncing and perfectly beat-match two tracks then you’re not really a DJ my friend.
So get practicing. Start one track and learn to adjust the temp, listen out for the little signals that your track is slipping out of time, don’t look at beat-matching displays either, use your ears. trust your instincts and master this very basic of DJ requirements.
Professional DJ software allows you to create loops from your favourite tracks that you can manipulate during your set. You can set these before your gig too and jump straight to them, creating never-ending tracks that you can then get super creative with.
But why not go one further and create your own loops. You could create your own drum loops with drum machine software. Or a funky stab or piano melody.Maybe download some sound effects and edit them together. Import them in to your software and make your DJ totally original. All very easy to do and it’ll make your set sound totally unique!
Can you sing? Know someone that can? or have access to a library of vocal samples? Add them to your DJ software and have them ready to go at the push of a button. You could even loop them and add effects to them to create something totally new.Maybe get a voiceover artist on fiverr.com to say the name of the gig you’re at and load that in to your playlist. Your crowd will love it!
When your DJ hardware doesn’t quite do what you want it to, or maybe you just want some dedicated button to push for something unique. Grab an inexpensive Midi controller and map some triggers to them.With software like Traktor you can even set variables so buttons perform actions only when other actions have happened.
This allows you to get extra creative in a very simple and effective way. Midi controllers generally cost around $50 (35GBP), some less some more. All well worth it to do something original. I personally have the Akai LPD8 which is awesome.