5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started DJing

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started DJing

Why college is the best time to learn and start DJing.
9
views

When I was 17 I went to my first ever music festival, and I absolutely fell in love. I had never seen anything quite like it, I had never met so many amazing people in my life as I have at those music festivals. When I looked up at the DJ's I knew from that moment, I wanted to trade places with them. I knew that for the rest of my life I wanted to be a part of that scene, and I wanted to be big. Enter college, I kept going and bought my own gear, and I learned with the help of my best friend how to DJ. A lot goes into it. It really doesn't become so much like being an interactive playlist- but it should be smooth. Your ultimate goal is to make your entire set like one long track. Each song should more or less seamlessly blended. I have DJ'd weddings, quinceneras, night clubs, house parties, raves, warehouses, and even school dances. So I've written this article to teach all the things I wish I knew when I first started. Here's 5 things that go into being a DJ, and why college is the best time to start. (these are pretty generalized, but I will have more in depth guides coming later on.)

5. It isn't always "fun"

Some people think that being a DJ means that you just party all the time. For some bigger DJ's who make millions per set list, that might be the case, but there is no shortcut to fame and fortune with the music industry. Every single time you are ready to go play you need to conisder, where are you playing? (venue) Who are you playing for? (audience) who are you playing with? (headliners, openers, etc.) It becomes tedious to plan but it's a rewarding experience, if you aren't up to this challenge, perhaps DJing isn't for you. You should listen to your track list from beginning to finish. You should know the tempo/s of each track before you are putting up on your sets. You should memorize the order before your set. All of this work will make your set go more smoothly. Always have your set done the night before, always add back up tracks into your set as just in case tracks. When you get to your venue (or before preferrably) coordinate with the other DJ's so there is minimal overlap in tracks. Every good DJ has a taste that is uniquely theirs. Adding in this is what will seperate you from other DJ's. Next you must learn the technicalities. If you have a gig, I assume you already know how to DJ. Now, when you love music you'll find that even the tedious parts can become fun. I love hand picking tracks to go into my set. I love the process because I get to discover all these new tracks.

4. DJing is more than just pressing play:

Commonly there is the notion that DJing is as easy as pressing play. It isn't. You aren't spotify, yet people will treat you as such. You should decide early on if you are a DJ that takes request. You'll find that as your reach legitmacy as a DJ you will be more and more in control of your sets. If you have started to look into it, you must practice. Practice your sets, record your mixes, learn how to blend and mix tracks. Your set list should flow like an ocean wave, smooth, cresting in the middle, and towards the end- and closing tracks should be a little softer so the crowd can jam out what you're putting down. Learning how to beatmatch is NON-NEGOTIABLE. No matter how expensive your software is nothing beats out a good ear, and good rhythym. I can tell you that this is important. As I said earlier, you gotta know your audience, venue, genre, and your own skills and talents. Learning how to read a crowd is also important.

3. You will make mistakes.

As you start DJing, no one is perfect. You will make mistakes. You gotta be able to fix them on the fly, and learn from them. You will have gigs where you humiliate yourself. Luckily you have my guide to minimize the gravity of what happens. You could have a 1.2 second issue, fix it and then pick up where you should have been and it will be all good. The thing is if you don't pratice frequently, it will show. You can practice tricky BPM mismatches.

2. Different strokes for different folks

Everyone has a taste in music. I have never met someone who doesn't like music. Generally speaking if you're going to DJ, Electronic Dance Music is a natural segway into it. Most people start DJing with EDM. It is in my opinion the easiest to blend, and the most readily accessable. Not everyone likes EDM. This being said, your best friend in the DJ world is networking. You should keep in mind that when you meet people that they are also networking. Once you are a DJ you become a product and learning how to sell yourself is really going to be your gateway to advance. Your audience and headliners/openers will vary from gig to gig, but don't go seeking gigs at a hip hop club (know your venue know your audience) and spin EDM! It seems logical but more often than not your first steps will be odd job gigs until you find your first residency. Here are some first steps to get you advanced, 1) get gear, and learn it well. 2) record your mixes, and publish them regularly- send to your friends. 3) network, seek out gigs, market yourself. 4) practice, practice, practice. 5) always seek out new music. Do this for the right reasons. Do it for the music.

1. Sit down, be humble.

As Kendrick Lamar said, "Sit down, be humble." Don't be afraid to start simple. Don't invest in a extremely expensive gear to get the best and newest. Chances are, you won't get a return on your gear. You will take a loss. Being a DJ more often than not will not pay off for most people who start. I have been in the scene a long time, and I have to say: people are always washing out and giving up the dream. This might happen to you for various reason, maybe you can't pursue it due to life constraints, monetary constraints, or your priorities change, and so in that college is a great time to discover if it's something you want continue pursuing. I sold my gear once I got into college. I bought intermediate gear. I loved my gear, it was the best rig I ever owned, and I really miss it. Now I'm in a better place in my life and so I've decided to come back to it. There is a lot of learning involved, and all these tips I'm giving you are things I wish I knew I started. College is the best place to figure out whether or not you want to be a DJ. Before you go out and buy some gear, I strongly recommend you start with Virtual DJ. Familiarize yourself with it- and you can learn beatmatching, tempo comparison in the application. Eventually, you can get a controller to interface with the software and you just need a plug in and you're ready to start DJing (once you get the basics down.) Virtual DJ is an acceptbale way to learn the ropes, just don't use the automation as a crutch- because it's not always perfect and I promise you if you don't take the time to learn, you'll trainwreck during your sets even if VDJ beatmatches for you. As I've siad before, even the most intricate software can't replace a good ear and rhythym.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
5025
views

Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The 2020 Election: The Democratic Party Part 1

We all have the duty of becoming politically conscious in order to wisely act on the crucial decision that lies ahead of us in the very near future. In this unbiased, multi-part series you'll be able to get a brief look into both the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

230
views

The race for the 2020 presidential election is on the rise as 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans have been officially confirmed as potential candidates. Ranging from California to New York, we may recognize "big names" such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, however, it's important to get to know all the candidates in order to have a clear idea as to who you want to be leading the country for the next four years.

*Due to the high number of Democratic candidates, they will all be highlighted over the course of three articles throughout the coming weeks.

1. Joe Biden

Campaign Site

Serving as the Vice President alongside Barack Obama and former senator of Delaware, Joe Biden has already ran for president twice, making the 2020 election his third and what he considers, final time. Biden hopes to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to a more livable standard. He also hopes to restrict the purchase of guns through background checks as well as being in support of a ban on assault weapons.

2. Bernie Sanders

Campaign Site

Having served on both the House of Representatives and The Senate, Bernie Sanders has caught the attention of many Americans due to his push for universal healthcare with the idea that "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." As well as making public secondary-education schools tuition-free in a mission to help lower student debt. Sanders believes in the threat of climate change as his campaign includes the future of passing a Green New Deal to move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy as well as ban fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure. Bernie Sanders additionally believes in abolishing the death penalty, reforming the police system, and ending the discrimination of applicants based on criminal history

3. Beto O'Rourke

Campaign Site

Beto O'Rourke has represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2013 - 2019. He has a noteworthy platform towards business which includes increasing federal funding towards the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid in creating competitiveness with America's small- and medium-sized manufacturers against global markets. O'Rourke also believes in the idea of increasing voter numbers no matter what the political party may be as well as help ex-convicts regain their right to vote after serving their sentences. In doing so, he plans to create more outreach to the younger generations by ensuring pre-voter registration for all 16 and 17 year olds. Moreover, Beto pushes for a change in creating new term limits for the US House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

4. Kamala Harris

Campaign Site

Kamila is a lawyer and has served as the junior US senator and Attorney General of California. While she is new to the presidential election process, Harris aims to increase teacher pay with the "largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history with a $13,500 raise." Moreover, using her specialization in legal matters regarding sexual assault, Kamila hopes to protect Planned Parenthood as well as women's reproductive rights. Harris states that as President, she will eliminate the wage gap between men and women as well as racial disparities involving maternal health care. Harris additionally hopes in protecting LGBTQ+ rights by not only passing an Equality Act to fight against discrimination in schools, work, and public, but appoint an Attorney General with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.


5. Elizabeth Warren

Campaign Site

Growing up in rural Oklahoma in a low-income home and eventually serving as a US senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is described as a progressive candidate who's campaign is working towards "universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All." Warren hopes to build the middle class up and defend unionized jobs by allowing 40% of board members to be elected through employees. Moreover, Warren is in favor of strengthening the military as well has bringing troops home from overseas, as well as banning private prisons and decriminalizing marijuana. She additionally has stated to end Washington corruption by banning lobbying along with preventing Senators and Congressman from trading stocks whilst in office.

6. Cory Booker

Campaign Site

Attending Stanford and later graduating from Yale Law School, Cory Booker became the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Booker's main concern is to end gun violence, ban assault weapons, and bring his battle to the attention of the NRA to create "liberty for all." His 14-part plan includes creating a more extensive process to obtain a gun, one of which would including an FBI-issued background check as well as requiring "micro-stamping" on all guns to ensure the ability to trace back the source of ammunition used in crimes. Moreover, Americans seeking a gun license would have to apply for a 5-year license after which would require renewal. Booker has also proposed the idea of providing newborns with savings accounts that would accumulate until they reached 18. He states that this plan would help settle the gap between the classes by offering lower-income households a nest-egg averaging at about $46,000. He also aims to make contraceptives employer-covered and repeal the punishment for an abortion outside of incest, rape, or for the woman's health.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand

Campaign Site

From New York, Kristin Gillibrand became a US Senator in 2009, becoming the youngest person in the Senate at the time. Her 2020 platform includes creating universal healthcare for all that would cover both mental and reproductive health in addition to it's regular standards. Her stance on Medicare For All also stands for reducing the price of prescription drugs as well as aiding in the process of overcoming addiction. Gillibrand also aims to introduce postal banking which would allow those without checking accounts have the opportunity to take out small loans through their local post office. Moreover, she believes in not only the legalization of both medical and recreation marijuana, but in erasing all past convictions from it. Kristin Gillibrand stands with strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, creating paid medical and parental leave for all Americans, and fighting for the right to form unions and protect worker's rights.

8. Amy Klobuchar

Campaign Site

Amy Klobuchar is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as a US Senator from Minnesota. Klobuchar's campaign fights for providing every household in America with high-speed internet by the year 2020 along with aiding farmers by increasing their access to loan programs as well as raising farm bankruptcy debt levels. Moreover, she hopes to better the education system by increasing teacher pay and putting more money towards public schools. As well as increasing the federal Pell Grant and tuition-free one to two year community and technical colleges. Amy Klobucher believes in re-instated the DREAM Act to grant citizenship for foreigners who immigrated to America as minors. She supports immigration reform as well as ending the cruel separation and treatment of families on the lines of the border and creating a refined pathway to gain citizenship.

Related Content

Facebook Comments