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DJ Tips for the New and the Experienced DJs. One Tip Per Day.

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DJ Department

31st Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Clubs usually don’t book Dj’s because they are good, they book Dj’s because they are well known & will draw people to their club.

30th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Passion, Energy, Personality, Good Attitude, Creativity, rockin Tunes & Lots of Practise... These make, for a Good DJ! It’s so important to be really passionate about music & about wanting to share your music with other people... make them dance & make them very happy & have the best time ever!

29th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

You can also learn more by reading DJ books and viewing instructional DJ videos. The best way ofcourse is to join a proper DJ training course.

28th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Get a job as a nightclub light-jock. While the pay is relatively low, a light jock is in the best position to watch a DJ's success and failure at getting a dance floor. You may also have the opportunity to practice during the off hours (i.e., daytime).

27th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Try a local record store that sells vinyl for DJ's. These stores often have a DJ mix set-up. Watch other DJ's until you feel comfortable asking someone for tips. Remember: DJ's like to help other DJ's.

26th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

BREAK TO END/OUTRO

The outro segment is when the song breaks down into simple beats so that you can begin mixing out of the song. It will most likely resemble the length of the intro. As the outro breaks down, it can be characterized as a reverse copy of the intro. Unlike the “break," the "outro" is the last opportunity to beat mix out of a song.

25th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

SOLO/EFFECT

It may be a vocal solo, keyboard solo, break down/drop, or nothing at all. In the 70's, a guitar solo would go here. DJ's generally do not mix out of the song here.

24th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

VERSE 2

The second verse is the second vocal segment. It will most likely be the same length as the first verse.

23rd Oct 2013 – DJ tips

CHORUS

(aka the "hook") Chorus includes the melody (the part you hum along to). It usually is the subject of the song (like love, a girl's name, the name of a dance, etc.). Like the verse, DJ's generally do not mix (or scratch) over this segment.

22nd Oct 2013 – DJ tips

VERSE 1

The first verse is the first vocal segment. It may be 64, 96, or 128 beats long. Do not mix (or scratch) over this segment.

21st Oct 2013 – DJ tips

The intro of a song may begin with drum beats and gradually progress as instruments are added and the melody may be introduced. Begin mixing into the song here by cueing on the first down-beat (typically the first note of a 32-beat segment).

20th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Perhaps the most important thing to know about mixing is the construction of songs. You should know the song(s) you are playing cold, such as when the song begins, when the vocals start, when the song breaks, etc.

19th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

POST

The "post" is a radio term. It's usually the part of the song where the vocals kick-in the first verse. It's where you want to end your mix (and be completely out of the last song).

18th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

A DJ should always keep his or her hand on the pitch adjust when mixing. As flashy as it may look, you may not realize that touching the vinyl may create swoosh sounds that only a trained (and sometimes untrained) ear could detect. Thus, avoid touching the vinyl/platter to adjust its speed (unless you're scratching or trying to manipulate the note).

17th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

As you listen to the song being played (song one) on the dance floor, cue the song that you want to beat match (song two) through your headphones on the other turntable or CD player. When song one "breaks" to end in its outro section, start the new song at the first   beat of its "intro" (thus, you're matching the "intro" of song two with the "break" or outro segment of song one). As you match the drum beats, place your hand on the turntable or CD player's pitch adjust to gradually adjust the speed. As one hand adjusts speed, place the other hand on the mixer and gradually slide the crossfader so that song one's volume declines and song two's volume increases.

16th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

It's important for you to understanding the BPM (beats per minute) of a song. Here's how you determine BPM, first play any song and then starting with the first beat (a bass drum), start counting to the beat of the song; after one minute on a stop-watch, determine how many beats you've counted. To save you time, some mixers have a BPM counter on the board, these days there are numerous softwares that analyse the BPM of song. e board. As a rule, most hip hop songs are under 115, most house songs are over 115, and most trance and hard-house songs are over 125 BPM. Drum-n-Bass and Jungle tends to be twice the BPM of hip hop tracks (160 to 200+ bpm). These are just estimates.

15th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Most dance tracks have an "intro" (where you mix into it) and a break and/or "outro" (where you mix out of it). An "outro" area on a track is often the final opportunity               to mix out of the song; while a "break" may be an earlier opportunity to mix out of a song. A song can have more than one break, but will have only one outro.

14th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

A DJ usually listens to the drum beat of the song (i.e., 4/4 time).

13th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Since every song is in the key of something (i.e., C-sharp), some DJ's only match songs with keys that compliment each other (in addition to matching BPM).

12th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Some DJ facts

Beat mixing on turntables was first introduced to the masses by New York's DJ Francis Grasso in the late-1960's. However, the concept of overlaying two tracks with one another can be traced back to the Musique Concrete movement that began in the late-1940's. By using special editing blocks, the followers of Musique Concrete could create a crossfade by splicing a reel-to-reel tape recording and pasting it to a second tape recording at a 45 degree angle.

11th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

When you're new, you should only attempt to beat match songs that are plus or minus three (±3) BPM from each other. Thus, you would mix a song with 112 BPM into a song that's between 109 and 115 BPM, but not into a song that's 125 BPM (that would sound odd).

10th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Learning Piano for Djs

Knowing keys and tone is a clutch skill for more advanced DJing. It’s not required at first, and tools like Mixed In Key help a lot, but really understanding music theory will provide a moderate boost over the average DJ.

9th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Learning DRUMS Beneficial for DJs

Drums are all about phrasing and keeping a close eye on how the music is structured by parts. The drummer is keeping careful track of where the breakdowns come up and how the long the chorus goes on for. This is a critical skill for DJs, so drummers certainly have an edge here.

8th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Learning DRUMS

The root of all rhythm, the drums are a powerful instrument to master. Not only do they require independent control over each limb, a mental feat in and of itself, but the drums also demand incredible musical focus – all clutch for great stage performances. Drummers naturally find ways to fit all of the drum sounds, creating space for each hit as they speak together as a group. This can be critical for arranging music or mixing songs.

7th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

When the mix is finished, be sure that the new song's volume is exactly at the volume of the previous song. Even if the new song seems as loud as the one being played, watch the bass or high-end volume (of the song you're "bringing in") to make sure that you don't muddle-distort the mix. You should be aware that not all songs are recorded at the same volume level.

6th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Learn to mix with the upfaders first, and then proceed to the crossfader.

5th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Bring Backup

You never know what could go wrong at the club or event where you’ll be performing. For this reason it’s always a good idea to bring backup music in different formats. If you play vinyl, bring CDs. If you play CDs, bring records or a couple flash drives of MP3s. If you use a laptop, bring CDs and/or vinyl as backup. An iPod full of your latest tunes is another option for emergency situations where one of your sources dies mid-performance.

4th Oct 2013 – DJ tips

Its hard to tell in advance when a crowd is starting to get bored, but you can! The DJ can add a lot of value by introducing build-ups and tension when needed in real time. Digital DJ effects on both mixers and in software are a god-send in this department, with everything being time locked, and able to chained up in many interesting ways. Instead of beatmashers, creative delays and reverbs often provide the best lift while not losing the groove.

3rd Oct 2013 – DJ tips

By understanding your song’s keys and keeping good tabs on them in the browser, you can strategically build mixes that increase the energy harmonically. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to move up the circle of fifths (and not down) to keep the energy up – but this is an entire world of research on its own. Go up 3 steps in the camelot scale – from 3A to 6A as this provides a nice lift! Just an advice.

2nd Oct 2013 – DJ tips

A DJ’s greatest value add is to recontextualize music in real time, providing a fresh experience on something your audience already knows. That’s something a producer can’t do, and will always pay rich dividends. The nuts and bolts of this is finding harmonically-compatible mixes that compliment each other and create something new and fresh from the combination. These are short, exciting moments where two songs become one together. Good to plan these things in advance and always know when the best drop point is. Breakdowns are the best opportunity to pop in a complimentary track.

1st Oct 2013 – DJ tips

DJing is an art form that takes time to master, so don’t be discouraged if some of your songs or sets don’t go over very well. If you keep at it, and follow the advice of experienced DJs, you will get better.

30th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

You don’t need to find all-new music for your sets; in fact your set is likely to go better if a large portion of it is music or artists you have already heard and danced to. Dancers like a good balance of familiar music and new music. At the same time, be careful about overplayed songs.

29th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Finding music to play is not very difficult. Many DJs publish their sets online, and most DJs at a dance are willing to tell you what a particular song or artist is if you ask. You can also find playlists by a simple internet search, or by searching Grooveshark or Spotify

28th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

When many DJs see four decks, they think of four songs, but it’s rarely the case that four songs will actually work well together. Instead, think about using those extra decks as auxiliary drummers that can continually play over your entire mix, creating continuity and a common bridge between songs. This will really help build out those dull moments between mixes and give the entire session a consistent feel.

27th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Don’t ever end the tracks too early. The problem is your musical tolerance for tracks is much lower than the audience because they have not heard the song 100 times yet. Let the song play out longer than you would want and give the dancers a chance to find the groove.

26th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Keep it Short and Simple

With sync and hyper-accurate tempo tracking, it is now very easy to create endless mixes that never float or fall out of time. Just because you can mix two tracks for 4 minutes does not mean its a good idea. Often mixing for too long can confuse the audience and actually not let the music work on its own. Sometimes the very best mix is to blend at the end. Letting the energy come down and back up again between mixes can be a good thing.

25th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Practice Practice Practice

Before playing to the public, it's a very good idea to practice and refine your skills first. There is probably nothing worse than screwing up your first gig, as this is likely to dent your confidence and put you off DJing in the future. Provided you enjoy DJing and enjoy buying music, then with plenty of practice there's no reason why you can't become a successful DJ and make a living from what you enjoy doing. Even if you're not making a living from DJing, you can still do it alongside your day job, as nearly all gigs are in the evenings.

24th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

DJ HEADPHONES

A DJ needs headphones to preview and prepare a track while something else is playing on the dancefloor. Usually this track is a tune on the other deck that's going to be played next. DJ headphones are distinct from regular ones in that they offer better ergonomics, sound quality and sound isolation. The latter is particularly important in the club environment.

23rd Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Understand the Crowd

Observing your audience is essential in order to success. It’s ok if you don’t know what they would like at the beginning. Of course as a DJ, you should be following all the popular genres and build your library accordingly. Start the night with preferably some down tempo and non-hit tracks. Follow with more upbeat songs with energetic rhythm and see if you get a good reaction. See what type of audience you have and change the genre if necessary. In a short time, you’ll know what goes best for the night. Always look around and check the vibe. Never keep your head down and isolate yourself from what’s happening on the floor.

22nd Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Avoid Clipping

To achieve the best sound quality during a DJ performance or recorded mix, make sure you are getting a good strong signal both in and out of the mixer, but always take care not to push any of your levels into the red. This is a simple rule but one that most DJs are guilty of breaking from time to time. When the mix is hot and people are jumping, most DJs want to pump up the volume. But boosting the channel gain or master volume into the red will distort your signal, making the music sound degraded and killing the vibe. In addition to this, most venues have a master limiter at the final stage of the signal before it goes to the house system, so turning up your mixer past 0db will most likely not have an effect on your overall volume anyway, it will just make your music sound distorted. So always remember: watch your master volume throughout your set, and make sure to keep the meters from going into the red by turning down your levels and/or EQ controls.

21st Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Creating and promoting your own image as a DJ and selecting your own personal style can play an important role in your success. You need to focus on providing entertainment and keeping your audience happy, not just on your own love of music or on your technical skills. You will need to learn how to match your music to the occasion and how to respond to the crowd. Being a successful DJ is as much about charisma as it is about the music itself. It is important to start performing in front of audiences as soon as you are ready and to use your experiences to keep learning and improving.

20th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Play the Right Music at the Right time

Don’t try to blow up the dance floor at the wrong time. There is an arc of energy that events hope to achieve and promoters usually book DJs to fill these different time slots hoping that they will bring the proper energy for that time slot. Many beginner DJs are so eager to play “their sound” and impress their audience that they end up playing inappropriately for their time slot (usually an opening slot for up and coming DJs). The best thing you can do during an early slot is lay down an even-keeled, in-the-pocket vibe that doesn’t give up too much energy too early.

19th Sep 2013 – DJ tips

Proper use of EQ

The three- (or four-) band equalizer on each channel of the DJ mixer is your most valuable tool for professional DJ performances. There are a couple of basic rules to keep in mind when using EQ; these can be applied to DJ mixers as well as music production.

The first rule is — keep your EQ at 12:00 as a default, unless you are making a particular adjustment. That is to say, the EQ sounds best at unity gain, so keep your EQ at 0db whenever possible.

The second rule is — cut (don’t boost) the signal. This requires thinking backwards through your process a bit. For instance, if you are inclined to turn up the bass, turn down the mids and highs a bit instead and turn up the channel gain if needed.

18th Sep 2013 – DJ Tip

Old vs New

A good DJ should play a mix of the Old Songs and the New Songs. Every group of dancers is different, so this isn't an absolute rule, but most dancers prefer a mixture of familiar favorites and new music. Everyone has their favorite tunes that make them happy. And people love having a chance to dance to popular tunes they've heard. Furthermore, the better leads want to match their variations to the breaks in the music, which only happen when they know the break is coming.  Then new music is always exciting for most people, including the experienced dancers, so also include those in your mix.Give them plenty of both.

17th Sep 2013 – DJ Tip

Monitoring Volume level.

There’s a very narrow range of acceptable volume.  Any louder and it's hurting the ears of those closest to the speakers; any quieter and it's inaudible for other dancers. Then as most tunes decrescendo and crescendo, your music quickly goes from inaudible to painful, because of the very narrow range of acceptable volume. Your responsibility as a DJ is to constantly monitor the volume level, lowering it during the loudest parts and raising the volume during the quiet passages. A concert purist might complain that acoustic music doesn't do that, but here music is functional and inspirational to dancers, and must be modulated to best support the dancers.

 

16th Sep 2013 - DJ tips

Be Flexible

As a professional DJ you don’t necessarily have to take requests, you can stand by your own style and selection. However, playing more than one specific style of music is a great way to gain more opportunities for performance. There are many different types of clubs and events, and different types of crowds — try to find selections from your music collection that will work with these different groups. Don’t necessarily divide playlists by genre, but by mood (aggressive, melancholy, soulful, etc.) and energy (slow, medium, fast). If you practice enough and have good taste it will all come together naturally.

 

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