If you’ve been thinking about getting into the DJ game chances are good that you’ve done plenty of homework. You’ve probably tried to find out everything you can about the art of DJing from what equipment to buy to where to find good tunes to use. That’s a good first step but to really get started you need the basics, the very basics, as in DJ for dummies basic.
You don’t have to be an actual dummy to learn a lot of useful information. In fact only a true dummy would pass up DJ for dummies information. This information is meant to help you make a smooth transition from a plain music lover to a professional, beat-making DJ.
Read more DJ for dummies information before you leave for your first gig!
Priority #1: Organization
Although DJs often have a reputation for being ‘too cool for school’ with their sunglasses at night and ultra-trendy gear, the truth is a good DJ is a highly organized individual who just happens to be cool as hell.
Seriously though, the first rule of DJ for dummies is that you need to start your career—and every gig—completely organized if you want to stay on track and make the music your focus. Of course you’ll need your DJ equipment and tunes, but you need a lot more than that each night.
Keep going to make sure your DJ for dummies list is completely checked off before you leave the house.
Ok so technically the headphones are part of your DJ kit, but the truth is that when we came up with this DJing for dummies list, we found out that even the most experienced DJ has left for a gig without this essential tool.
Without headphones you’ll have a difficult time cueing up the next song and beat matching your tunes. Put headphones at the top of your DJ for dummies list so that you cradle them on your neck before you even reach for your car keys.
You should look at every gig—paid or unpaid—as an opportunity to get your unique sound out into the world. This is why you should always have at least a few demos on hand. You never know who will ask and you never know who you might run into while mingling at a gig.
Packing a few demos will allow you to be ready whenever and wherever you are when someone asks for a sample of your music. Carrying demos around is really DJing for dummies 101 since it can catapult you from college club DJ to big city nightclub DJ at the drop of a hat.
In this digital age most DJs are social media whores whether they want to be or not. The internet is an efficient and effective medium to connect with the world, but it isn’t the only medium. You need to be prepared to meet and network with people in person as well as online, which means you need to bring business cards, demos and any other unique way you’ve come up with to make yourself memorable.
Whether it’s a fan, venue owner or event planner you want to make sure you can quickly give out your contact information—all of it from email to phone number to Twitter ID—when it is requested. In fact many DJs have added this to their DJ for dummies list: business cards for fans and business cards for business opportunities.
You may not want to give fans your direct number, but you do want them to follow you on social media so don’t reject their request for your info…EVER!
Pen & Paper
Pen and paper are tools that most artists never leave home without, but it should always make your DJing for dummies list for a variety of reasons.
First you might want to make notes if you’re a newbie about what songs really got the crowd excited and what songs to remove. If you encountered any technical problems you probably want to jot them down as well as what you did to fix it so you know for next time…and maybe add a few tools to your DJ for dummies list.
There are other reasons for pen & paper including getting phone numbers (business or personal) and giving your orders to the bar. Having your own pen and paper will make your night less stressful and help you plan for tomorrow night.
DJing is hard work, no matter what anyone tells you. Venues can be hot and crowded, and during a long night of keeping the crowd amped you’re likely to get very hungry and thirsty.
I’m not suggesting a brown bag lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but you will need an energy drink (or two) as well a few granola, breakfast or protein bars. This will give you energy to keep going and keep your hunger at bay. If you’re not worried about basic human needs like water and food, you’ll be more focused on the job at hand.
When preparing for a gig many new DJs only focus on what they need during the hours they are spinning, and that’s great but what about the DJ? What I discovered when creating this DJing for dummies list is just how essential a cool down mix is for the ride home…after the gig.
During your first dozen gigs you will be so amped up after getting paid to do what you’ve been dreaming of doing for so long, that you’ll find sleep won’t come too easily. Since you’re a DJ, bring your favorite chill mix with you to help you unwind after a big, big high.
The more you learn about DJing, the more things you will add to your DJing for dummies list of essentials.
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