How To Become A DJ: A Beginner's Guide To Start DJing

How To Become A DJ: A Beginner’s Guide To Start DJing

The 7 things you need in your ‘playlist’ to learn how to become a DJ.


Learning how to become a DJ isn’t too different from learning Finance or Marketing. All three require a great understanding of the market and the will to keep pursuing it in the long term.

However, what makes DJing different is that it leans heavily on both planning and execution- and that never changes for a DJ. You need to be both a student of music and a practitioner of charisma.

For some, those things may come naturally. For others, they take years to develop.

If you’re on the path to becoming a DJ, this article lists some important points you should consider before beginning your journey!

1. Know The Kind Of Long Term Work You Want To Do

To the layman, learning how to become a DJ may only include educating yourself on how to DJ for a party. However, this is furthest from the truth.

‘DJ’ is a blanket term used for professionals who deal with music. There are different types of DJs and they are:

Club/ Party DJ: This one is pretty straightforward. The Club/ Party DJ’s role is keeping the crowd engaged with a variety of music. This role also involves a lot of improvisation and crowd management. The set you thought of playing may or may not work, so you need to have a solid knowledge of music to play new songs on the go.

The Radio DJ: This role can either come to you in the form of a permanent gig or as a guest cameo. For you to succeed in this role, you need to have a good understanding of the music category/ niche the radio specializes in.

The Producer – DJ: Probably the most celebrated of the bunch. These guys create their own music and, at their peak, can develop a rampant global following. You need to learn how to be able to use music creation software, potentially play instruments.

Working with singers and other musicians always help. This is in addition to being a classic DJ, which will happen simultaneously.

Choose your long-term plans to create a clearer career path.

2. Become An Expert At DJ Software

There are plenty of software that you can use when learning how to become a DJ. They’re absolutely crucial when it comes to making sets offline and performing live.

Some of these software are:

  • Serato DJ
  • Traktor Pro By Native Instruments
  • Albeton Live: Not a DJ software, but a digital audio workstation (DAW). It is very popular amongst DJ producers and is very useful for live performances.
  • Mixxx- Free of cost DJ software

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3. Start Off At Personal Events And Parties

The people who are most likely to take a risk on you controlling the music are your friends and family. So, it is a good idea to start off at smaller events hosted by someone who knows you personally.

You can build a small base from there and move upwards. Additionally, these events will give you the experience most event hosts and radio stations require before they hire you.

See how well you performed at these events, get feedback, ask for referrals and repeat till you’re ready to go out there.

4. Take Your Set Online

The best way to learn how to become a DJ is to actually do it, albeit through independent means.

Take your sets online, DJ on:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram, or
  • Via specialist websites like Mixcloud or BandLab.

You may not get a big audience first, but the feedback you receive from your loyalists will help you improve and increase the size of your base.

5. Stay Up To Date With Music

In fact, try and stay ahead of the curve. Music tastes change year on year, track on track, a new artist, a new hit at a time.

In order to learn how to become a DJ, you’ll have to educate yourself on spotting tracks that people may get interested in.

Head on over to:
Reddit, MadeLoud, and Soundcloud for independent musicians and creators that may attain popularity in the coming months or years. Stones Magazine for the latest news on popular music. This includes tracks that people are already talking about and tracks that are slowly gaining heat around the world.

Local Events to stay connected to your local music scene and spot underground talent to collaborate with.


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6. Be Smart With Social Media

This includes both choosing the right kind of social media and putting the right kind of content. When it comes to music, quality is always favored over quantity.

This is especially true when it comes to music on social media. Firstly, choose your platform(s) wisely and the kind of content you put on them.

Here are some rough guidelines:

  • Soundcloud, for example, is a hub for musicians and is an excellent place to put your music and sets up.
  • YouTube is great for live streaming sets and displaying yourself and your equipment online.
  • Don’t (DON’T) overcrowd your YouTube or Instagram with videos of you playing at parties. They’re barely audible and hence, can get very annoying when seen in succession. Instead spread them every now and then along with more pictures as proof of content.
  • Use social media, especially Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (to a certain extent) as Online Reputation Management tools- ORM. Answer queries and provides your contact details so potential collaborators and clients can contact you.

7. Know How To Organize Files

An often overlooked point when someone is learning how to become a DJ, a video editor, a musician, or any type of creative who works with a lot of files. 

Files organization is important for creating quality content quickly. It starts with learning how to label your files and staying consistent with that labeling.

Some base guidelines:

  • Try using colors, also. Colored folders and files in your software will make your life easier. 
  • Label your folders and files in one format. If you label your main folders as DATE_PROJECT, then stick to it for future projects as well.
  • To make things easier, when downloading multiple files, make sure you get your browser to redirect all your downloads to a folder that only has your music files.
  • Additionally, get spare hard drives and backup drives that have all your content through the years for you to refer to.

Here is a detailed article on file organization; it’s very useful for those learning how to become a DJ.

In Conclusion

Learning how to become a DJ is much, much more than building the courage to say no to repeated, annoying music requests.

It’s a combination of constant research, experimentation, crowd control, and, in some cases, the creation of a whole new track.

However, getting the crowd ‘out of their heads and into their bodies’ as Zac Efron points out in We Are Your Friends is a priceless skill that will last you a lifetime.

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