6 Steps to Following Your Dream of Becoming a DJ
At Ferratum, we believe in encouraging and inspiring people to pursue their dreams, to be brave and to do the things that matter most to them.
It's important to follow our passions. It doesn't matter if you're lucky enough to make it into your career, or as a side-job or hobby. The best way to beat the daily grind is to make sure we fill our lives with doing things we love.
But where do you start? We think right at the beginning! And we're to help! In this blog, we're going to talk about how to get started in the world of DJing. This popular pursuit might seem like a pipe dream at first, but with drive and determination, we believe you can make your dream a reality!
So we've drawn up a simple 6 step guide to getting started. Start a new adventure right here, today!
1. Listen Up!
The first step is to actively listen to music! I know, sounds simple, right? And luckily, it is! You can listen to other DJs sets, mixes and tracks on platforms like Soundcloud, YouTube and Mixcloud.
Go to clubs and listen to the local DJs. Get a feel for the music and an understanding of how you build a set.
And what do you like? Are you interested in house music, electro, dancehall, trap, techno or pop? Your style and identity will be shaped by what you love, so keep it relevant. Do you like "four-to-the-floor" beats with "big drops", or do you prefer more complex rhythms?
2. Buy Software and Equipment
Next, you'll need to some software and hardware so you can start dabbling. Ableton, Tracktor and Serato DJ are all popular software choices, each with their own distinct advantages.
As well as software, you'll need some equipment for mixing. You can always upgrade your equipment later, but purchasing a basic setup is essential. Pioneer's industry standard DJM-850 mixer or Denon DN-X1600 are both great choices.
With your software and mixer, it's time to start exploring, You can learn a lot from just being curious and playing around. We also recommend viewing some of the hundreds of video tutorials and tips on YouTube for each of the software programs.
3. Enrol in a class
Teaching yourself at home, and following all the above steps is a great start. But if you feel like you need some extra detail and information, there are lots of courses available. These could be software-specific courses to help you get the most from your chosen programs, or could also include specific skills, such as mixing and beatmatching. You could even branch into production if you want to compose and record your own music to use in your sets.
Most major cities will offer class-based audio courses, but there are online options you can explore too.
4. Record a Mix
Once you feel confident enough with your software and hardware, and you've got some basics under your belt, it's time to put together a mix.
The idea is to create a journey through listening, starting in one place and taking them somewhere else throughout the mix. After listening to other DJs mixes, you should have a basic idea of how to structure a set.
Use a software program such as Logic, or Ableton to capture your mix, then share it on Facebook, Soundcloud or Mixcloud.
The mix can also be your demo to showcase yourself stylistically to clubs and promoters.
5. Getting Out There
The next step is getting out there and actually DJing. After all, this is what it's all about, right? Often the best way to get started us performing at house parties or friends' birthday parties, for example. Basically, any opportunity you get to play in front of people.
Attend club nights and underground parties and get to know the community. In fact, above all else, getting involved in a community is crucial.
Another approach is to contact local bars and clubs. Offering to host a night on one of the venue's quieter nights, like a Wednesday, can be a great way to book in your first gigs.
Once you've got a bit of experience under your belt, you can approach promoters and event organisers and look out for a bigger break!
5. Consistency and Patience
Between recording new mixes, honing your craft and performing live, you are living the life of a DJ. The key now is consistency.
Set yourself some personal targets. For example, set yourself a goal to play a particular venue by a certain date, or to book three shows in six weeks.
Get to know the people in your community, the promoters, other DJs, club owners and build your profile. Above all, have patience. Keep spinning, keep developing, keep playing.
When it comes to following your dreams, you've got to take action. If not now, when?
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