Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

How To Become a Great DJ

DJing has resulted in some of the best nights of my life. Here are a few tips that will take you from good to great!

Play The Right Songs

A great DJ is an expert in song selection. Figure out which songs are universally liked and play them. Pleasantly surprise your audience by pulling out some old school hits. Songs that are both nostalgic and easy to sing along to are your bread and butter. A great DJ will make it damn near impossible for anyone to leave the dance floor.

Use Transitions

A good transition will seamlessly take you from one song to the next without the crowd knowing it. Potential transition areas include: after a hook, during the bridge or at the beginning of an outro. The only time you should neglect a transition is when the intro of the next song is so iconic that it deserves to be played from the beginning.

Understand Beats Per Minute (BPM)

Beats per minute relates to the tempo of a song. Two songs that have similar bpm are easier to transition. Don’t forget that a 70 bpm song can transition well with a 140 bpm song.

The 2 Minute Rule

Our brains love repetition. That’s why you should always play through at least one verse and two hooks. Anything less sounds rushed. No one likes a DJ that switches songs too quickly.

Don’t Kill The Vibe

Just because two songs transition well, does not mean they carry the same vibe. For example, going from a high tempo song (140 bpm) to a low tempo song (70 bpm) might confuse your audience. The music should rise and fall gradually throughout the night.

Never Take Requests

Unless they are the ones paying you.

Use The Right Equipment

Controller, RCA cables, 2 XLR cables, Serato or Virtual DJ, USB A to B Cable

You are not a DJ if you use the aux cord.

Sequencing Songs

This is what separates the good DJs from the great ones. Sequencing songs over an extended period of time is a very difficult task. A good DJ knows a song should be played, but a great DJ will know exactly when the song should be played. A great DJ will also take the time to discern which songs go together. Use this next section to help categorize your songs.

Significant Times In The Night

Warm Up 11:00–12:00

Climax 12:00–1:00

Raunchy 1:00–1:55

Sing-Along 1:55–2:00

Record Your Mix

This is a personal choice of mine. Once I have found songs that are universally liked and have sequenced those songs using transitions, I then record my mix. Recording your mix not only allows you to press play and have fun, but it also eliminates human error during your set.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

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