I saw a massive rant on a website not far from here about DJing for beginners recently.
One upstart was vehemently and passionately arguing that it was better to learn by making mistakes in your bedroom and trawling through various youtube tutorials and websites for precisely 6 months in order to learn how to DJ before even thinking of playing a gig, as opposed to taking a learning course which teaches you how to mix and claims to get you up and running in just a few weeks.
DJing For Beginners – What Are The Different Ways To Learn?
When you start DJing, you have a choice on which path you want to take. You can either pay for DJing lessons one-on-one, learn by yourself, learn with DJ friends or take an online learning course. The advantages and disadvantages of these we’ll discuss in a minute.
Back In The Day
When I started learning nearly 10 years ago, we weren’t that lucky; I used my trusty “How To DJ Properly” bible to learn to mix on my expensive decks at home, making many mistakes before finally managing to master the skill of syncing 2 tracks together, which you can do today in seconds using a DJ console by pressing a little sync button.
There were no video courses back then and no youtube DJs to help you out. Gear was expensive and there were less DJs around, so less competition (although it was mighty fierce competition).
So what’s the point in all this? The point is that DJing for beginners can be done in several different ways. It’s up to you, your personal situation and your objectives in DJing on how you approach learning to DJ. And I’m not trying to push you in any direction, that part is up to you.
I’m here to show you which way is the best for you to get you up and running in the fastest and happiest way.
1. DJ Lessons Or Tutorials
Right, this won’t take long. I’ve seen here where I live that there are “DJ schools” who claim to teach ambitious young fellas how to mix and become a DJ fast using amazingly cool mixing techniques.
Often, the students are about 20 years old, excitable and motivated after a David Guetta concert. They make up small classes, taking it in turns to perform exercices and to mix their tunage before getting blasted by their DJ teacher for not dropping the the bass at the right moment.
Why You May Be Interested In This Way Of Learning
Learning Fast And Hard
If the teacher is good and knows his or her stuff, and keeps on at you to perfect your mixing techniques while exposing you to a variety of situations, then it’s certainly a decent way to learn.
There is arguably little better than a teacher looking over your shoulder to shout at you when your mix sounds like a tranny crashing down the stairs with a suitcase.
Any good DJ lessons will have you mixing harmonically within just a couple of weeks and that’s something that many DJs don’t bother to do properly, including those who have decent gigs.
Why It May Not Be For You
DJ lessons or tutorials cost a fortune. Who could pay the hundreds or thousands that you need to enroll in DJ school, or DJ tutorials? Oh, that rich kid’s dad could do. You can always take one-one-one lessons of about 3 hours per week to cut your costs, but that’ll empty your bank account faster than a cocaine habit.
Who Are These Teachers?
Reading The Crowd And Choosing Tunes
The special know-it-all teacher may be the best harmonic mixer in the world and may teach it to you brilliantly, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know how to read or crowd or choose the right tunes for those music hungry punters in front of you.
For all you know, you could end up as one of those self-obsessed geeky DJs who can ice skate on the cross-fader but doesn’t have a clue what tune to play to get girls on the floor.
I’m not so sure DJ teachers can really convey this kind of stuff to their students. In fact, they can’t.
While DJ school or lessons may get you up and running and mixing like a pro to impress your pals, it’s also likely to incur a few hefty overdraft charges and yet probably still falls short as there are still a lot of things that you can’t possibly learn.
Mixing is just a part of DJing, and not the centre of everything as some of these (failed DJ) tutors would have you think.
2. Learning In Your Bedroom
Grab a DJ manual or a book if you feel like it, hit youtube and get that friendly DJ guy who has about 50 videos up there, watch and learn. This is the route many, many guys and girls take.
Slogging it out in your bedroom can still be a great way to learn. You can pick up info from a variety of sources including blogs, videos and forums.
You can learn just about everything there is to learn and expose yourself to a number of different DJing techniques. You’ll learn how to mix on vinyl, on CD decks and on controllers.
There’ll be advice on everything.
Why It May Not Be For You
It will take more time to learn the technical side and just about everything else. You may find it a challenge to stay focused, concentrate on the right tasks and not waste hours on some fake liar DJ who is promoting his product on youtube.
Sifting through youtube, web articles and forums is not everyone’s cup of tea. Organizing the right information, sorting out what is right from wrong and knowing who to trust invariably takes more time and much more effort.
You may also find it hard to avoid distractions and be tempted into watching some video of drunk girls in night clubs instead of learning how to avoid a key clash. Oh, what time is it?
It all depends on you, but if you can stay focused, concentrated and you know how to battle through those days where reading some gossip crap story seems more appealing than how to use the smartest new console, then you might make it faster than others.
You may also be fortunate enough to have DJ friends who will help you. If you do and they are experienced, they could help accelerate your learning process.
The main issue though is the time it may take you to battle through this jungle. Are you ok with taking a good few months to learn? Or do you want to knuckle down, focus and get up and playing real gigs in half the time for a small fee? Only you can decide that.
3. DJing For Beginners With Online Learning Courses
I’m sure you’ve come across courses that claim to help you get up and running and learning how to mix and DJ in a few weeks for a small fee. Before we go into the individual courses, let’s see how this works.
- You find the online course, you decide it’s interesting and you’re ready to pay for it.
- Once paid for, you have immediate and permanent access to 10 learning tutorials, all accessible online with a simple login code.
- Each tutorial lasts for 15-60 minutes and consists of video tutorials designed to teach you everything you need in order to learn to mix and being ready for gigs in just 4-6 weeks. You then use these tutorials to learn the key skills and become a DJ.
Why You May Be Interested In It
What is attractive about learning online is the instant and easy access to key information. The courses are made by DJs who held club residencies for years and who played with international DJs at some point. They certainly have enough credibility and experience.
You could say that these courses are like taking DJ lessons with an experienced DJ on your screen, telling you where to find the best tracks, what equipment you need and how to mix.
The main advantage is of course the time you’ll gain. Quicker than any other method and from the comfort of your own home, the DJing online courses cut to the point and teach you only what you need to know.
Why It May Not Be For You
Some people don’t agree with paying the $49 to get up and running fast. Of course, the owners of these learning courses would reply that you’ll get that $49 back as soon as you play your first gig which you’ll get quicker than if you were learning in your bedroom.
Will you get that gig faster than guys learning differently to you? I’d say it depends on the individual, but certainly, the cards are stacked in your favour.
Unless you have good DJing friends who’ll teach you to learn for free, the online learning to DJ courses are the best way forward. Having used them myself (the owners asked me to review them) I realise how useful being able to refer to a course like this would have been back in the early days.
The courses cover almost everything you need to know and if you’re still not happy, they still offer a refund.
My opinion is that this is the fastest way to get up and running and ready to play gigs.
Afterwards of course, you’ll need my own advice on how to get DJ gigs to really motor in at bars, clubs and parties.
The Next Step For DJing For Beginners
If a course sounds like something you may be considering, then the choice should be fairly straight forward. There are currently 2 DJ learning courses out there, both with high success rates.
Learn to Digital DJ Fast (Phil Morse)
I reviewed this course in detail for your benefit.
How To DJ Fast (Sean Gallagher)
I chat with Sean about DJing and he reveals what you’ll learn in his course.