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Tips On Becoming A DJ – Part 2 – Organize Your DJ Music

by Matt · 2 comments

in DJ Music

When you know your DJ music and have it well organized, you’ll be laughing. Once I mastered my own library, I found I could get DJ gigs far more often. The following tips help you on your way to playing better gigs.

1. Practice Practice Practice

This is all part of DJing, the hours of practice you’ll put in. No matter how good you get, how skilled you are and how many people dance to your music, you should strive for constant improvement.

Practising mixing your tunes will help you to learn essential elements. For example, you’ll be able to hear the harmony, have an idea of the BPM, you’ll know how long the intro lasts, how long the track goes on for, when the vocals come in and so on. Being familiar with your tunes to this extent is essential for creating a quality, well mixed and well shaped set when DJing.

If you’re good, you’ll even be able to drop in loops of some tunes during breaks of others for example, creating mini-mashes as you mix.

It’s one thing to know which music you’ll play and how you’ll program your set, it’s something else to know the structure of your tracks.

I can listen to a track 10 years after the last time I heard it and still know that the last chorus comes in exactly 8 bars after the break. Music seems to stay a long time in your memory, but you have to get to know it first.

Listening to the tunes, then practising mixing them with several others is a good way to get to know your music. 

2. Organise your DJ Music

A DJ with an organised music collection is a relaxed and confident one. And confident disc jockeys tend to let themselves go, enoy themselves and play better sets than those who are stressing because they can’t find that tune they so desperately want to put on next.

Don’t be one of those DJs who screws up his or her set because they can’t find the music they want.

A few hours spent per month organising your tunage collection into genres and categories can make a world of difference. Sometimes, a dancefloor can surprise you by not reacting in the way you expected, and you find yourself in need of a secret weapon.

The key here is being able to turn your set around positively and for this, you’ll need to know where everthing is.

Organise your music into different sections such as warm up, getting warmer, peak time, wind-down and any other category you see fit.

Have back up plans in case events don’t quite go as planned – create a playlist of different genres in case the crowd you play to aren’t quite the same as what you originally expected.

If you use vinyl, make sure you know where each record is in your record case so you can find the one you want easily.

For CDs, use separate parts of the pouches for your different categories and if you use MP3s, make playlists in I-Tunes or Windows Media Player, or use your DJ Software to organise your tunes into categories.

3. Associate your tunes

By associating your tunes I mean getting into the habit of knowing which tunes best follow and go with other tunes.

If you play a track, you should eventually know what you can follow it up with. For example, playing ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer can be followed up with several other different disco and house tracks if you like. You have to know which ones.

Only by listening carefully and mixing you can do this at first. Eventually, when you get to know your DJ music well, you’ll find this part a lot easier.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Able Seaman September 12, 2011 at 3:44 am

I find the best time to check out your tunes is when you’re NOT trying to. I’d just like to say to other DJs out there (and I know what I’m talking about actually after 4 years of mixing in fact) that if I’m in the shower (and I’ve got a cool shower actually), cleaning up my flat, eating dinner. Whatever! I mean, just don’t try so hard guys, ok and it’ll just come to you actually.


2 Ron Blackwood September 12, 2011 at 4:25 am

Yeah some good ideas here. Slightly unusual comment from Able Seaman, but we’re all different I suppose.

I didn’t work so hard on associating my tunes before but I’ve really been overlooking something. Since that I’ve realized it does form the backbone of your DJing selections.


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