6 DJ Tips for Beginners

exclamtion mark and the word tip in a blue buble

You’ve done some gigs, private parties and weddings but you felt lost at one point? Someone request a specific song but you can’t find it? Have you ever experienced a blackout during your performance? You are mixing like a pro but the dance-floor is getting empty?

These situations happened at least once to everyone and it’s totally normal!!

I’m going to share with you 6 DJ Tips for Beginners to avoid these situations

If you’ve got experience and it still happens to you, I recommend having a look as well because there is probably something missing in your DJ’s routine.

 

 

1-Sort Your Music

 

You probably got a lot of tunes in your laptop or external drivers and sometimes it can be a real mess inside all these folders.

Is nothing more annoying than knowing you’ve got the song somewhere but you cannot find it.

Is gonna take time, is not going to be lovely but you have to do it: SORT YOUR MUSICSeveral USB keys sort by color on the same line

What do I mean by that is:

 

  • Rename your song: sometimes your song can be name “Albumchart1-2019-Festival-Deadmau5Opening-Strobe“, this is way too long. Try something like “Deadmau5 – Strobe “. That’s it! Artist + Title, this is all you need.
  • Create Folders: Totally up to you, you can sort them by Artist, Year, Album, Playlist, Theme… Be organize, I personally sort my tunes by Genre + Year => ” Techno House 2017″, “Slow For Wedding 2015” or “Best Songs to Make Them Sing”.
  • Use an external driver: Too much music in one place is never been a good idea. Buy one or two external drivers and transfer your music on it, MUSIC ONLY.
  • Have some boxes: If you use CDs or Vinyl, buy several cases or boxes and sort your CDs/Vinyls by the way you want. You will look more professional and be much quicker to find the right CD/Vinyl to play.

 

Depending on how many songs you’ve got, is gonna take you some hours to do this but please, make an effort and just do it. After that, everything is going to be much easier, you’ll be more efficient and well organized.

In every Weddings or Birthdays there is someone in charge of the organization, this same person may have a laptop with all the music they wish to play during the dinner. You have now an external source of storage that you can use to take and play their music on your decks.

Tips: Have a software to convert the format of the music in case you can’t read their music.

 

2-Get Some Sleep

 

If you don’t get use to work on night, you probably think this is the same as if you go in a party with some friends. You only have to stay awake all night.

Definitely not, you are gonna need to be extremely focus on what you do, and for this you have to get some rest.

During the all week you’ll be on a daily routine, wake up in a morning and fall asleep at night like everybody else. But as soon as your weekend start you gonna reverse the process.

 

  • Have a nap: Give yourself at least an hour nap during the afternoon before you start your performance
  • No alcohol with friends: Is very easy to have a beer with some friend at 4PM on a Saturday afternoon, DON’T DO IT!!! You’ll be less focus on what you do and more tired duringred sign forbidden alcohol drinks your performance.
  • Avoid caffeine: You can have your coffee when you wake up and after dinner before the show but then, just drink water. Too much coffee and energy drink will get you to exciting and this might reflect on your playing style. Not sure you fancy playing a slow if your heart is beating at 120BPM

 

Been tired can make you less patience and reflect on your customer service. Trust me, you need a lot of patience when you have to deal with song request all night.

Don’t forget, YOU ARE PROFESSIONNAL

The most important thing to don’t forget is: Who is going to be the last man standing? YES THAT’S YOU

We all made that mistake, I did it as well many times and the only thing I was thinking was: “I can’t wait to go to bed, feel so fu***ng tired”

What you need to do is only a good night of sleep and a nap in the afternoon, doesn’t sound that hard, no?

 

 

3-Organize Your Gear

 

Do you have your Mic somewhere on the table and your computer next to it? looking for a song but you don’t know in which external drivers? You’ve got node on most of your cables?

All of this because you setup your equipment too quick and you don’t pay attention to details.

Everybody got a different way to start and set-up his gear. The most important thing is your CABLES. All of this work begin at home, get the cables out and clean all of them. Avoid any nodes which can cause damage.

 

  • Get some cable ties: You’ll be avoiding any nodes and be more efficient for your setup
  • Don’t forget the adhesive gaffer: Most of the DJ use this magic tool to cover and protect their cables. This is not expensive, it secures your area in case if someone walks on your cable. Your disassemble will be much quicker and it makes you look more professional.

 

You can have all the best DJ equipment in the world, if you don’t take care of your cables you better sell your gear now.

The laptop is now part of your gear and consider as one of the main DJ equipment. There is nothing more annoying than bend over the table every 2 min to reach your keyboard. Trust me, after an hour you gonna feel it.

This is call a DJ Laptop Stand, and you can find one for less than £20 just over here => Top price and Quality for DJ Laptop Standmacbook on a dj laptop stand

Don’t need to bend over anymore, you can use it at home as well on your living room table. This accessory makes you look more professional once again!

Don’t be shy on light up yourself with a mini Par. Show your audience who’s behind the decks. It’s a small investment, but it can make the difference.

 

Don’t leave your microphone on the table taking all the dust. Give yourself a favor and grab a microphone stand. You don’t even need to handle it but only speak into it.

Are you left or right handed? Of course is important. When it’s time to pick up your USB key, headphone or goodies, which hand you gonna use?

Don’t mix everything! Headphone on one side of the table, external driver on the other side and goodies under the table. Know where your equipment is! This is your area!

All of this is only a small investment AND:

  • You’ll be more efficient and only focus on what’s important
  • Quicker to react in case of a mistake
  • The people see a DJ professional, not an amateur

 

Get your cable ties for less than £2 => Over here / US

 

Tidy and protect your cables => Adhesive Gaffer / US


Don’t let your microphone taking the dust => Microphone Stands / US

Light up yourself with a Mini Par Can => UK / US

 

 

4-Analyze Your Audience

 

Before all the digital software for DJs, the computer and touch screen, it was only CDs and Vinyls.

Every single DJs was focus on their audience but now, you’ve got all this shiny mixers, decks and laptops. Easy to get distracted and less focus on the most important thing: YOUR AUDIENCE

No point to be the best DJ in the world if you’ve got nobody on the dance-floor.

Keep your head-up, give them a smile, dance with them, jump with them, be creative and part of them.

You may have a kid who don’t really care about dancing but for him, a DJ is a hero. Give him a smile, invite him with you, let him wear your headphone and press the “PLAY” button.

Making a kid happy => Makes the parents happy => Give you more chance to sign a contract

Everything you need to know about “How To Analyze Your Audience” => in this post

 

 

5-Test and Control your Equipment

 

Friday night everything goes well, your lights, sound system and DJ gear are perfectly fine.

Saturday night, your performance begin and you realize that only one speaker is working.

It’s a common mistake very easy to cure, because its call LAZYNESS.

Depending on how much equipment you’ve got you need max 30 min to test everything. Did you know the power cable for your Par, Mixer, Speaker, Subwoofer, Scan, Laser, Strobe and Microwave are exactly the same?A microphone on a table mixer

 

UK Kettle Lead / EU Kettle Lead / US

All you need to have is one power cable and one plug socket. Bring each equipment one by one and test them.

Now test the sound, grab your XLR, Jack, Speakon cable and make sure you haven’t damage anything in your previous performance.

Testing your equipment after every event is something you should do. You will avoid bad surprise and will be more relax.

But what should you do IF something is not working during your show?

 

 

 

6-Have a Backup Plan

 

Have you ever experienced a blackout as a DJ or Spectators? Been at a wedding and the music sounded like a CD with scratches all over?

Unfortunately there are some situations you cannot avoid. You can test your equipment the day or the hour before, it can still stop working while you are performing.one cable xlr withe a node in a middle

 

WHY?

  • Cables getting old
  • The power source is limited for your equipment
  • Sound Limiter (if you reach the limit of the DB, it shut down your system)
  • Someone steps on your cable and disconnect it by accident
  • Someone falls on one of your equipment
  • Drinks on your DJ gear
  • You forget to connect one cable
  • The power button is OFF (stupid but most of the time is the first reason why is not working)

 

You need a backup plan, you cannot avoid the blackout, but bounce back and save the night.

Don’t be afraid to have too many cables, is never enough cables for a DJ.

Have some spare equipment: Speaker, headphone, external driver, microphone.

Get information on the location. Most of the private room for venue have a website. Contact the person in charge and ask for details about sound limiter, power sources and capacity.

Just simply prepare yourself for the worse and be ready to react.

Most of the time there is nothing you can do to avoid this situation: BE PREPARE

 

 

Take Your Time

 

It takes time to build a music library and have a decent DJ equipment.

Don’t rush it. The best way to learn is by making mistake and listening to criticism.

There are a lot of tips for DJ but, with 6 simple one you can make a huge difference between you and your competitors.

 


Have you ever experienced a blackout? Have you seen a DJ failed? How did he/you fix the problem?

Tell me in a comment below. I will get back to you if you have any questions

 

 

Charles.G

 

8 thoughts on “6 DJ Tips for Beginners

  1. Hey Charles!
    I have really enjoyed this article.
    Even though I am new to DJ one, it gives a great perspective view and makes me dive into this.
    I am going to have a try in the coming weeks.
    Thanks for posting such a helpful article.
    (Thumb up)

    Cheers,

    Eli

  2. I always have such a mess with cables. I couldn’t even imagine myself if I handled more cables than I already do 😉 Sometimes I untangle them, but sometimes is not enough and that bad habit would not make me an efficient DJ 😉
    As with most things in life, one has to be prepared, test and control, and have a back up plan. However well you plan something, at times unexpected circumstance like to sneak up on us, and we have to be ready to deal with them.
    Know your audience, and get enough sleep beforehand. I’ve never thought of it, but it is true, the DJ is the last man standing, so he/she must have amazing stamina and yes, drink a lot of water and make sure he/she is not tired. Many years ago I worked night shifts in weekends (computer stuff) and I always made sure that I had enough rest, so that I could stay up all night. It is extremely important.

    1. We all got somewhere in our home a tons of messy cables for sure.
      You absolutely right, in any work, not only night shift, a lack of sleep reflect on your productivity.
      Glad this article helped you
      Charles

  3. Wow this article was great because I have had many DJs where they were not prepared or could not find a certain song that we requested and this article will definitely help beginner Djs. Great article!

  4. Tip number three, organize your gear, is a nugget. Good organization is half of the work done. I like your recommendation to show the audience who’s behind the deck. It makes a lot of difference with the light on. I’ll check the rest of your recommendations. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Charles and thanks for the great article. I am glad I came across it today, I have never done any work as a DJ but have been in places where they are working, and I found that being seen is one of the things that sets a good and a great Dj apart.

    You can be a good DJ and have the best music in town but seem unapproachable, or be a great DJ who is having fun with the audience and appears to be enjoying his work. I think sometimes the DJ’s forget that they are performers too.

    I love the part of the article that talks about being organized. This can help you no matter what job you are in but I can see how it would be most important when being a DJ you would never want to appear unprepared.

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