Advice for novice (beginner) DJs

So I recently got a youtube message from DJ Wonder, an upcoming DJ with a strong interest in building on his skills. This is the conversation we had and I figured I’d post it up since it would benefit other young upcoming DJs as well.

Disclaimer: I by no means consider myself a teacher or an expert on the art of DJing. There are many other DJs out there with skill levels that surpass my own. I simply provide my two cents when asked for advice. Please take the following words at some discretionary level and to interpret it in a way that will benefit you.

Enjoy, and goodluck!

From DJWonder2009:

Hey Insomnia, I was wondering. How do you perfect and improve on mixing while DJ’ing? Most people I’ve asked told me to practice, practice, practice and to get familiar with the songs but I want to get a more precise answer. How did you get better? I wanna mix well if I’m gonna DJ in public. Are most beginner DJ’s learning this and other techniques through Serato or Traktor? or do some use CD’s with CDJ’s too? Don’t really see 12″ vinyls being used anymore. I saw a couple of videos of Funkmaster Flex pull those out on labor day weekend or 4th of July a couple years ago but that was about it.

My response to DJWonder2009:

Everyone you spoke to is correct in terms of PRACTICE. You don’t earn A’s in school without studying right? Same goes for DJing. But of course you need to learn the material before you can go over it and study it.

Check out this tutorial page by DJ Angelo. I’ve learned a few things from there. It’s good since you can rewind and watch it over and over again.

Beat matching & mixing is something that’ll take some time. Once you understand the fundamentals of how a song is broken down (meaning 2 bars, 4 bars & 8 bar counts) then beat matching is really simple. This also helps transitioning from one song to another.

My best advice, is to look everywhere on youtube for tutorials on what you want to learn.

Whether you’re using turntables or cdjs, I suggest to study the following in this order.

-Hand placement (how to hold the record or CDJ platter)
-Beat matching (you need to be able to line up beats of two different song tempos so that it doesn’t sound jumbled up) Google up BPM on wikipedia and read the article that explains what BPMs are. It’ll help
-Mixing (programming) knowing your 2 bars, 4 bars, and 8 bar counts so that you can seamlessly mix from one song to another without mixing LYRICS OVER LYRIC. Never ever ever ever mix lyric over lyric. That’s my #1 rule
-Scratching: scratching should be the last thing you focus on. Your scratching will never be amazing unless you understand the fundamentals of everything prior to scratching.

Just keep at it, do your research, keep watching youtube videos, and always try to meet other DJs with skills higher than yours. Every meet is a learning experience and it’ll only make you grow as a DJ.

Hope that helps, goodluck!
-DJ Insomnia

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