Learn to DJ

Like 50 years ago, the essence of a DJ’s job is to play recorded tracks for the folks on the dancefloor. The traits that separate real good DJs from the rest remain the same, too: their musical taste, the ability to read the dancefloor and to create that special atmosphere with their music.

That said, a modern club DJ is expected to possess certain technical skills to properly present their performance. Those skills are called “technical” because they can be explained in great detail and are universally applicable. Examples of such technical skills include mixing or its prerequisite, beatmatching.

The trick is that there’s no hard border between the art – where the DJ’s creativity takes hold – and the technique because the creativity also lies in how you apply those technical skills of yours. In any case, the technique needs to be mastered first, which is what we’ll be doing here.

In this section:

If you have ever heard a DJ set, you couldn’t help but notice how smoothly each track transitions into the next one – without gaps or changes in tempo. Why not simply put on one record after another, as they do it on the radio? The thing is, the DJ doesn’t want the dancers to... Full article »
Beatmatching is a prerequisite for most mixing styles. It’s the part where the DJ matches the tempo of the next track to that of the tune that's currently playing on the dancefloor. Beatmatching is done by ear, and it’s a skill that needs to be learned. If two tracks aren’t... Full article »
The key difference between CDs and vinyl is that with CDs, you can't “touch the sound” so to speak. Instead, you have to rely on the buttons, jog wheel and other controls of a CD deck. But first things first. Note: A lot of today’s professional CD players have the “... Full article »
By now, you know a lot of ways to bring two tracks’ beats back in sync if they've started drifting apart. You can give a record a slight push, brush the platter to slow it down for a moment, or twirl the deck’s spindle. The problem with these methods is that the effect they produce... Full article »
To mix well, you’ll need to become very familiar with the structure of a typical dance track. Fortunately, as if to make the DJ’s life easier, most records follow pretty much the same pattern. Knowing this pattern will allow you to tell where the music is heading and to manipulate it... Full article »
So, you’re now a beatmatching pro, you know your DJ equipment inside out, and words like “phrase,” “breakdown” and “bar” are part of your daily vocabulary. Great! It’s time to move on and learn how to mix tracks. Today we’ll get a taste of what... Full article »
Bad news: Beatmatching proficiency alone is not enough to be able to mix well. For your blends to be smooth and natural, you also need to know and make use of the structure of the tracks you're mixing. Good news: It's not difficult. The key point here is phrase matching, which is what we... Full article »
After you’ve mastered mixing in its basic form and learned to match phrases, you’ll already be able to make fairly good transitions between records. To mix like a pro, though, you’ll still need to master one essential skill: using the EQ. In this article, I’ll talk about how... Full article »
As your DJ skills improve, you’ll notice that mixing and its related preparations like beatmatching don’t take up that much of your time behind the decks. For the majority of the set, you’ll have to listen to your tracks along with the dancefloor. One way to make yourself busier... Full article »
As you know all too well at this point, mixing is a process of making smooth blends between songs. That said, sometimes it’s more fun to forget about the smoothness and add some variety to your transitions. That’s when the spinbacks, power-offs and stops come into play – surely... Full article »
There’s no limit to perfection, and this applies to DJing just as well as to any other craft. DJs are constantly on a lookout for new ways to make their sets more captivating, to direct the energy of the dancefloor and to work the crowd better. Harmonic mixing is just one of such ways. It... Full article »

Comments

hey bro...you;ve been a great help for me...everthing here is explained in a professional way which gave me some guide for good mixing...thank you and keep up the good work...and please make a tutorial for music production if you can..thank you again....

Thanks and you're welcome man! Not sure about the music production tutorial at this point, but we'll see.

Great site. This is a good source for all the new jacks that are trying to take the DJ business seriously. Keep up the good work

I just want to echo what the others have said above; thanks for doing this site, it's a really good resource. All the articles are well written and really helpful. Thanks again dude.

Good resource, as everyone says, not just for turntable DJs, but also for those creating mixtapes and the like using computer media. Beatmatching, phrasematching, crossfades and stops are essential for smooth music transitions. Thank you so much for your advice and the work put into the creation of this page.

hie guys please help me out here, i started djing using the one ear method but i never seemed to beatmatch correctly then my other dj freind introduced the two cup method (as in listerning to two track at the same time ) ... My question is which method is best and how do i master the one ear cup method ???

It's a matter of preference. When I learned, I beatmatched solely in my headphones because I had no speakers. I had no problem switching to the one-earcup method later on when needed.

I have a Numark turntable and I'm getting the message,( Invalid skin file) so therefore my ID jay software doesn't work.

Please advise.

Question concerning mid track transitions: It seems that all tutorials/guides emphasise on outro/intro transitions. The issue I want to tackle here is that most tracks I have are 7-9 min long (extended versions) and leaving a song on till the end might get a little monotonous for the crowd. Do you have any advice on mixing mid-track?

Hey Alex, yes, there are a number of points you can mix out of the old track at besides A's outro. One major alternative point is A's breakdown. You can overlay B's intro on top of it, or start B's intro on A's last chorus before the breakdown, i.e. 16 bars earlier. Or you can overlay B's first breakdown in the beginning (if there is one) with A's main one.

Question concerning mid track transitions: It seems that all tutorials/guides emphasise on outro/intro transitions. The issue I want to tackle here is that most tracks I have are 7-9 min long (extended versions) and leaving a song on till the end might get a little monotonous for the crowd. Do you have any advice on mixing mid-track?

There are a number of options, check out my comment above.

Thanks a lot for this article, all sections are very interesting and very well explained. Help me a lot!

Well explained. ....big up. ..kaboom

Thanks for the tips, you make it very easy to understand !

You're welcome, thanks for the kind words!

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