Are you a music lover, do you like to experiment and choose the right songs to entertain your friends? Do you dream of working behind a console and making everyone dance to the rhythm of your beats? In this article we will see how to become a DJ , how to train on the profession and how to make yourself known.

The DJ’s job: what does it do?

How to become a DJ: image of a DJ playing in a clubBefore seeing how to become a DJ, let’s find out what this professional figure does.

First, a distinction must be made between DJ  and DJ producer .

The classic DJ , also called the Disk Jockey , is the one who takes care of the music during an evening or party. His task is to select and play a series of musical pieces that determine the rhythm of the event. The DJ producer , on the other hand, creates, arranges and performs musical pieces thanks to electronic instruments and digital technologies. The producer, in fact, does not use musicians or musical instruments, but only uses his computer and special mixer and software.

The duties of the DJ are:

  • Select the music suitable for each event
  • Entertain the public , alternating moments of music with others of voice
  • Have good mixing technique and good backing tracks
  • Create a character , transporting customers not only with music but also with your own attitude.

How to become a DJ: the requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a DJ, but there are some basic elements to possess, such as:

  • Knowledge of music : having a wide musical background is essential for a DJ, who must choose the right accompaniment for each type of audience.
  • DJ Equipment : Having the right equipment to mix songs, produce them and play them is an integral part of the DJ’s job.
  • Certificate of fitness for use: this is a permit to be requested from INPS that allows the DJ to work during a gig. It can be requested by the DJ or the club. In case of lack of a certificate of viability, the venue will be responsible for the offense.

How to become a DJ: training and skills

There are no degree courses to learn how to DJ, but there are many ways to train . On an educational level, there are many professional courses that teach how to mix a song and what all the technical processes for music production are. It is advisable to study the basics of music theory, to improve sound level and broaden your skills.

The practical skills to learn are:

  • Beat matching : once you learn how to manage the BPM of a song, you will be able to align two pieces on the same BPM.
  • Phrasing : technique that allows you to insert a new song at a point of the song being played in a harmonious and pleasant way, respecting the beats and vocal elements of the previous one.
  • Equalization : useful technique to modulate the frequencies of the song to be inserted to make the transition between the two songs smooth and uniform in terms of sound.
  • Mixing : moment in which the two tracks are treated and ready to merge into a single sound, resulting uniform but still recognizable.

If you are a beginner, there are tons  of tutorials on YouTube to learn how to mix and study the basics of music theory .Furthermore, to learn the trade it is important to have many experiences : travels , concerts by DJs you admire but, above all, doing the apprenticeship will make you grow a lot in a short time.

What to do to become a DJ

In particular, to become a DJ, you will need to:

  1. Choose the music to play
  2. Choose the equipment according to your specific needs
  3. Buy songs for DJ-sets
  4. Promote yourself locally and online

Choose the music

Before starting work, you will need to choose a genre of music in which to specialize. Choose the genre you prefer and think about who might like your music, to choose the right songs.

How to become a DJ: console imageDJ equipment

DJ equipment is the foundation for getting the job done. The tools a DJ needs are:

  • DJ console : there are two categories of consoles, the all in one and the classic console. The all in one console allows you to load your songs through CD players and USB ports and add effects without using a PC. The classic console , on the other hand, allows you to manage the songs thanks to the use of a computer with dedicated software. The console can include a mixer or be without one.
  • Portable DJ : The DJ PC must be performing and comfortable to carry.
  • DJ software: There are various DJ software, both free and paid. Among the most famous are Serato , Traktor , Virtual DJ , Mixxx and DJ Pro .
  • Mixer: Often already included in the console, the DJ mixer is used to change volumes, balances and equalization.
  • Headphones: DJs use headphones that allow you to hear both the current track and the track to be played later. For this feature, the headphones have the ability to rotate only one of the pavilions, to switch from listening to both songs to listening to only one of the two. They must also be comfortable and well insulated from outside noise.

Buy music

A DJ, during the performances, must purchase the music from official channels, in order not to incur SIAE sanctions. By law, you must take advantage of original songs reproduced from the original medium on which they were purchased. Consequently, to avoid using different media during an event (CD, USB, etc.), there are two alternatives:

  1. Catalog of purchased songs: create a catalog of the original songs downloaded on the PC and regularly purchased from digital stores;
  2. Contract with the SIAE : enter into a contract with the SIAE to play songs protected by copyright. The institution, based on the type of contract stipulated, will make available a series of tracks to be used without restrictions. Before the event it is necessary to draw up the SIAE borderò , the list of songs played in an evening, to allow the institution to pay royalties to the authors.

If the DJ does not comply with these provisions during an evening, he will be deemed solely responsible for the offense.

How to become a famous DJ: make yourself known

Once you are familiar with the equipment, you will need to make yourself known!

Register your works and choose how to share them :

  • avoid spamming your pieces everywhere and posting your works on sites where they would be removed for copyright infringement, like YouTube.
  • Go for platforms like MixCloud or HearThis
  • Make your tracks available for free to content creators .

You could also advertise your songs on social media  and open a website to talk about you and your sound. To create a professional-looking site in a short time, rely on   GoDaddy’s Website Builder service , a tool that allows you to create a site from scratch in a few simple steps, personalized and full of useful content for your business.

Another important aspect to be known is to gain experience .

At first it will be difficult to find a place to perform. Start with small events where there are people you know, like birthdays and friends’ parties. When you have become more confident, try to propose yourself to small clubs and participate in nights for emerging DJs : you can make yourself known and make a name for yourself.

How much does a DJ earn

At the beginning, the fees will not be very high ( between 100 and 500 euros per event ) but, over time, they could increase quite a bit. A DJ known throughout Italy could ask for between 1000 and 5000 euros per night, while international stars like David Guetta can earn up to 500,000 euros.

Becoming famous is not easy, but with good will, a bit of luck and hard work you can at least try!

Mike Hambright
Author: Mike Hambright


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