How to Become a DJ: A Completed Guide to Success (1/2)

Last Updated on September 26th, 2023 at 3:45 pm

If you’ve ever had a dream and want to become a DJ, now is the perfect time to begin. In this article, we’ll discuss how to become a DJ and the equipment you’ll need.

We’ll also explore the various types of DJs and answer common questions, such as whether prior experience is necessary. Let’s dive into the world of DJing and begin your journey.

What exactly is a DJ?

A DJ is the person in charge of playing music at parties, nightclubs, bars, festivals, event venues, or on radio stations. The term “DJ” comes from “disc jockey,” originally describing the act of handling vinyl records to queue up the next track.

Nowadays, the term “DJ” encompasses various roles related to music selection and vinyl record handling. There are three primary types of DJs today, each with its distinct skills, experiences, and opportunities.

Club DJs

The most common type of DJ can be found at clubs, bars, parties, and various events. Their main focus is on mixing and beatmatching to keep the dance floor alive.

5 Things Club DJs Can Learn from Mobile DJs - Digital DJ Tips

Club DJs use vinyl turntables, CDJs, digital controllers, or other playback devices to play tracks from their collections at live events. Some of them even add live elements like samplers, synthesizers, or vocals into their performances.

Club DJing is an art that involves selecting music that matches the crowd’s energy and seamlessly blending it into an engaging stream of tracks. Well-known club DJs are in high demand for their ability to control the energy on the dance floor and keep the crowd entertained throughout their sets.

Radio DJs

How Do Radio DJ's Become Successful?

Radio DJs serve as hosts for radio programs. They provide commentary, select tracks, and engage with listeners. This includes phone-ins and artist interviews during tours or promotions.

Specialized genre knowledge is often required for radio DJs. In today’s industry, they are usually seasoned broadcasting professionals.

A successful radio DJ needs deep musical niche knowledge. They must also possess the confidence of a media personality for on-air discussions.


Turntablists are the original DJs. They excel in sound manipulation and creating new music using techniques like scratching and beat juggling.

In the tradition of the earliest “disc jockeys,” turntablist DJs rely on vinyl setups. This style of DJing is considered the most challenging.

Turntablists spend hours perfecting the rhythmic aspects of their craft. They must have expert knowledge of vinyl manipulation to craft fresh sounds.

The most essential DJ skills

1. Music selection

As a DJ, your role is that of the selector. This means having a keen sense of which songs to play and when to play them.

Engage actively with music. Consider how a track will sound on club speakers and how it might influence the mood and atmosphere when introduced at a specific moment in your set.

The world’s top DJs excel in understanding what the crowd desires and delivering unexpected, captivating, and inspiring choices.

Stay updated with new music by following emerging artists, consistently saving tracks that pique your interest, exploring niche playlists, and digging through records at record shops.

Expand your familiarity with record labels and their releases. Dive into their catalogs to grasp different genres and trends.

Don’t hesitate to seek out your connections for track IDs and sources of inspiration.

Maintain an attitude of exploration, collection, and curation as you listen, which will aid in honing your skills as a selector.

2. Performance and mixing

Mastering the technical aspects of DJing is crucial to ensure a smooth and engaging set for your audience.

While being a skilled track selector takes top priority in DJing, knowing how to skillfully mix tracks in and out contributes significantly to the quality of your DJ sets.

To maintain the energy on the dance floor, you’ll need to learn the art of seamlessly blending tracks. This involves beat matching, fine-tuning EQ settings, timing effects, and executing drops and cuts—all vital skills.

The good news is that modern CDJ equipment has made the learning process somewhat more accessible. So, there’s no need to be intimidated by the technical side of DJing.

As you grow in confidence behind the decks, you’ll have the freedom to incorporate effects and performance tricks into your sets. This way, you can concentrate on perfecting your selections and finding that ideal mix.

3. Engaging with the Audience

Creating an unforgettable set involves connecting with your audience, reading their reactions, and adjusting your performance accordingly. Learn by observing how other DJs engage with their crowds.

For genres like rap or pop with well-known lyrics, knowing when to let the audience sing along is crucial. Club DJs are skilled at understanding the crowd’s desires and building a lively party atmosphere.

Utilize the microphone for crowd interaction and consider adding performances to your set for extra excitement. Remember, a packed dance floor and joyful crowd indicate success.

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