5 Mistakes Beginner DJs Make

5 Mistakes Beginner DJs Make

By: Andrew Duffield

So many people when they first learn to DJ make it unnecessarily hard for themselves and as a result they get frustrated, lose interest or simply give up. WHEN REALLY all they had to do is follow the tips I'm going to share in this video. DJing doesn't have to be hard, and I can always get my students mixing a set within their first hour of standing behind the decks, but let's jump into the common pitfalls that are holding you back now:

Quality Tracks

  1. You need to get good quality tracks, especially as a beginner. Too many beginners are ripping their music off youtube or even getting bootlegs of tracks and they wonder why they can't mix them. Here's the thing, to learn you want full club edits and ideally original mixes. This means the tracks have not been tampered with. For instance most non DJs don't want to hear a 30 second intro or outro they just want to hear the best part of the track, so this means if tracks are posted on platforms for the general public to listen to, the chances are it is a radio edit, meaning a shorter version of the track. This means all the down-parts of the track, which are usually good to mix on, have been taken away and original tracks that may have been 5 - 7 minutes in length could be reduced to 3 minutes.

On top of that, so tracks can stream quicker, often the sound quality is reduced, and in the uploading process or even bootlegs in the production process, the tracks could have been stretched or put together without DJs in mind resulting in inconsistent BPMS and poorly mastered audio and all in all these inconsistencies make mixing so much harder than it needs to be. However, this is where some new djs jump in and say, but my whole music library is made up of these kinds of tracks and they offer some kind of resistance to change, but lets say the bootlegs you have are 3 minutes in length, the beat grid keeps coming off beat, which presents its own issues and the sound quality is shit, then my advice would be learn to make your own bootlegs, but first grab the original club edits, get some solid foundations down and then work on creating mash ups and remixes on the fly.

This is going to sound so much more professional and will also help you to fine tune your skills and develop a sound that's yours alone and trust me if people are watching you Dj and you're doing this stuff on the fly as opposed to just mixing someone elses bootlegs, people will be more impressed and you'll get more respect. So the solution: go into Beatport or sign up to a DJ pool or streaming service that is built for DJs and start playing with full club edits and you'll be surprised how this one step alone can transform the way you play and how much easier mixing becomes. This then builds your confidence and as a result you feel more inspired to play.

Beats, Bars and Phrases

  1. The second challenge beginner Djs face is they don't take the time to build a solid understanding of music theory and then how to incorporate that knowledge into their mixing to assure that all of their transitions line up and sound amazing every single time. making transitions line up should not be a fluke, it should be a given and in my course I have exercises that teach you everything you need to know about phrasing, song structure, where to mix for different genres of music and also creative mixing challenges to maximise energy vs mixing harmonically.

Camelot Wheel Min

  1. This leads into the 3rd point and that is once new DJS learn about key, they put way too much importance on it and often pick tracks to play that are harmonically compatible versus keeping the over-all energy and set flow in mind. For instance let's say you're at a party and the DJ is going off and then all of a sudden they bring in a track, and perhaps it was a beautiful mix, it was in key, it sounded professional, but the track bought the energy right down and as a result the dance floor empties. Trust me, people care more about energy, flow and your track selection than perfect transitions. Don't get me wrong I 100% love mixing by key and if all your tracks are around the same energy anyway, mixing in key can be a great way to get to know new tracks and build confidence quickly, but when playing live, if it was a choice between mixing harmonically and playing the right track at the right time, track selection and playing the right kind of music for the events you are part of is always king.

When to use DJ FX

  1. You go straight for effects or you try to combine too many different techniques too soon. For instance no doubt spin backs are fun and if used moderately and timed well they can enhance your transition, but if you are doing spin backs randomly and sometimes even a few times every few minutes, it gets old fast and can even be a little annoying. Remember your audience is there for the atmosphere and if they hear a track they love they probably don't want you messing with it too much. This also goes for the flanger, New Djs love hitting the flanger, but if the original song really did sound better with the flanger going the whole time why don't you hear producers use this effect more often when making the track.

Remember FX is the icing on the cake, your transitions and over-all flow is the cake, too much icing makes people sick, but the right balance between icing and cake and OMG you can give people a real treat. So 100% use your FX to enhance your transitions, but get your transitions sounding super tight first, THERN add the FX.

Club Ready DJ School Package

  1. You never learnt how to DJ. In my years of being a teacher I have taught well over 1000 people how to DJ when I ran Sydney DJ School and since then I have taught tens of thousands of people through my online baby - CRDJS and through teaching all these people I have realised a few things: 1: there are teachers and then there are DJs. If you get a mate that's a DJ to teach you and they haven't figured out how to explain learning to DJ and the correct order to learn things, meaning they don't have teaching experience, then chances are you'll be more confused than when you started and it'll end up with them showing off and feeding off the extra attention you are giving them.

Also, it's important to note Youtube is a fantastic resource to teach yourself, but the issue is, all the teachers hold back as they want their course content to be the place that delivers the real value, and because content is posted in no particular order without key foundations explained or sequenced, you could be learning the wrong stuff in the wrong order and although it can be done, it's like trying to re-invent the wheel and in short is a very, round a bout way of learning. Put it this way, I have taught many self taught people before and they always have gaps in their knowledge and their mixing is ok, but on a line up they are only average at best.

OK so now for the plug, I have been working the past 3 months behind the scenes adding new content to my courses with one goal: to make the CRDJC the number 1 dj course in the world. All of the videos have been updated to a CDN server which means no buffering, instant loading and because it's one course, there's no overlapping content, just one complete package that can be applied to all gear and has sections (not up-sells haha), on how to mix all the main genres of music and in short the course will get you where you need to be very quickly.

Course Upgrades

For me it's not about doing up-sells, it's about building one complete package that follows the perfect sequence, each video feeding off the last, building your knowledge whilst also making the learning experience fun and easy yet challenging enough to keep you interested and engaged.

Anyway, if you want to learn to DJ and you're reading this, take it as a sign and do yourself a favour, check out my DJ courses, https://www.clubreadydjschool.com/club-ready-dj-course/. I can assure you it will be the best thing you've done for yourself all year and if you disagree I'll give you a full money back guarantee and I won't even ask why. My course is my baby and my students my extended family.

Female DJ 1

If you are having trouble getting started with your DJING I suggest:

  1. I would select a genre to start with and master that genre before moving to a similar sub genre and only once you're feeling confident with that category, I would then move to the next category, with the goal of being able to mix all 3 categories of music confidently. I 100% get it BTW, if you're a techno DJ why learn to mix hip hop or vice versa, but the truth is mixing hip hop and all vocal driven music requires quicker transitions to avoid vocals on vocals and often these tracks may have shorter intros which may involve looping the intro to give yourself more time to do a clean mix. Sure you may not always need these skills when mixing the deeper kinds of house, but trust me there will no doubt be a time when knowing how to do quicker punchier mixes will be to your benefit. Anyway, I don't mean to plug the course so much but I am proud of the fact that my complete package covers everything you'll ever need ot DJ all genres on all types of DJ gear and the advanced performance and creative mixing sections will then take your skills even further, anyway I'll link it in the description in case you want results fast.

Female DJ 2

  1. Once you feel confident with your DJng you may start warming to the idea of playing live. Personally I would set some goals on what you wish to achieve as a DJ, so you have something to aim for. My advice, set goals that excite you and recognise the progress you are making along the way, as opposed to focusing on the distance between you and your goals. They say people over estimate what they can achieve in 1 year, yet grossly underestimate what they can achieve in 10 , so think big and then take small steps towards your goal every single day. trust me, simply making progress is such a rewarding feeling that can have a ripple effect on every area in your life. So for instance, some goals that inspire you could be to develop your skills further and put together mind blowing combos and DJ sets that wow people or perhaps you wish to build your experience reading and responding to live crowds, either way, follow the ideas that excite you as IMO that's the real measure of success: trusting your ideas and making progress towards the things you are passionate about and drawn to and trust me the fulfilment that comes form that turns your goals from a means to an end to an end in itself, so enjoy the process, learning to DJ is awesome fun and if you don't agree, stop comparing yourself to other people and start use DJing as an opportunity to bring yourself and others closer to music.

Female DJ 3

  1. And then thirdly make steps towards sharing your sound and building your experience. Trust me, every beginner I have ever taught always gets daunted by putting themselves out there and playing live, and they often say I'm just learning for a creative outlet and they say they have no wish to play in front of people, which in truth, learning to DJ to have fun and connect with music is as good enough reason as any, but the thing is once my students are confident behind the decks, which only takes a few weeks, they all get the itch to play live and when they do they're hooked so don't be surprised if your goals start to get bigger as you begin to feel more confident behind the decks. On that, if you're a club ready student and you want to get more opportunities to share your sound, you're in luck as our community provides a few platforms for DJs to get experience playing through the club ready radio station and also through our live streaming events plus many of our students have launched club events, mainly in the UK and the US, and the good news is they are taking many of the club ready students with them, this honestly blows my mind so if you're part of the CRT already, huge shout out and thanks, our community is second to none and is attracting some really wonderful people.

Come on!!! Trusting me to be your DJ mentor will be the best gift you ever gave to yourself. Learning to DJ will transform your life!!

Check out the Club Ready DJ Course - it's a game changer!!

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