Sunday, March 2, 2014

DJ'ing for Beginners, #4 of 4 Parts

Welcome to my "DJ'ing for Beginners" tutorial series. I've wanted to put this information online for about ten years, and just recently I finally decided that I was ready to do it properly.

Before I get into the good information further down this page, here are links to the other blog posts in this series, and also to the associated videos. By the way, you don't have to watch this series in any particular order:

Part 1's Blog Post                                   Part 1's Video on YouTube
Part 2's Blog Post                                   Part 2's Video on YouTube
Part 3's Blog Post                                   Part 3's Video on YouTube
You Are Here Now                                   Part 4's Video on YouTube
No post for Extras                                     Extras Video on YouTube

What I've done is to record the tutorial in four parts, since each part is fairly long. I also had to add an "extras" section after everything else was online, to cover some things that I noticed I had missed. Overall, the series is close to five hours in length, so each individual video in the series is slightly over an hour long. The information that I covered in this part (#4) includes the following sections, which I talk about in more detail further down this page: Best ways to get booked, the future is in production work, closing remarks, and final tips & advice.


DJ'ing for Beginners, Part 4 of 4:

In this video I talk about the best ways to get booked, marketing yourself, editing tracks, making remixes, making your own tracks, and a large number of tips and advice. When it comes to production work, if you're interested in branching out into that, you'll eventually have to learn about things like: how sound works, sampling rates, bit rates, decibel scales, nyquist frequencies, dither, frequency spectrums, frequency ranges of various instruments, EQ'ing, using MIDI versus audio, virtual instruments, effects including reverb, echo, delay, chorus, flanger, compression, types of instruments, working with microphones and working with vocalists, mixing and mastering, and much more.




Here's the outline that I used when putting together this fourth part of the series:

Best Ways to Get Booked
- First, practice constantly.
- Meet other established DJ's. Learn from them, offer something in return.
- Ask DJ friends if they can put in a good word for you as an opener when they get booked.
- Make friends with DJ's or Managers of clubs. Also, become friends with all the staff. Don't get drunk and act like an idiot in the club.
- Once you've made some friends, ask if you can practice or play for the staff for an hour before the club opens.
- Become a promoter. Throw a party, play as an opener or closer. This has pros and cons.
- Make friends with promoters, and offer to help them with their events.
- Have business cards. Leave several cards with EACH club manager and other DJ's.
- Demo mixes – why they can be useful. And what their limitations are. "Fake" mixes, not actually demonstrating any talent.

The Future is in Production Work
- Production work is now possible by bedroom producers thanks to low-priced software and equipment.
- Even if you never produce professional-quality tracks for public distribution, you might find a bit of amateur production work to be fun.
- Learning the basics of production, even if you never attempt to do it professionally, will help you understand the physics and structure of music better, and that will make you a better DJ.
- How to get started, schools versus learning on your own.
- A list of things that you'll need to learn: how sound works, sampling rates, bit rates, decibel scales, nyquist frequencies, dither, frequency spectrums, frequency ranges of various instruments, EQ'ing, using MIDI versus audio, virtual instruments, effects including reverb, echo, delay, chorus, flanger, compression, types of instruments, working with microphones and working with vocalists, mixing and mastering, and much more.
- Talk about all the different software that is used in production work.
- A soft start: re-editing versions of your favourite tracks.
- Move on to doing remixes of existing tracks.
- Producing your own music from scratch.
- Legalities of playing your own personal remixes.
- Learning some Music Theory can be useful. Also, learning to play instruments is fun.

Closing Remarks, Final Tips & Advice
- You will not become a DJ overnight. If you want to do it, you're going to have to put in literally months or even a year or more of practice and getting to know people.
- Your purpose is to entertain the crowd, not to entertain yourself.
- Always think about safety. Safety of yourself, safety of your dancers. Know what you are expected to do in the case of a power failure, or various other types of emergencies. Where are the nearest fire extinguishers and how does the venue's fire suppression system work? Where are the emergency exits?
- Additional research: read lots of books. Show a number of recommended books.
- Always carry a small flashlight (or two), and maybe a leatherman.
- Always check out your sound quality, whether in a club or doing mobile. Reccie beforehand too. Learn about how sound works, and especially about acoustics.
- Understand gain staging as a way to have clean sounds and avoiding distortion.
- Be professional in a business sense. Use contracts. Ask for deposits, get paid before you play, unless you've got an ongoing relationship with the venue.
- Personal development: get a driver's license, pay attention to personal hygiene, dress appropriately, make sure you can stay sober at some events, make sure you always keep your word. There are a lot of flaky and undependable DJ's out there. Having a reputation as someone who is dependable goes a long, long way in the industry.
- Don't diss other DJ's or producers or people in the scene, thinking that it makes you look better in comparison. Focus on peoples' good points, and if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all.
- You'll be nervous the first time that you play at any new venue. Accept it. That usually goes away after you're onto your third or fourth track of the night. Again, don't use alcohol.
- Fun Staff: DJ Hero videogame.
- Remember who pays you: the promoters and managers. They want someone who is reliable.
- Know your music. There are tens of thousands of popular songs out there, in dozens of genres. If you're a specialty DJ, this may not matter, but if you're a mobile or even a mainstream club DJ, you're going to need to know a lot of music. You can never spend too much time researching and discovering “new” (or old) music.
- Don't be scared to dance.




I didn't need to link to any of my other videos in this part of the DJ'ing for Beginners series. However, I'll probably have a link here shortly to a "Extras That I Forgot To Talk About" video. Give me two or three days?



Finally, if you'd like to download or listen to an audio transcript of this video, as an mp3 from Soundcloud, here's the link:




If you like the sound of any of the tracks played during the breaks between sections, I've got all of them available as free downloads. Go to SoundCloud and do a search for: "dj bolivia global underground"


I have quite a few videos online now relating to DJ'ing, music production, audio recording, learning various traditional instruments, and all kinds of other music-related topics. Hopefully you'll find many of them to be interesting. To see a complete organized list, you should visit and bookmark this page:

www.djbolivia.ca/videos.html


Again, thanks for your interest in this series, and thanks for sharing this post or links to any of the videos.




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