Saturday, March 1, 2014

DJ'ing for Beginners, #1 of 4 Parts

If you've found this blog post through an organic search, I've just (early 2024) consolidated the information from several distinct blog posts into one link on my main website:

You may prefer going to that page right now, as it has all the info from the post below, plus a lot more.  But if you prefer the formatting of this blog post, feel free to carry on ...


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.

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 (#1) includes the following sections, which I talk about in more detail further down this page: Introduction, why would you want to DJ, different ways to perform, and styles & techniques.


DJ'ing for Beginners, Part 1 of 4:

In this video I talk about my own experiences within the industry, reasons why you'd want to be a DJ, different career paths (mobile, festivals, club resident, radio, etc), different ways to perform, the pros and cons of vinyl vs CD vs digital, some basic beat-mixing and turntablism background, and more.

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

- Introduction, background, education, career, my own musical tastes.
- Background as a DJ and a club manager.
- Future plans as a producer & teacher, and plans for future videos.
- The general format of this video and series, as an overview with lots of links to subjects that need to be covered in more detail.
- If you're on mobile, you can't see annotations, so the blog postings will also provide the useful links to other videos.
- Mentioning books.

Why Would You Want To DJ?
- Fun, social, and a great career if you enjoy music.
- Don't take the social aspects too far. Have fun, but stay in control when you're performing.
- Different types of DJ's, including: mobile DJ's, club residents, playing at parties and festivals, radio DJ's.
- Many DJ's cannot or do not make a living through DJ'ing. However, it is possible.
- How to "make it big" as a DJ.

Different Ways to Perform
- Originally, vinyl was the most common realistic alternative. Now, there are literally dozens of ways of performing.
- Traditional methods: vinyl.
- Switch to CD players, with pitch control.
- Nice to be able to have waveform display on CD players.
- Hybrid turntables, ie. vinyl plus CD plus mp3. Not popular, discontinued.
- You can use software with time-encoded vinyl to play mp3's and other digital files.
- Laptop DJ's: pros and cons.
- DJ software that is digital only.
- DJ software that incorporates time-encoded manipulation.
- Ableton Live.
- Purchasing music: vinyl vs CD vs mp3. Characteristics of each, ie. 7" vs 12" vs LP, compilation CD's, bit rates on mp3's, etc.
- Future possibilities: DJ'ing from tablets and phones.
- Live PA, performance art.

Styles & Techniques:
- Beat mixing or beat matching.
- Different styles of music, ie. EDM, mainstream, hip hope, etc.
- Turntablism.
- You need a background in audio equipment.
- Taking requests and playing for the crowd, versus playing a unique style.

Virtual DJ

If you're interested in learning to DJ with digital software on a laptop, the three main options are Virtual DJ, Serato, and Traktor.  I haven't done a tutorial series for Serato or Traktor yet (coming in the winter of 2017/2018), but here's a link to the Virtual DJ for Beginners" tutorial series that I haven't mentioned anywhere else:

Here are all the other videos that were mentioned in Part 1 of the "DJ'ing For Beginners" series:

A detailed examination of the Mobile DJ industry:

An introduction to Turntablism (from DJ Angello):

"Long Train Running" routine by Skratch Bastid & Chris Karns:

Also worth checking out is the Studio Scratches channel on YouTube:

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'm Jonathan Clark, known online as DJ Bolivia.  Do you want to learn more about DJ'ing and music production?  If so, visit:

If you happen to enjoy techno tracks, most of my tracks are available as free downloads from this link:

Thanks so much for visit, and for your support!  I really appreciate the fan base that I've been able to build up over the years.

Also, if you want to visit any of my other sites, here are a few links:
    Main Site: