What Is a DJ

When you hear the word DJ, the first thing that usually comes to mind is someone pushing a record back on forth on a record player with headphones on. The role of a DJ has been around since the 1940s and has evolved so much to what it is today. 

A DJ by Definition is “is a person who hosts recorded music for an audience”, which in entails any type of media to play the music on, any type of venue and to any size crowd. 

The Evolution Of The DJ

A Disc Jockey, usually abbreviated to DJ is by definition someone that plays records music for an audience. The “disc” in disc jockey refers to Vinyl records which were the main media type that a DJ would play the music on in the past but this has changed over the years as DJs have gone from vinyl, CDs and now MP3s. 

Where the equipment for DJs has evolved so has the location, we now have many different types of DJs for example. 

  • Bedroom DJ
  • Mixtape DJ
  • Radio DJ
  • Bar DJ
  • Club/Festival DJ
  • Mobile DJ
  • Wedding DJ
  • Producer DJ
  • Turntablist
  • Video DJ

There will be future posts for each of these types of DJs to go into more details on what they do and how to become one. 

Where to start being a DJ?

A Quick Summary in Order. 

  1. Track Selection
  2. Beatmatching 
  3. Phrasing 
  4. Effects
Track Selection;

If you are looking to start DJing the first place you should be starting is your Track selection, no matter what type of DJ you are, knowing and getting comfortable with the type of music you want to play is your first priority.

it is suggested that starting with the genre you like to listen to the most as you are more likely to know more them in more details, how they start, how they end and when the chorus comes in.

Knowing your tracks is going to help you when beatmatching and knowing when to fade into the next song which are important skills to when playing to an audience. 

Beatmatching;

Once you are comfortable with you Tracks, the next step is making sure you can beat match your tracks.

beatmatching by definition “beat matching involves matching the tempo of one track with another, and synchronizing the two so that they play perfectly in time. In this way, as one track is ending, another can be faded in, seemingly continuously, with no changes in rhythm.” 

Beatmatching primary is what separates a DJ from Spotify or a jukebox, being able to transfer to another track while keeping the same energy in the venue is incredibly important when playing to an audience and usually the harder part of becoming a DJ. 

Phrasing; 

Phrasing is about the structure of your tracks and not to be confused with Phasing which is a sound effect.

When Phrasing is mentioned we are talking about when we bring in the second track of the mix at the right time. Without going too deep into music theory, All music tracks structured into four beats, four beats make a bar, (you might be familiar or heard 8 bars or 16 bars).

Phrases would be the section of the track, for example, the intro will be the first phrase followed by an 8 bar chorus which will be the second phrase.

When we think of practising your phrasing within DJing it is when we want to mix to start and when we want the first song to finish and the second song to start, for example mixing out the end of the chorus on the first track and having the second tracks start after the intro into the first verse of the song. 

Effects;

Why use effects?

Once you have nailed the fundamental DJ skills, effects are away to put the cherry on top. Effects are a way of adding something extra to your set weather its a an echo out when mixing out, A reverb to boast the vocals of an incoming track or a filter to keep the bass from the song going while mixing in an Accapella.

Effects are a great way to add your creative personality to the songs however it is easy to go overboard and ruin your set by having too much. 

How did you start DJing? let us know your story in the comments below. 

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