Great! You can be a DJ using a laptop, it’s a great way to break into the business.
Be confident as you proceed. Let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind.
1. Get a Good Sound Card
You’re going to need a decent sound card, so let’s just start here. If you can afford it, get one that’s made for DJs.
2. Try Some Free DJ Software
The best way to experiment and see if you like being a DJ is to try some free software. Play around with these titles and get a feel for what you like.
• Virtual DJ Home – This software can grow with you. You can upgrade to paid versions as you want to, but the free offering is a great way to check out DJing.
• Mixxx – The software is entirely cross-platform, and has built-in support
• Traktor Pro 2 – Only the demo portion is free on this one, but it’s worth you checking it out. If you like it and want to purchase it, they offer their own hardware too.
3. Learn the Basics
When it comes to basic skills, you must master the basics before you can move on. Here they are for you.
• EQing – (Equalizing) boosting or dropping frequencies so your tracks blend together well
• Phrasing – This means to play your songs together where it makes sense to join them.
• Volume/Gain Control – When you’re watching meters, staying in the green is good. If you need more volume, use the amp or PA to boost it.
• Beat-matching – Many consider beat-matching to be obsolete with new technology. Others consider it a necessary skill to know.
4. Get a Good Stand
Don’t underplay the importance of this. You need an angled stand that can position your laptop up high enough for comfort. You need to easily reach it with a straight back and your head level. Don’t be hunched over the laptop all night.
5. Learn Some Tricks
• Keyboard Shortcuts – Don’t rely on moving your mouse around while you’re DJing. Shortcuts will save you time and professional cred.
• Customize your mapping – Most DJ software will allow you to change the manufacturer’s mapping. Play around with this and become accustomed to it.
• Change the Key Repeat Rate – Practice holding down keys in your software. You can go into the settings of your keyboard and change the repeat rate speed. This is a create way to create effects.
6. Build a Following
Try out your new skills at a friend’s cookout. Maybe you’re going to a birthday party that needs a DJ. Get a couple of free gigs under your belt before you move on.
7. Hit the Big Time
One great idea to break into a larger audience is to host a house party. Get some DJ friends to work it, and warm the crown up for them. It gives you exposure to a bigger fan base, and to the DJ community. Don’t be discourage if people don’t show up at first. Press on.
Like any new skill, learning to be a DJ will take a little time. Be confident and most of all, enjoy yourself.
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