When most people think of a great DJ- a DJ they really admire- they think of a DJ with excellent mixing skills. If you are ever going to be good enough to do anything bigger than your Aunt's wedding or your little sister's middle school dance, you are going to have to be able to mix in your sleep.
So let's get down to the nitty-gritty of what it is going to take for you to Learn How to Mix.
First thing you need to do is get out to the record store (you know, the place where you dropped all of this months and last months paychecks) and buy two of the same record. Ideally, this record is going to be something where you can really make out the beat and it isn't too complex. Don't try to be Paul Van Dyk yet and buy yourself some complicated beats. We are just going to try and get the hang of this.
Now you get home and get all of your DJ stuff set up. At this point, I'm expecting that you've spent a few hours, days, or weeks playing around with this and trying to make it sound great but had little luck. Yes, I know you aren't reading this without trying it first. Who can resist playing with their brand new decks, mixer, cross-fader, and amp?
Well since you couldn't master it on your own, try to follow these instructions and do it step-by-step with me. I will admit that a video lesson if this is much easier to learn from. That's why I tell me students to buy a series of Learn How To DJ videos if they really want to learn how to be a great DJ. I mean, you can learn this stuff by yourself over time, but do you really want to do your first gig in the nursing home?
Anyways, put both records (it's the same record, remember?) on the decks. Set the cross-fader to the middle position so you can hear both records equally. Start one of the decks a-spinning.
Now isn't this exciting? If you can stick with me here for about five more minutes, you are going to learn to mix like a pro dj.
Now take a listen to your record and find a good bass beat. Got it? Slowly spin the record in reverse with your finger until you get to the start of the beat. Easy as pie!
Now pause that deck and start the other one. Pretty much what we are going to do is get the other deck going and try to drop your stopped deck on top of the moving deck in time so the (imaginary) audience doesn't spill their drink and sneer at you up in the DJ booth.
So as you get near the beat, start your other deck and hold that record in place. . . and as the beat nears, DROP THE DECK. If all goes well, the beats should sinc up.
Now if this worked the first time, then you are a natural. For most people it just doesn't happen the first time. It takes practice. But that's what this game is all about. Like everything, practice makes perfect. And also, not to beat a dead horse, but if you can get someone to teach you hands-on how to do this you are going to be in a lot better shape. You can see some free sample videos or my favorite DJ Video course here. Now all you have to do is keep practicing, and work up to some more difficult records. I know you'll be tempted to try and do all sorts of wild stuff off the bat, but you've got to get the basics down first. We all had to learn to kiss before we moved on to the bigger stuff, so take your time.
Bradley Spencer was a DJ in Phoenix, Arizona for a good long stretch. Now he helps aspiring DJs get their skills in line before trying to get their name out.
As a DJ trainer, Brad always suggests starting with a complete DJ Video Training Course before playing out or paying a professional DJ thousands of dollars for hands-on training.