Is there a good DJ training source?

To many ads? Support ODJT and see no ads!

LittleTreeGuy

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2021
112
263
45
I apologize if I post this in the wrong forum...

I'm looking for some help and I hope someone here can offer some suggestions. My Dj career/hobby started about 6 months ago. I've got the gear, I've got the music, I feel confident in my style of song selection and reading the crowd and have been told I'm doing a great job at my performances. The other dj's in my area that I've been working with assured me they would show me the ropes. Well, I'm several months into performances and I feel I've tapped out their resources in ways of song transitions. My training there consisted of "try to stay close to the same BPM, so the next song lines up better" and if the BPM jump is too great, just say something on the mic to draw the attention away from the beat jump. I feel pretty comfortable beat matching and using tempo for small changes +/- 8beat changes or so. But the only form of "transitions" they use is just fade out the previous song and slam in the new one. I don't feel like I'm learning anything from them for smooth, good sounding transitions.

Do you all just use the volume faders for transitioning, or are you using something else? What is the best online resource for training transitions? I feel my transitions are simple and boring. I'm not trying to scratch or mix in anything crazy for every song, but just find ways to perform a more polished, smooth, flowy transition. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ittigger

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 16, 2011
12,685
1,724
63
My suggestions are in this way. My first run at this was 13 years. I used to go to Club Zanzibar and listen to the DJs who played there and I went to the record stores and bought the same songs they played and played the songs exactly the way they did. I had a job working at night from 3-11PM. I would come home and practice for a few hours after I got off of work before going to sleep. That worked well for me because I only lived 4 blocks away from my job and I didn't have to be back to work until 3PM. I just kept practicing till I felt I was good enough to perform in front of people. I did a few things for the school I was working at then. I eventually got my own style and did things the way I felt worked for me.

When I came back after being out of business for 7 years I thought it would be a breeze for me because I had done this before. The first event I did when I came back was My God sons High School Grad party in my best friends backyard. I did a lot practicing and thought I was going to kill it. I did a beyond an ugly job. It was so bad I wanted to run and hide. My best friend wouldn't let me stop. He said I had to keep going. That was the best ting he ever did for me. I kept playing. My point is I had more practicing to do to get back to the way I used to be and I did that. I've been back 21 years now and I'm very confident I'm good at what I do and many people compliment me on the job I do. When I first came back I was using CD's to DJ with. Now I'm a computer DJ and will never go back to using CD's to DJ with.

My suggestion is when you practice to record yourself as you practice so you can listen to yourself after you finish to hear what you did right and the things you need to work on. Don't give up. Keep going. There's a ton of people of people on here who have been doing this a long time and they can help you. Next year will make 35 years of me being a DJ. I was thinking of having a 35 year celebration for the time I've been a DJ. Just need to start planning if I'm going to do it.

One last thing. Don't beat yourself when you make a mistake. I've been back now for 21 years and sometimes I make a bad mix every once in a blue moon. So nobody is perfect at it all. I'm light years away from what I used to be when I first came back. I just practiced religiously when ever I could to keep getting better and better and better. One thing I do know is you're never to old to still learn. Even with all my years in this business I'm still learning new things. I use VDJ and there is way you can record from VDJ so you can hear what you're doing if I'm correct. Myself I was using a CD recorder and making mixes on a CD to listen to when I got finished. That recorder finally stopped working and it just cost too much to get fixed.

Let me say it this way. Micheal Jordan is considered the greatest NBA player of all times. He had natural God given talent. Just because he had that gift he still had to work hard and practice regularly to get to be as great a player as he was. He was determined to be a great player no matter what some might have said to him. So don't let nobody discourage you. Keep the faith and keep going.
 
Last edited:

logisticalstyles

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 7, 2018
89
323
47
I generally use my volume faders to blend in the new song and then use the crossfader to complete the transition. I also incorporate some combination of FX, Filter, and maybe an occasional sound effect. I prefer to beat mix whenever possible but sometimes that isn't always possible.

The best way to see what other DJs are doing is to listen to other DJ's mixes. Checkout Mixcloud.com and listen DJs that play the genre of music you play to get some ideas.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,395
8,983
35
NJ
www.djtaso.com
Everyone mixes differently and there is no one way. For example, I don’t use a crossfader… ever… it’s turned off. Im much more technical with my mixes and aside from using the volume faders, I also utilize the hi/mid/low knobs to perfect the mix as I envision it. Sometimes I mix 4 beats, sometimes 64.

practice is really gonna make perfect and hanging around or watching other djs do it. If you don’t have someone locally to shadow or go to a club and see, then I suggest YouTube and search beatmatching.
I’d say if you’re local to come hang out with my team for a couple of events lol, we always welcome extra hands.
 

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Sep 7, 2016
2,834
7,381
There are endless ways to do this, and different styles depending on what you're trying to do. Sometimes you want the transitions to be super smooth, sometimes it actually makes sense if they are a little more jarring.

A couple videos that I think are helpful....

The way Trayze does these quick drops is so freaking clean. I know you said you're not a scratch DJ, but being able to drop a little baby scratch to slam something in effectively is a skill that I think is important (particularly if you're going to be playing some hip hop).


If you're trying to make a big jump in BPM, that's one of the only times where I use the Sync function. I'll lock the tracks together and drag them up or down while the mix is live. This is a good example of it:


If you want to really spend some time getting funky with it, start looking at word play or tone play transitions. You see a lot of these in RedBull Threestyle, and there are compliations that show tons of them:



And finally... just a word of caution. Use this stuff sparingly. Most rooms people just want to chill and dance. Think of it like icing on the cake. If you're programming good sets and playing music people like you're doing the work well. Don't overdo it with crazy transitions that will just frustrate your crowd. A little bit or style will start to set you apart though.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
A good place to start is at the beginning where you decide what kind of DJ you are going to be.

You talk about your "performance" but appear to be working with what are mobile DJs who do very little mixing. Most mobile DJs are not performers - they are service providers - which is why transitions are not that important to them. When you work someone's wedding or other family event for hire - you are not the person in charge of your performance. You are there to provide a service AS REQUESTED. So, whatever mixing is done has to be secondary to delivering personalized and responsive customer service to whomever hired you.

There's nothing to prevent you from learning to mix well enough to provide great customer service and a great performance at the same time - but, you do have to decide which is going to be your priority and then seek out the appropriate venue to learn either one. Mixing is more than a skill - it's also a talent and a talent rooted in the ability to read people and predict their reactions. Not everyone can do all of it well. It takes instinct as well as work, practice, and experience to get there.

If mobile gigs are going to be your thing and you actually want to get paid to do them - then focus on mastering great customer service first and then improve your mixing as you go along. Customer service is worth more than great mixing in the mobile market.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 16, 2011
12,685
1,724
63
Taso made a great point and that is that not all DJs are the same and not every DJ is not a master mixologist. Let me say this. What needs to be considered is what kind of DJ are you? Also I suggest to not just agree to do an event unless you feel you're the right DJ to do the event. Now when it comes to say doing an event for say a bunch of 20 something year olds, they are not into listening to a whole song and in a lot of cases they are not concerned with the DJ having great mixing skills. They just want the DJ to quickly go from one song to the next and it be the right song. So find out what kind of DJ you want to be and work at doing your best as that DJ. I can name a ton of songs that a DJ could play that are over 7 min. long. Certain crowds will be bored with a DJ playing a full song that is that long and think that DJ sucks.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
I'm just wondering how we all learned how to do this before the internet & smart phones. KISS
You're missing the reality of our time: There is no longer a compelling reason to learn these skills.

Other than for your own entertainment, there is no benefit to learning these skills. There is already software that exceeds the capability of most beginners, midi sequencing and control, etc. Very little of what is today called "DJing" involves truly live mixing skills.

If you want to do anything meaningful in this field focus on customer service because it's still the one thing that's hard to fake for any length of time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LittleTreeGuy

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 16, 2011
12,685
1,724
63
You're missing the reality of our time: There is no longer a compelling reason to learn these skills.

Other than for your own entertainment, there is no benefit to learning these skills. There is already software that exceeds the capability of most beginners, midi sequencing and control, etc. Very little of what is today called "DJing" involves truly live mixing skills.

If you want to do anything meaningful in this field focus on customer service because it's still the one thing that's hard to fake for any length of time.
Have you lost your mind! I do events where it's very important that the DJ is very good at beat mixing and if they aren't the crowd will be pissed off real bad. Customer service is great. Once you get through with that when you come to an event you'd better deliver something that say they booked the right DJ for the event and that when it's over you're getting plenty of compliments and people saying they had a great time at the event because of what the DJ did. When I'm doing an event that I'm the DJ, I want the crowd and the client leaving with smiles on their faces and hopefully I have given away at least one business card.
 

ProDJ Jose

Mobile DJ Consultant
Apr 19, 2016
72
164
Tampa Bay Area
You're missing the reality of our time: There is no longer a compelling reason to learn these skills.

If you want to do anything meaningful in this field focus on customer service because it's still the one thing that's hard to fake for any length of time.
This really means, focus on what 99.9 % of Mobile DJ Service providers do:
Never meet with your clients, use a website to book events, and let Vibo or DJ Intelligence do the planning for you. That's revolutionary customer service. :laugh:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: LittleTreeGuy

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
7,084
5,382
40
This really means, focus on what 99.9 % of Mobile DJ Service providers do:
Never meet with your clients, use a website to book events, and let Vibo or DJ Intelligence do the planning for you. That's revolutionary customer service. :laugh:
LOL. That is the way the world is going though. Everybody wants everything they do to be convenient for them, and able to do stuff on their own time when they feel like it. Very few want to meet up for an in person meeting to plan stuff out for 2 hours these days. The verdict is that couples "LOVE" online planning tools.

All my clients book after a 20 - 30 minute phone call. Sometimes the phone call takes 45 - 60 minutes. It's not really my doing. The clients say that everything was thorough, and I answered all of the questions that they had, and are basically ready to get off the phone with me. Next time I talk with them is on the finalization phone call before the wedding, and that call is rarely over 30 minutes. If I go back to 2005, I met with EVERY client back then. Either I met them pre sale, or they booked after a phone call, then they would want to meet to go over all the planning usually at their home, then it became Panera Bread for the longest time where meetings occurred. Then Panera meetings stopped happening as all the couples don't feel they need in person meeting. I have met with probably less than 5% of couples before the wedding since 2016.

It's the same with shopping. 16 years ago, most people still went to the stores to shop for everything they wanted, and only purchased a few items online here and there. Today, most people shop for most everything online now. Far less in person contact. Hell, now people are buying cars online and having them delivered to them without ever seeing or even test driving the vehicle in person! I have even heard of HOUSES being purchased without the buyer ever seeing the house in person...They just go off of a virtual tour, and take a realtor's word that it's a great place! Amazing! That might become a real trend in the future!

It's just the current trend, and it continues to evolve.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LittleTreeGuy

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
That is the way the world is going though. Very few want to meet up for an in person meeting to plan stuff out for 2 hours these days. The verdict is that couples "LOVE" online planning tools.
I still meet with prospects and clients. Nothing in that arena has changed for me. Good clients are still looking for quality time and professional advice. Even repat client still want to meet for each new event they book.

Disinterested clients will apply no more effort to booking a DJ than they do ordering from Amazon.com If the best thing you've got going for you is a high search placement - then the quality of clients you end up with will decline over time as the more discriminating buyers do not rely on search engines.

Even Taso's customers are more likely to land on his website following a direct referral than a search engine. His website may be a window to what he offers - but, it still takes referrals to make it work consistently for discriminating clients.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
Have you lost your mind! I do events where it's very important that the DJ is very good at beat mixing and if they aren't the crowd will be pissed off real bad. Customer service is great. Once you get through with that when you come to an event you'd better deliver something that say they booked the right DJ for the event and that when it's over you're getting plenty of compliments and people saying they had a great time at the event because of what the DJ did. When I'm doing an event that I'm the DJ, I want the crowd and the client leaving with smiles on their faces and hopefully I have given away at least one business card.
Is it live or is it Memorex?
It is unlikely people would know the difference if you were using premixed pool tracks and mashups, or creating every mix and effect live yourself.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,395
8,983
35
NJ
www.djtaso.com
I still meet with prospects and clients. Nothing in that arena has changed for me. Good clients are still looking for quality time and professional advice. Even repat client still want to meet for each new event they book.

Disinterested clients will apply no more effort to booking a DJ than they do ordering from Amazon.com If the best thing you've got going for you is a high search placement - then the quality of clients you end up with will decline over time as the more discriminating buyers do not rely on search engines.

Even Taso's customers are more likely to land on his website following a direct referral than a search engine. His website may be a window to what he offers - but, it still takes referrals to make it work consistently for discriminating clients.
Yup 90% of my clients are direct referral who use my site to inquire. 9% find me through YouTube… maybe 1 a year through search engine
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
Do you all just use the volume faders for transitioning, or are you using something else? I feel my transitions are simple and boring. I'm not trying to scratch or mix in anything crazy for every song, but just find ways to perform a more polished, smooth, flowy transition. Any thoughts or suggestions?
On an entry level DJ mixer the cross-fader will be linear while the channel fader might be logarithmic. Professional mixers will let you choose the way you want the cross-fader to work, or it may be capable of hot-swaps with other types.

In an old-school disco mix (what you refer to as long smooth flowing transition) the channel fader is more appropriate because sound doubles every 3 decibels, meaning you can literally have a track just 6dB below another and almost no one will recognize it's there. A logarithmic fader is more accurate in it's higher position giving you more subtle and detailed control over the mix. (It's also important to know how to properly set gain levels on a mixer to make the most of these channel fader properties.)

In a more hip-hop style mix, the transitions are much faster and a linear cross-fader provides dual channel control in a significantly shorter range. Additionally, different cross-fader slopes can be used to achieve specific response and effects.

Honestly, to learn good mix habits and professional styles you're better off reading the manufacturer's product literature and tutorials because that describes BOTH how the features are designed to work - and how professionals actually use them, often with real examples of the mix techniques that can be realized.

Articles written by DJs will be frustrating because while written with great zeal they are often written far too soon - meaning the DJ is still unaware of how much they still don't know. You could end up at best with some really bad habits, or at worse - totally erroneous information. You'll do better to start with learning more about how sound works. Learn more detail about tempo, pitch, key, time, phrases, syncopation, and how signals combine including both constructive and destructive interference.

For example, try mixing the same song with itself in perfect sync and keep it there (manually, no auto-sync.) Listen carefully to what happens to the sound including volume, pitch, phase, and filtering with each slight adjustment to volume or pitch corrections.

Do it again, but this time track 4 beats behind the first copy and use the cross-fader to see what kind of effects you can achieve. This will help you grasp how the cross-fader can be used effectively for a given mix style.


The BEST MIX is the one that recognizes what the audience is gathered for. If you have a dance floor - then your responsibility is to the dancer. Your job is to have a beat in place when their foot hits the floor. If you break their rhythm then that moment of pause is the same moment they will decide to go get another drink or finish that desert they left at the table. While today's mixing equipment typically includes a lot of hot cue and sample pads - over using these with a live dance floor is self-destructive and the stutter and chops get old really fast. Save this stuff for the DJ battles and other performance stand-offs and skill demonstrations.
 
Last edited:

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,395
8,983
35
NJ
www.djtaso.com
On an entry level DJ mixer the cross-fader will be linear while the channel fader might be logarithmic. Professional mixers will let you choose the way you want the cross-fader to work, or it may be capable of hot-swaps with other types.

In an old-school disco mix (what you refer to as long smooth flowing transition) the channel fader is more appropriate because sound doubles every 3 decibels, meaning you can literally have a track just 6dB below another and almost no one will recognize it's there. A logarithmic fader is more accurate in it's higher position giving you more subtle and detailed control over the mix. (It's also important to know how to properly set gain levels on a mixer to make the most of these channel fader properties.)

In a more hip-hop style mix, the transitions are much faster and a linear cross-fader provides dual channel control in a significantly shorter range. Additionally, different cross-fader slopes can be used to achieve specific response and effects.

Honestly, to learn good mix habits and professional styles you're better off reading the manufacturer's product literature and tutorials because that describes BOTH how the features are designed to work - and how professionals actually use them, often with real examples of the mix techniques that can be realized.

Articles written by DJs will be frustrating because while written enthusiastically they are often written far too soon - meaning the DJ is still unaware of how much they don't know. You could end up at best with some really bad habits, or at worse - totally erroneous information. You'll do better to start with learning more about how sound works. Learn more detail about tempo, pitch, key, time, phrases, syncopation, and how signals combine including both constructive and destructive interference.

For example, try mixing the same song with itself in perfect sync and keep it there (manually, no auto-sync.) Listen carefully to what happens to the sound including volume, pitch, phase, and filtering with each slight adjustment to volume or pitch corrections.

Do it again, but this time track 4 beats behind the first copy and use the cross-fader to see what kind of effects you can achieve. This will help you grasp how the cross-fader can be used effectively for a given mix style.


The BEST MIX is the one that recognizes what the audience is gathered for. If you have a dance floor - then your responsibility is to the dancer. Your job is to have a beat in place when their foot hits the floor. If you break their rhythm then that moment of pause is the same moment they will decide to go get another drink or finish that desert they left at the table. While today's mixing equipment typically includes a lot of hot cue and sample pads - over using these with a live dance floor is self-destructive and the stutter and chops get old really fast. Save this stuff for the DJ battles and other performance stand-offs and skill demonstrations.
Littletreeguy... The part Pro said about trying to mix 2 of the same songs and messing with it with minor adjustments is some of the best advice. You learn so much from this simple excercise. In addition to that, my mixes are perhaps some of the simplest in terms of I don't do "effects" or "scratching" or sampling and stuff like that... for weddings, the most important thing is keeping that beat going and not creating confusion during the mix and an opportunity for the momentum to be lost and dancers to have the chance to step off the dancefloor. Clean mixes are more important than fancy mixes.
 

ProDJ Jose

Mobile DJ Consultant
Apr 19, 2016
72
164
Tampa Bay Area
LOL. That is the way the world is going though. Everybody wants everything they do to be convenient for them, and able to do stuff on their own time when they feel like it. Very few want to meet up for an in person meeting to plan stuff out for 2 hours these days. The verdict is that couples "LOVE" online planning tools.
Is that how high-end venues do it? What about the knot or weddingwire? Customers can be brain washed to thinking that they don't need to meet the DJ/MC or get a demonstration or that a cheap DJ Service is just as good as an expensive one.

As for developing your skills as a DJ, my advice to @LittleTreeGuy is to keep learning from the best and practice, drill, and rehearse. Record your mixes, share, and ask for constructive criticism. That's the only way to improve and be the best you can be.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,923
5,211
Most important - have a plan.

There is no level of mix quality that can compensate for poor song selection, and that includes choosing the right version of a song. You may love the added bass of a deep house club mix, but the average person prefers the radio edit and hearing the song in the same form they fell in love with. A dance mix that stays true to the original while adding the intros and breaks you want is usually more effective at drawing people in and keeping them on-board.

To be truly daring in your mix you have to be fearless when it comes to clearing a dance floor and your ability to fill it right back up. You can only do that when you have a solid program plan and properly read your crowd. It also enhances our customer service when we are clearly able to go out on a limb to serve up an outlying request without leaving the requester alone on the dance floor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff Romard