If you are a beginner, or just want to improve your skills, you can learn to DJ online. It gives you the flexibility of learning from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you have access to the internet. You can learn on your own equipment, in fact, you don’t even have to have any physical equipment if you don’t want to. There are many options available, at various prices, and some free options too, so let’s have a look at how to get started.
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How Can I Teach Myself to DJ?
You are going to need a few things before you begin learning the steps that it takes to become a DJ. If you want to learn to DJ online – which would be my preferred choice – you will need to make sure you have everything you need to get started.
I would recommend using a larger device if you have access to it, such as a decent-sized tablet/iPad or laptop/desktop computer. You will be spending a lot of time in front of it, watching content and reading so they will be better than trying to use a smaller smartphone screen.
Remember, it will require some time to learn, especially if you are a complete beginner, so prepare yourself – don’t expect to be DJing in front of a crowd too soon!
To learn everything that you need to make this a viable career option or comprehensive skill, you will need to dedicate time to practice and to learn. Teaching yourself is great because you can work at your own pace and in whatever space you feel most comfortable, but you will need to push yourself to be better and challenge yourself. That can sometimes be easier if you have a physical teacher and people around you who are also trying to improve their DJ craft.
What You Will Need
The equipment you will require varies depending on what level you are at in your knowledge of DJing and what your intended outcome is when you start learning. You might be wanting a cool new skill you can show off to your friends or you might want this to be a lifetime career. That is a decision you will need to make before you get started so that you do not waste time learning the wrong things, or buying equipment unnecessarily.
You do not need fancy equipment. A phone or tablet, laptop or desktop computer is a great place to begin and there is no need to go out and buy new ones. Whatever you have around your house should work fine as long as it is a smart device or has access to the internet. As long as you can access the internet, you can learn from home, a library or public space to be able to access most of the virtual DJing classes, channels, apps, and sites. Ideally somewhere quiet so you can concentrate better.
When you have everything, you need to start and begin learning the basic steps and software programs required for DJ classes, you must spend time each week working on it. Practice is the key to acquiring any new skill, including this one. While learning how to perform the steps might be easy enough on the outset, you need to learn how to experience music in a new way, and that takes time. Being able to learn from experienced DJs is a perfect way to get a head start on understanding what it takes to mix well.
Software and Hardware
You will not necessarily need to have your own record decks or DJ controller as soon as you start. However, you will probably want to go ahead and get some eventually. Most DJ software have virtual decks that allow you to do the same mixing techniques using your smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer.
Some equipment, like Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller, allows you to share your sounds between all of your devices and several very popular DJ apps. You will also have a vast variety of options for apps that you can use on your smartphone, including apps like Algoriddim’s DJay, with the opportunity to transfer your files to a computer.
Can You Learn to DJ Online?
The short answer is Yes. The internet has countless resources for anyone wanting to learn how to DJ quickly and effectively. You can find sites for free and open-source software downloads with tutorials on how to use them. There are also plenty of places with complete walkthroughs on how to produce your very first mix and places to share it with other music lovers. Many of them are hosted by up-and-coming or established DJs. Apps for your phone are helpful as well for anyone brand new to attending a school for DJs. They can help train the ear as well as being a flexible creation format.
Popular Online DJing Class Sites
- Udemy – $ [Various]
- DJ Courses Online – From $19 per month
- Crossfader – From £75
- Point Blank Music School – $ [Various]
- Digital DJ Tips – Various, From $147
- Scratch DJ Academy – From $13 per month
Udemy has professional-grade courses on pretty much anything you could ever want to learn, including becoming a DJ in the real world. The one downside is that Udemy is primarily a place for taking in information and not the best site for sharing what you have learned to get feedback. When used in conjunction with another site where you can get that feedback, then it works great. The good news is that Udemy courses are easily digestible so that you are not overwhelmed with information.
They often have discounts available on their courses, so keep an eye out.
What I like about DJ Courses Online is the range of courses available; from DJing Basics, Advanced DJ Techniques and DJ Career Tips, to DJ software-specific courses, there is something for all levels and interests. Rather than pay for an individual course or area, like some online DJ courses available, you pay one monthly fee and have access to the whole catalogue.
Crossfader has a limited number of generic DJing courses in their ‘Creative DJ Courses’ section; The DJ Transitions Course, Tone Play Mixing, and The Complete Online Scratching Course.
Then they have DJ software-targeted courses, from beginner to advanced, for Rekordbox DJ, Serato DJ and Traktor DJ. And, randomly, Pioneer XDJ hardware course. I’m not sure if they’re planning on releasing more hardware-specific courses, but could be useful if they do.
Point Blank Music School
Point Blank Music School has a wide range of music-related courses including Music Production, Singing & Songwriting, Radio Production and DJ Courses. They have physical course locations in London, Los Angeles, China, Ibiza and Mumbai, and also Online Courses.
Their Online DJ Courses range from DJ Skills, Music Production and Traktor Pro DJ.
Other Free Sites
A quick search on Google will show you a range of free DJ courses, and even the paid ones tend to have introductory courses or trial periods – which is handy if you want to try before you sign up.
There are some really great experienced DJs like DJ TLM who have channels on YouTube with content that covers literally every single aspect of DJ etiquette, style, and culture. We will go into more detail on this option in the next section.
How Can I Learn DJing for Free?
Online resources are the most obvious choice for anyone who is looking to learn the skill for free though there are also plenty of books and recordings on the subject. There are a lot of quality tutorials, walkthroughs, and examples given by experienced and professional DJs, but there are also plenty more that are designed to only draw clicks. You need to be careful to make sure that the content that you are watching and reading will actually benefit you.
Experienced DJs like DJ TLM have channels on YouTube with content that covers every single aspect of DJ etiquette, style, and culture. There are also many free tutorials from other artists on video sharing sites like YouTube. You can watch DJs explain their craft and breakdown step-by-step what it takes to produce a killer DJ mix.
How Hard is it to Learn to DJ?
Learning any new skill takes time and dedication. Luckily, it is relatively simple to learn the basic steps for DJing thanks to the continuous evolution of music technologies, making it easier than ever to learn how to mix, beat-match and scratch. However, you also need to understand music to figure out what your audience wants to hear.
Mixing is the art of creating a relatively seamless transition between two or more tracks, or to create a new track using elements of two or more tracks. The goal is usually to create one ‘mix’, such as 30 to 60 mins of songs without any gaps or breaks between them.
Creating your first mix is something to look forward to, and there are plenty of free sites where you can share your music and get feedback and critiques to help you learn to tweak your craft so that you can keep improving.
In order to play one song into another, you will need to learn how to synchronise their speed, or BPM (Beats Per Minute) to make it easier to transition.
Learning this skill manually is definitely beneficial. Most, if not all DJ controllers and other hardware have a feature in a ‘Sync’ button, which should beat match the tracks through the software, but it does not work 100% of the time, so it is better to learn how to do it yourself should you get stuck.
The physical act of learning the different scratches can take as little as an hour or two to master and mainly require an ability to count out a four-beat tempo. Once you have that down you can learn some more complicated scratches. There are a lot of tutorials for these online, and if you end up taking a live course or class, then this will be one of the easier sections to learn for most beginners.
How Much Does DJ School Cost?
It will depend on a few different factors, but the average price is between $50 and $150 per hour. If you are in an area that offers in-person classes that you want to attend or if you intend to attend an online DJ school, then there will be some price variation. Even among live and online schools, there can be a price adjustment based on where you are looking and if you want only to take certain courses or an entire class that may take place over several weeks.
If you use a site like Udemy that hosts many different types of courses, then it will usually be cheaper to get DJ courses than at an online school by DJs for DJs since you are purchasing individual courses and not an entire class. Quality of content is also another thing to keep an eye on. Make sure that you research the school before investing any money. You want to ensure that the instructors know what they are doing and that you will get your money’s worth. This will also help you avoid scammers.
Conclusion – Learn to DJ online
Now that you know what your options are to learn to DJ online, no matter which one you choose is right for you, the only thing holding you back is yourself. Today is a great time to take those first steps towards becoming a DJ everyone will remember.
Have a look at the options and decide what is right for you. Take your time, and invest that time, it will be worth it in the end. If you can afford to pay for an online DJ course, you will have the best chance at getting where you need to be.