1) Learn the BPM of the songs you play
The beats per minute (BPM) of a song will determine how smoothly or easily you can mix it with another song.
You can calculate BPM by counting the beats yourself using a stopwatch, but that's pretty tedious. Some mixers will have a BPM counter on the board, while most DJ software will calculate the BPM of a track for you, although this may not be completely accurate 100% of the time, so it's good to have some sense of the BPMs yourself.
2) Learn the intros and outros
Most dance songs will have an intro in which the music is going but the vocals are not at the beginning of the song and a corresponding outro at the end.
Mixing usually means blending one song's intro with the outro of another. Knowing when an outro starts and an intro begins is critical to live beat mixing.
• Cue up the second song. Have your second song ready to go as your first one is winding down. Use one hand on the turntable or CDJ player's pitch to adjust speed (if your BPMs don't match) and put the other on the crossfader, so that the first song's volume decreases as the second song's volume increases.
3) Keep it simple at first
When you're starting out, make mixing easier by sticking to two songs that are within 2 BPMs of each other. You should also use two songs that are in the same key.
Your software should be able to tell you this. When you nail that down, start experimenting with looping and then move on to your toggle function and adding effects.
• Also be sure to experiment with the different methods on your mixer. For most effects, there's more than one way to do them. You'll find what you prefer (generally one method is a very do-it-yourself way and the other is more automated).
4) Transition between the songs smoothly
One of the most important parts of DJing is transitioning between songs, matching beats so that the beat remains constant, letting people continue dancing, uninterrupted. Using conventional DJ hardware, this involves listen to the second song's intro in your headphones, moving the pitch slider until the songs play at the same speed, and cueing the song simultaneously with the preceding song. Learning to do this smoothly is one of the essential skills of DJing.
• You also need to adjust the volume levels of the songs. The song you are mixing out of will be playing at full volume, so you need to adjust the second up slowly, listening closely to the tune to bring it up subtly.
• Never mix vocals over vocals. It's important to avoid creating awkward noise, which means you need to be super-familiar with the songs intros and outros.
Where can I get more education on DJing?
Skilz DJ Academy offers two options:
- Local training at the school facilities: The Skilz Master Program is the most complete and extensive collection of courses offered at the Academy. (Get started djing from Scratch to the Advanced Level)
This masterclass course is dedicated to anyone wanting to learn how to DJ with NO LAPTOP, USB ONLY. Be ready to DJing in the club, or just pick up a new hobby, I will teach you in class the fundamentals of beatmatching, mixing, and blending etc... No matter your musical tastes or background, I will give you the skills you need to start DJing today!