So, you want to be a DJ. Perhaps you’ve watched some YouTube tutorials, or you want to be able to show off for your friends, or you want to be the next number one DJ in the world. No matter your end goal, you’ll have to learn the basics of DJing first and that’s what we will cover in this article. Without further ado, let’s discuss 5 Skills you will Learn QUICKER with DJs In Reno DJ Lessons.
1.) Beat Matching
This is the most important and fundamental skill when it comes to learning how to DJ. It is also the first skill that you will learn with Reno DJ Lessons from DJs In Reno.
Like the name implies, beat matching literally means matching the beats of two or more tracks playing simultaneously, and then transitioning between them.
But it’s not all about making sure that the tempo of the tracks is identical. To beat match correctly, you also need a basic understanding of Music, and the various time signatures and tempo styles that are used in modern Music. To beat match correctly, you not only have to get the tempos and phases of each song perfectly matched, but you’ve also got to make sure they’re in the same time signature, and the same tempo style, or meter.
For example, bass music (or Dubstep) typically has a tempo of 140 beats per minute, and a half-time tempo style, or meter. This means that there is a kick drum on the first beat of a measure, and a snare drum on the third beat.
On the other hand, House music and all of its derivatives is characterized by having a kick drum on the first beat of a measure, followed by a kick and a snare combo on the second beat of a measure, followed by a solo Kick beat on the third beat of a measure, and finished with another kick and snare on the fourth beat of a measure.
All this means that if you play a dubstep song at 130 beats per minute, and try to mix it with a house song at 130 beats per minute, it’s not going to sound great.
This is because you are going to have a snare drum on beats number two, number three, and number four of every measure. It’s going to sound completely out of sync and like something’s wrong. That’s because when your DJing and you’re mixing between two tracks, you want to kick drum and the snare drum to line up perfectly.
You definitely can transition between house music and bass music! You just have to be creative!
Beat matching is typically done by placing cue points at specific points in each track. These que points will que you when to begin and complete the transition.
Another general rule when beat matching is you typically don’t want to change the tempo of a song more than plus or minus five beats per minute.
Lastly, you can beat match perfectly yet still train wreck your mix if you don’t understand the concept of the phrase matching, which brings us to our next point.
2.) Phrase Matching
Now that we’ve covered the basics of beat matching, let’s take it up one level to phrase matching. First, let’s review the basics of song structure.
- 1 beat = 1 beat (The fundamental unit of music).
- 1 bar (or Measure) = 4 beats.
- 1 phrase = 4 bars = 16 beats.
Every two phrases there is a significant change in a song. In both popular and electronic music, the intro, the verse, and the chorus are generally all two phrases long.
A very simple trick to phrase matching correctly is starting the intro of track B on the first beat of the chorus of track A.
This works perfectly for Hip Hop Music. And, House Music. And Dubstep or Bass Music.
Because the chorus and the intro are both two phrases long, the verse of track B will begin at the end of the chorus of track A. This will allow you to seamlessly transition from track a to track b while building energy on the dance floor.
Another interesting thing to note about phrasing is that there is a deeper and philosophical connotation when it comes to music.
Phrases in music usually come as a call and response. You can think of the first phrase of a chorus as the song saying hello, and the second phrase of the chorus as the song saying goodbye. Another good example would be Marco – Polo. Or knock knock – who’s there?
DJ.Studio has a fantastic article that goes deeper on the subject of Phrase Matching. Read it here.
When you line up the chorus of track a. With the intro of track b, you can get each song talking to each other, or cause their elements to interact with each other. This can be an incredible effect that will really wow crowds, but only if the songs that you are mixing are key matched which brings us to our very important next point.
Zeeshan Khamis with DJ Essentials has a fantastic guide on Phrase Matching. Watch it Below!
3.) Key Matching
In most popular DJ software, you have the ability to change The key display of a song from traditional to harmonic. Harmonic mode will then translate the classical key into an alphanumeric code that is more useful to humans.
Once you have your DJ software set to display the alphanumeric value of the key for a given song, you can compare it with any other song. As a general rule, you only want to transition between tracks that are one or two keys apart. For example, transitioning from 4A to 4A would be no difference in key signature. Transitioning from 4A to 5A would be a difference of one key. Transitioning from 4A to 4b would also net one key difference during the transition. Transitioning from 4A to 6a would be a difference of two keys.
Transitioning from 4A to 10A would be a difference of six keys and would be harmonically clashing compared to a key difference of only one or two.
If you have successfully beat matched, phrase matched, and key matched two songs, you will hear each song interact beautifully with the other during the transition. It will sound like the musical elements from track A are mixing together and complimenting with the elements from track B. If both tracks have vocals, it will literally sound like the vocals are talking or singing to each other. This can create some mind-blowing effects when playing for a big crowd, or even just experimenting on your own. Remixes and mashups are made, because bedroom DJs discover songs that are perfectly compatible together through beat matching, phrase matching and key matching.
Another important note on Key Matching
It’s important to note that plenty of DJ hardware and software now comes with the added feature of automated key matching. However, I personally don’t recommend that you use it for multiple reasons. The most important reason is because it sounds bad. If the key of a song is shifted, it’s going to sound off or modified. The crowd is going to notice, including you. The second reason is because it’s basically like using training wheels. There is so much good music out there, with a near infinite selection of music, you should have no problem dancing between keys with ease.
MixedInKey.com offers an incredible software that will accurately analyze your entire music library, and tag each track with the correct key for you.
This is an invaluable tip when correctly sorting your library, and planning your mixes!
Narrative applies to virtually every aspect of being a DJ.
Whether you realize it or not, you always are sending a message to everyone around you 100% of the time. This is especially true when you are DJing. For example, Narrative can apply to the songs that you select for a mix.
It can also apply to how you energetically structure your mix.
Is your intention for the mix to peek around the beginning, middle, or end of the mix, or have sustained energy throughout?
Are you the Opener, Or the Headliner?
Do you want to give your audience a break with some slower tracks every once in a while? Do you want to play any tracks for comic effect, or as a nostalgic throwback to days gone by?
What kind of emotions are you targeting with your mix? What is the story that you want to tell to your audience?
How are you dressed while you are DJing? Are you wearing a giant mouse head like deadmau5? Or a giant marshmallow, like Marshmallow? Are you interacting with the crowd or are you frozen behind the decks??
All of these are important questions to consider when planning the narrative that you will be sharing with your audience.
5.) The Final Reno DJ Lessons Skill: Crowd Interaction
All of the best DJs consistently have the best crowd interaction. Whether it is doing callouts on the microphone, dancing behind the decks, or even taking requests, crowd interaction is key to having the best set possible.
It can be very obvious like bouncing up and down, or it could be more subtle like reading the crowd.
The more energy you give, the more you will receive. This is where vocal skills on the microphone become incredibly valuable.
In Conclusion, there are many skills that you will have to learn before your first official DJ set. These first 5 are just the basics!
After you are comfortable with the basics, you can get into more advanced DJ Techniques such as-
- Beat Juggling
- And More!
You can learn quite a bit from online guides, YouTube Tutorials, or even paid courses. But at the end of the day, they can only take you so far…
Private DJ lessons from DJs In Reno will give you personalized feedback, industry secrets, and instruction that will allow you to hone your skills, and take your DJ game to the next level!
Does someone special in your life want one on one instruction from a professionally trained DJ?
Are you ready to take your skills to the next level?
Reno DJ Lessons are the perfect gift for the aspiring DJ in your life! Don’t just hire a DJ for your child’s birthday party; Hire DJs In Reno to train them!
And then, watch as they completely WOW their friends with their professional DJ Skills as they DJ their own party just like DJ Torin and DJ Mastan (pictured above)!
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