Digital DJ Tips reader L Todd writes: “I was wondering if you think it is better that I teach myself to DJ (trial and error) or learn from another DJ / class / DJ course. The reason I ask is because I have a DJ who wants to teach me but he uses turntables and I want to be a digital DJ. I don’t have the money to invest in vinyl. My entire library is MP3 files and a few CD that I never got rid of. So maybe I would be better teaching myself to DJ?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
There’s no right or wrong. On your own (trial and error) can take a long time, because it may take you weeks or months to learn something someone could have shown you in five minutes. Many people are fiercely independent like this, but they still end up reading about the techniques, or watching YouTube. Why not just let someone show you? Of course, if you have a friend who’s got time to do so that’s great, but not everyone can afford to pay four-figure sums to take a residential DJ course, so money comes into it too. Also, people always have their own ways of doing things, some of which might not be the way you end up doing it. They may teach you “their” bad habits.
I guess it all depends on the teacher. If your friend only wants to to teach you, say, manual beatmatching – hey, it’s good to know, but it won’t make you a DJ. A lot of DJing is about things that aren’t directly connected to the techniques. Things like building a music library, sorting out set lists, understanding audio quality, and reading a crowd. But arguably the most important stuff is simply learned through doing it. That’s why we always say nail the basics, then start playing in public – often.
If I were you, I’d take your friend up on a few lessons. Skills are transferrable, and it’s always good to be able to use vinyl, or CDJs, or whatever’s there. Just because you want to be a digital DJ, doesn’t mean you’re doing anything massively different from what the vinyl or CDJ guys do. We’re all, at the end of it, “DJs”.
• Don’t forget that our How To Digital DJ Fast intensive online video course teaches absolute beginners enough to play their first live DJ gig, in four weeks flat.
So, over to you. How did you learn to DJ? did you teach yourself, get shown the ropes by a friend, or go to DJ school? Did you take our DJ course? Please share your thoughts in the comments.