Digital DJ Tips reader SuperChito writes: “I have been DJing for a couple of months and I think I’ve been progressing really fast with things like beatmatching, and finding and mixing songs that go well together. But one other thing I would like to do is make my own music, but I don’t really have much knowledge on that. I’ve been doing research online and asking people and I know there’s routes like Ableton Live and FL Studio but that’s about as much as I know. What I would like to know is what’s a good ‘path’ to take to make music… Should I just buy software like Ableton Live? Do I need to learn how to play any instruments? (I know some piano and guitar). I appreciate the response and thanks again!”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Many DJs realise really early on that they want to make music as well as play it. It’s a great way to start to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Here are some tips:
- Start doing it with anything you’ve got. Got a Mac? Use GarageBand. Get Audacity (it’s free) and start chopping up samples and making re-edits. Got an iPhone or iPad? Buy a music-making app and play with it
- Understanding Midi is at least as important as formal music training, if not more so, as it’ll allow you to map anything you can get your hands on (cheap Midi keyboard, your DJ controller…) to any software you have
- Study music theory: how chords, scales and so on work. This will help you to understand how songs are put together. If you can play along to your favourite songs on your guitar or the piano, though, that’s worth more than formal training
- Buy something like the famous [dance-music-manual] and devour it
Finish what you start. Play tunes you’ve edited, chopped up, remade in your DJ sets. Use what you make. Don’t be precious. Finish and move on. Trust your ears and your instincts. And remember: money won’t buy you the ability to make music – doing it will.
Over to you! Have you been in SuperChito’s position? How did you get started? We’d love you to share your experiences and offer any advice in the comments below.