A basic DJ setup includes two turntables or two CD players, headphones, and a mixer. Later on you can invest in speakers, a monitor, MIDI controller, audio interface, a microphone, and various plug-ins.
Computers have advanced enough that instead of walking in with a crate of vinyl or a backpack full of CD books, some DJs just brings a laptop and mix MP3s directly from it. Before you buy equipment you’ll need to decide what kind you need. You’ll also want to find out if there’s a less expensive way for you to get the gear you need.
Before the event there are several things you’ll need to do besides getting your gear ready: meet with the client to discuss their preferences of songs and a song list, find out where you will need to set up your equipment, make sure space is efficient enough for you, ask which type of music they want played, find out what kind of crowd will be attending the event, and various other tasks that will pop up unexpectedly.
Show up early and setup quickly on the day of the event. You should be sound testing at least 30 minutes before the party starts and everything should be setup even earlier. By the time people are ready to dance and hear music you will be more than prepared and can meet their desires.
In order to become a great DJ, you must have an extensive knowledge of music, a large record collection, and the ability to entertain an audience all by yourself. Make sure to have compilations of great disco, funk, rock, and other classics as well as an assortment of current popular music. Remember, you want to play a little something for everyone. Match the types of music you play with the event you are playing at. Divide different styles into different sections. Play slower, quieter songs at the beginning of the party and slowly slip into a jazzier groove until you pull out the heavier songs at the end. Don’t play mostly fast songs at a wedding because this will take away from the romantic atmosphere. Don’t play mostly slow songs at a gathering of kids because they will get bored fast.
A lot of times, people will want to hear specific songs played. If their request is a popular song that you think the rest of the crowd will like, then say you will do it. However, if they pick some weird song that you are afraid people will not like, just say you do not have that song. This should help take some of the pressure off when you are trying to choose songs for people to dance to, as well as help you learn what the party goers prefer to listen to. Be smart and choose your songs conservatively. In other words, pick songs that you are almost positive that the majority of the crowd will enjoy listening to.
The most important part of being a great DJ is practice. Put in the time to practice and research. Visit clubs to hear what people are dancing to and learn new styles from other DJ’s. Practice by yourself or in front of friends. It takes time to become great, but if you put in the time and effort, you can be.