5 Mistakes Amateur DJs Make
Becoming a DJ takes serious dedication, even at an amateur level. With modern equipment such as controllers making DJ-ing highly accessible, more and more beginning DJs are coming out of the woodwork and trying their hand at mixing tracks and creating a unique sound.
Noisy Kitchen represents accomplished celebrity DJs, but we appreciate that every DJ has to start somewhere. Part of trying a new hobby is being a total beginner. Mistakes will be made, but mistakes are where you learn the most and begin to develop those personal DJ tricks and tips that will help you grow.
Having said that, there are certain mistakes that all amateur DJs should try their very best to avoid, whether you DJ as strictly a hobby or plan to someday make it your career. We’ve compiled five main mistakes that beginner DJs should steer clear of, so you can get started on the right foot.
1 - Not being confident with your DJ equipment.
As a DJ, your equipment is essential. A musician simply can’t play without their instrument, and the same goes for DJs and their gear. Your equipment is your important tool, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or a top headlining DJ.
If you’re not comfortable with the ins and outs of your gear, you will never reach your full potential. DJ tips can be as complex or basic as you like - but this is a non-negotiable tip for any aspiring disc jockey.
This is also important from the audience's point of view. It’s obvious when a DJ isn’t confident using their gear, and it doesn’t make for an enjoyable show. You want your audience to be able to fully relax and immerse themselves in the beat, not be on edge because they can sense your anxiety.
We encourage you to get to know your decks, mixer, controller, and software as intimately as possible, which means practise, practise, practise. Don’t be intimidated by certain features, try everything out while in the comfort of your own home, and don’t be afraid to ask your DJ friends or the internet for advice.
2 - Only imitating your favourite DJs
You will inevitably start off by being heavily influenced by those you admire as a beginner DJ. And a big part of DJ-ing is sampling and mixing pre-existing music.
However, amateur DJs should eventually transition out of this phase and start being creative with their style. This will take time and patience, so be prepared to play the long game. Keep in mind that we’re not saying you should create an entirely new genre; we merely mean that you shouldn’t purely imitate your favourite artists.
Creating a sound that’s unique to you will be immensely rewarding. Remember that you’re free to experiment and make mistakes while you're practising at home. Take the pressure off, get those DJ creative juices flowing, and see what happens.
(P.S. If you move away from being an amateur DJ and start releasing tracks, you mustn’t rip off any other artists. Having your own sound and style is key.)
3 - Playing too many requests.
As an amateur or beginner DJ, no doubt you’ll do lots of gigs for your friends at home or in your local area. This is a great way to gain experience and boost your confidence on stage, but you’ll probably find that your friend’s requests will come thick and fast.
Don’t say no to every request - it’s important to keep the crowd sweet - but remember that you’re in charge. You’re the one with full control of the vibe and the music. If you feel a request doesn’t fit the mood of your set, or if you’ve simply reached your request quota, be assertive and don’t feel pressured to give in.
Let your friends and family know in advance that you’re keen to get some good practise in, to test your mixing techniques and stage presence, so you can’t take requests all night long.
4 - Going too heavy on DJ effects
When you’re a beginner DJ, your new equipment can have you feeling like a kid in a sweet shop… so many fun buttons and switches and effects to try!
And while it’s important that you do try them all out in your practise sessions (as highlighted in our very first point), when you’re putting on a show or creating tracks, don’t go too heavy on the effects.
Too many effects can be disorientating for listeners. One minute you’re enjoying a great beat; the next, you’re struggling to catch the beat in a haze of echoes and stutters.
Before experimenting with DJ effects, ensure you’ve got the basics such as beatmatching nailed. This will give you a solid foundation upon which you can start to build your own style and incorporate effects.
5 - Being too hard on yourself
DJ-ing should be fun. As an amateur DJ, you’re not at headlining levels (yet!), so you don’t have the responsibility of these masters.
While we encourage you to equip yourself with DJ tips and tricks and get the most of your equipment, a hobby should be an escape from everyday life rather than something else to stress about.
You’re also likely to be more creative if you enjoy your art and do it without limitations. So even if you do aim to eventually become a professional DJ, keeping it fun will help you create the best tracks.
Don’t be put off by mistakes or slow progress; it’s all part of the DJ journey and what helps you grow as a disc jockey. In fact, the biggest mistake you could make as a beginner is to give up after the first hurdle. If you only take one thing from this blog, let it be this final message!