Learn How to DJ – The Starters Guide (Equipment, software, courses)

All DJs started somewhere and needed to learn how to DJ. I have collected all tips and resources from when I first started DJing. In this guide, I’ll tell you exactly what you need and I’ll share with you my experiences with DJ courses and some great free DJ resources out there to learn how to DJ and help you to get on your way.

To learn how to DJ you’ll need:

  • Laptop
  • Speakers (you can use your laptop speakers, but the quality of the sound won’t be the best)
  • Headphones (optional)
  • DJ Controller (Optional)
  • DJ software

Let’s go over every single one of them so you’ll know exactly what you need to get started. After that, I will share everything you need to know to actually learn how to DJ. I’ll share my experiences with DJ courses and also my favorite free resources to learn how to DJ.

DJ Equipment

So, let’s start with the basic equipment/DJ gear that you’ll need.

Laptop

Let’s start with the most important one, a laptop. On your laptop, you’re going to have all the music that you want to DJ with and the DJ software. Especially when you don’t have a controller, a laptop is essential.

Your laptop needs to be able to handle running DJ software for a couple of hours. On most DJ software websites you can find the minimum requirements.

These are the minimum system requirements for my favourite DJ software for beginners: Serato DJ Lite

system requirements Serrano dj lite

If you have a good stable laptop that can handle a good workload, you’ll be fine.

Speakers

This one is optional, for two reasons.

  1. Your laptop has built in speakers, so you could use those. I don’t recommend you use your laptop speakers because most of the time the quality isnt nearly as good as when the sound is coming from good DJ speakers.
  2. Just can practice DJing by letting all the sound go through your headphones. So if you have anoying neighbors, you could DJ with just your headphones (Or not).

If you don’t have good speakers I recommend that you buy some good quality but budget speakers. I am a big fan of the pioneer DJ speakers displayed below. You can check them out on Amazon by clicking on the image.

Chances are you have some good speakers lying around somewhere. It’s totally fine to just use those.

Headphones

There is a good chance you have some headphones laying around. If not, it’s okay to buy some cheap ones. Yes, the quality won’t be as good as it gets but you don’t need the best of the best when you’re a bedroom DJ and just starting out.

Of course, if you want to, you’re free to get some awesome pair of good-quality headphones.

If you have a DJ controller, you have to plug the headphones into your controller. If don’t have a DJ controller you have to plug your headphones into your laptop.

Depending on your setup you are going to use them in one of these two situations:

  • Listening to the next song, so you can prepare a transition into the next song
  • Listening to both songs and doing the transition while hearing both of them. You would never do this when you’re performing live but when youre practicing, it’s totally fine.

I use cheap headphones, and they do the job for me. You can find some great DJ headphones on Amazon though.

DJ Controller

The DJ toy that all DJs protect with their life. A DJ controller for me is really where the magic happens. All those buttons and knobs are so exciting, especially when you know what all of those buttons and knobs actually do.

In my opinion DJing with a DJ controller enhances my DJ experience by a lot. It makes it a so much more fun. Also, if you ever wan tot DJ in a club or bar, you’ll need to learn to DJ with a DJ controller.

Amazon offers some great budget friendly DJ controllers. If you ever feel like buying one.

With a DJ controller, you impact the music that you’re playing. For example, you have a knob that takes out all of the low frequencies, like the bass. What’s left are the mid en high frequencies so the music now sounds different.

The most simple functions of the DJ controller are to play, pause and stop the music that is playing.

DJ Software

DJ software is like image editing software. Without the software, you can look at the image but it will always stay that way. DJ software is like that, but with music.

If you listen to a song without DJ software you can’t do anything to influence the sound that is coming through your speakers.

There are multiple DJ software programs to choose from when you want to start DJing. This is all a bit of personal preference.

The DJ software that I used when I first started DJing is Serato DJ Lite. This DJ software is very user-friendly and easy to use. In my opinion the best one out there for beginners, and it’s free.

You can download Serato DJ Lite right here.

By the way, I have written a Serato DJ lite review, you can read it right here.

Beginner DJ Courses to Learn How to DJ

When I started DJing I had some great resources to learn everything. My number one recommendation for you as a beginner is take a course. It will provide you with some structure, so you’ll learn the DJ habits and skills in the right order.

Club Ready DJ Course

My number one recommendation is the club ready DJ course. This course is a great option if you’re a beginner DJ that aspires to DJ in a club someday. It’s also just a great course to master the fundamentals of DJing.

Price: $95 (Black Friday sale)
(You can check out the Club Ready Free Mini Course first, if you’re not sure yet.)

You can also ready my review of the Club Ready DJ Course.

Beginner DJ Lessons by Phil Harris

Phil Harris’ Beginner DJ lessons is a good course as well. It’s not my favourite because I think the price is a little bit too high for the value that is offered in the course.

Price: $97

You can also read my review on the Beginner DJ Lessons course . .

Crossfader courses and Hub

I bought a crossfader course and I’ve also joined their Hub for a month to try it out.

The Crossfader Hub is sort of like a library of lessons. Their reach is very broad so you’ll find beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons. It gives just a little bit more than their free youtube instruction videos.

I don’t recommend their Hub if you’re a beginner. It’s definitely worth the purchase when you want to expand your knowledge and skill beyond the basics.

Crossfader also has a lot of online courses available. The one I purchased was the Pioneer DDJ SB3 course. If you have a Pioneer DDJ SB3, it’s a good place to start if you have some money to spend.

I will make a review of all courses I’ve bought and will post them on this website so stay tuned for that. (In the meantime, if you have any questions about the courses I mentioned feel free to contact me on the contact page).

DJing can be challenging when you’re just starting out. However, if you put in the time and effort to take a course, you could be a pretty decent DJ within 4 weeks.

Recommended Youtube DJs to Learn How to DJ

Here is a short summary of the 3 YouTube DJs that you can follow. You can click on the names to go directly to their page on YouTube. More about these YouTubers is below this table.

YoutuberGenre DJProsCons
Phil Harris Mostly EDM, DanceFunny, easy-goingNot a professional vibe
DJ TLMMostly Hip-Hop, UrbanGreat teacher, very friendly, very professional vibe.Although you can apply his teachings to all genres, his YouTube vids are often targeting Hip Hop, Urban genres.
Crossfader All GenresA lot of knowledge A business type of feel. Not really personal.
Club Ready DJ SchoolMainly dance music but also covers other genres like pop, hip-hop and R&B.Great teacher, a lot of knowledge and easy going.Love to talk a lot

Phil Harris

Phil is a British DJ whose main goal is to teach beginner DJs all about DJing. His style is very informal, he is quite funny, and involves his wife and dog in his videos.

Phil is a good teacher for you if you’re looking to be a bedroom DJ or if you want to DJ at weddings and parties. Also if you aspire to produce some of your own music and you want a down-to-earth teacher, he would be a good choice too.

Here is an example video

DJ TLM

Maybe one of my favorites because I like his vibe, He is very down-to-earth, relaxed, and really just an authentic, real guy that really wants the best for his students.

If you want to be a scratch DJ I highly recommend following him.

Also for the fundamental basics of DJing, like counting music and mixing two tracks together, I highly recommend him. I talk about his mixing tutorial in my post: Basics of DJing – How to Learn DJing for Beginners

Here is an example video

Crossfader

Crossdafer is a DJ school with a group of DJs whose YouTube videos are geared toward teaching you how to DJ but they also show off their own skills every now and then. which is sometimes very inspiring, but as a beginner, they can be a little intimidating and can make you lose a bit of motivation.

I recommend following this group when you want to get very creative with your DJ gear and also when you aspire to become a social media influencer in the DJ category because you’ll learn a lot of cool DJ tricks.

Here is an example video

Club Ready DJ School

An awesome channel where you’ll learn a lot of DJ skills in a fun way. A great resource for when you want to be a club DJ in the future.

Here is an example video

Frequently asked questions

Can I start Djing without any equipment?

You can DJ without any DJ equipment. The only thing you need is a laptop, DJ software, and music. Install the DJ software on your laptop, and upload your music to your DJ software. Next, learn the functions of the keys on your keyboard to start mixing your music with just your laptop.

How can I DJ quietly?

Plug your headphones into your DJ controller. Select “Master” on your DJ controller. Now instead of your speakers, the music from both channels is now coming through your headphones. It’s a great way to practice DJing in silence.

What is a bedroom DJ

A bedroom DJ only DJs for his or her own pleasure. Music and mixing are a hobby and they don’t aspire to get on stage and perform live in front of a crowd. In opposition to what a lot of people think, a bedroom DJ can be a very skilled and knowledgeable DJ

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