By: Turntable Lab
1) Hibernate and Practice
You know your music. You've studied your gear. You've got playlists. You've read blog posts like this one. You've got auto-sync. DJing is easier to comprehend and execute than it ever has been; but there are numerous nuances and high level concepts that should be absorbed and mastered before you start playing out. The urge to test the waters may be difficult, but try hard to master your craft before playing out. Small mistakes and a lack of understanding of the craft are amplified exponentially in live situations.
Advanced technique: Make a one-take DJ mix. DJing in short spurts in your bedroom is easy. Playing for a couple hours in front of a demanding crowd is a complex, mentally exhausting beast. When you think you're ready to play out, make a one-take (no do-overs!) mix. Study it. Do a version after a couple drinks. If you're proud of it, post it on Soundcloud. See what others think.
MAGNETIC RECOMMENDS: 9 Things That Belong In Your DJ Bag
2) Know Your EQs
One of the signature images of today's DJ is aggressively tweaking the EQ knobs. It's morphed into the DJ equivalent of slamming the whammy bar. However, before you get there, you need to master fine-adjusting your EQs. The sure sign of an amateur DJ is poor (or the complete absence of) EQing. Every track should be adjusted and massaged in various increments. Every tiny fraction counts. When you're ready to start aggressive tweaking, study classic house DJs, they do it the best. Lastly, watch out for ear-piercing highs, a common rookie mistake.
Advanced technique: Understand that headphones and the booth monitor do not replicate the sound on the dancefloor. That's why pros have sound guys. Until then, take a couple trips out to the floor and check out how the sound translates (or just ask a bud "how do I sound?").
3) Mix when the song is ready
You're cued and synced up and it's time to mix, right? No. Another common rookie mistake is not to initiate mixes at the wrong time. When you don't pay attention to the song itself, you'll find yourself mixing two songs at their most hectic point and hitting the red lights on your mixer. Wait for drops to mix in your song, avoid simultaneous bridges and build-ups. Download and study the songs before you play. Patience.
Advanced technique: Don't get stuck with long blends or short blends. Mix up your blend lengths according to what the songs call for. Extra-credit: execute a perfect "on the 1" mix without blending for those classics that need to breath on their own.
Bonus DJ Etiquette Tip #1
If you're opening or playing the early set, don't drop all (if any of) the hits. The prime time DJ will hate you. Plus in most cases, it comes off as premature.
Parts 3-6 coming in the near future.