Creative Guide To DJ: From Start To Finish Part 1 | Costas Papa | Skillshare

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Creative Guide To DJ: From Start To Finish Part 1

teacher avatar Costas Papa, Costas is a Dubai based sonic artist.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Session 1 Intro

    • 2. Equipment Overview

    • 3. Cueing The Track

    • 4. Counting Music

    • 5. Quick Mix With Levels

    • 6. Features On the CDJ

    • 7. Features on The DJM

    • 8. Phase Meter, Jog Wheel and BPM

    • 9. Download and Install Rekordbox

    • 10. Create Playlists with Rekordbox

    • 11. Summary & Whats Next!

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About This Class

This class is perfect for those that would like to learn the art of DJing. The content is specifically prepared and structured to give you the fundamentals beyond the knowledge, experience, confidence, understanding and the ability to DJ. 

This is a traditional hardware course, where attendees will develop, hone and master their skills on the industry standard Pioneer CDJ setup.

Here are some of the controllers you can follow this class with: 


*Applies to any Rekordbox / Serato Controller 

These sessions are highly practical and are heavily focused on the hardware; and developing the skill-set required to qualify as a DJ. 

By the end of these sessions, you will be able to gain a better understanding in the art itself. Be comfortable using an industry standard hardware DJ setup. Ideally, all attendees will be able to mix songs of their choice and develop their musical repertoire.

This creative journey is an 8 part series.

Follow Costas on Skillshare  for regular updates

Also, please leave a class review, let us know how we are doing.

Lastly check out the rest of the modules:









Meet Your Teacher

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Costas Papa

Costas is a Dubai based sonic artist.


Costas is a Dubai based sonic artist, music producer and consultant. He’s an expert educator with more than 10 years of experience and the founder of Granular Academy.

Costas Papa is an educator, sonic artist and media business consultant. Costas currently makes dark minimal techno with dub undertones and is continually reinventing his sonic identity while keeping an eye on developing trends.

Costas has designed and conducted courses and modules since 2007, in various disciplines such as electronic music production, synthesis, recording, sampling, DJing, and mixing and mastering, as well as performing with Live.

Based in Dubai, Costas provides music production training for industry professionals, beginners and hobbyists alike. The programs consist of technical... See full profile

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1. Session 1 Intro: welcome to our first session together. In the next couple of videos, we will discover some features on our see DJs and our mixer as well on the record books software. We will do a quick overview off our equipment and set up, and I will then introduce the first few concepts of teaching, like how to set up your cues. Count our beats and performer first makes using levels on this A deejay will discover the following features. USB Cube playing pose, browse, search joke. We'll pitch Leiter, Temple Master Temple and Temple reset on the DJM 900 nexus to we will introduce Trim Channel Fader, headphone accused and its controls. I will then show you how to download and install record box and create a playlist and exported to a USB so you can start the Jane. 2. Equipment Overview: So this is our set up right here, consisting off two CD players and mixer. You'll find this right now in clubs, radio stations, bars and other venues. This is the latest gear phone pioneer, so we've got to see D. J 2000 nexus to on either science and it DJM 900 nexus to mixer right in the middle. This mixture is a four channel mixer will be using just two of the channels right here. But we can connect upto four city players or two CD players and two turntables or any other devices we may need to perform that evening, so let's jump into the course. 3. Cueing The Track: All right, So in this video, I'm going to show you how you could kill your trucks and by killing women, we need to remove the silence from the beginning off the song. And you may ask yourself, Why do we need or a way to songs? Have a silence at the beginning. This is just a safety measures when producers produce music toe have, ah silence in the beginning of every song. So it doesn't start with a click or a pop cause this is all in digital format, but us DJs, we need to remove that silence. So when we press play, it's an instant play. So I'm gonna explain the buttons associated and sections of stories associate it with queuing your song and what we're gonna do first is actually play step number one and then play again. Step number two goingto this post mode. And we carried a sort of stutter stuck 40 0 and then step number three. We're going to get the job right here and 40 to the beginning of the first beats. And here let's just listen to how this sounds, because this is how the kick or beats sounds when you're on a post modes, and this is something that we need to familiarize our ears with. And we need to go past that. And as we move past the kick, it becomes thinner and thinner, almost like and knock on the wood. And then right here we have complete silence and just to be really on point and perfect instead of using the joke when we get really close to the edge of the kick, we're gonna use this to search buttons to move forwards or backwards, and that gives us basically much more control. So when we move forwards one, we're on the kick when we go back. One complete silence and now with the last step is to press killed when we press cure. Now that point in time is going to be saved. So now when we press play, plays, instance and then cue to stop. So in this video we saw how to cure song, and I'll do one more example. But let me go through all the buttons that we need to know where you are, used to play to play and the play button again to go into post moment. We use the Q moment to save our Q. And we use the jog to move backwards to the beginning off our truck. So then we use a different song right here. Example this So this is not cute. So when I press play is not super instant, there is little silence of the beginning off the track here, and that makes a huge difference. So I'm going to press play and then play again to go into post mold play again to go into post more real quick. I'm gonna use the joke to go back to the first. Then when I get really close to the beginning of the first beat, I'm gonna use the search buttons to hear clean silence, or I stop hearing this sound and then I press que yep. So one more thing to notice when you press play on you press cute. The song stops and takes you back to the beginning off your cue, just to that point that we did earlier, when you're in play mode and then you press play again, for whatever reason, going to pose modes. If I press Q. Right now, you're going to see that we're gonna be starting ourselves from this point right here. And let's assume this is a mistake to fix that. Our press play again and play to going to pose use the joke told the way back to the first beans. Use the search but tens to get complete silence and then press Q. And you could see it on the screen that there's a little orange triangle on the main way form and also overview at the bottom. And that's where we just created our first Q. So now this is how we kill a track and it's instantly playable, so the technology does not have any delays in in terms of timing. So that's the very first step a deejay does in order to prepare this. And this happens right in our headphones. But I'm playing this through here so we can only hear and understand the concept off queuing. So we used to play in the pause, the Cuba turn joke will and search buttons to goingto kill so you could try that now by yourselves to practice and kill couple of your favorite tracks. And then we'll move on to our next video, where we start to count. Talk about beats, bars, measures, phrases and musical structures to help us better blend our mixes 4. Counting Music: All right, So in this video, we're gonna be listening to this truck right here, and we're going to start counting our beats and let's actually hear what a beat sounds like . That's one beats right there. So that's one beat again. And now I'm gonna play four beats. All right, so that's 1234 Now these four beats right here are equivalent to one bar off music. So this is one bar off music now a musical phrase or a musical structure is, ah, an intro for song thing off a verse or a chorus o r A break or built up or drop down or the out trolled exit off the song and songs are created in tow. Eight bars. So every eight bars a song develops, either new elements are at it toe the truck or existing elements are slightly removed. Therefore, significant changes happen every eight bars, and that is an equivalent off 32 beats. Eight bars, times four beats per bar is a total off 32 beats. So right now, we're gonna play this track right here, and we're going to count from one 2 32 And when we reached close or on 32 you're going to hear probably some sound effect or a new element being added to this track. And that tells us that that is beginning off the new phrase, and we start again to count from one to the next 32 then, from there again of the end of that phrase to the next phrase, starting at the Warren and then ending a 32 so soon as you reach 32 you're going to hear a change, which we should be significant change. So let's start to count. 123456789 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1921 22 23 24 to 5678 29 30 31 32 That sound effect that we just heard the percussion delayed percussion. That was the sound effect that we're looking for. So let me just rewind a little bit. For so that was the beginning off the next musical phrase of soon as out percussion starts and we start again from there, counting one. Let's try that again. 456789 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 2122 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2 way. Heard that sound effect again? Go back. It was a vocal and a sound effect. 123456789 10 11 12 16 17 15 2022 24 25. Age. 1933 132 and one, 23456789 12 15 15 1918 1921 to 24 to soothe. As you can hear, I struggle a little bit with counting because I don't need to count anymore because I've been teaching for so many years. But for you guys super important to start counting, and sometimes when I do like to count, I actually count from 1 to 84 times. It's just easier, and I can show you that with my fingers four times, right? So let's count this again. One to be 45678123456781234567812345678 and 12345678 one, 456781234567867812345678123456 456781234567812345678123 For one, 4561623456781234 0.678 So we've been playing this song for about a minute and 40 seconds. So we started with a control. Then we developed the song a little bit. And then we go into a little break where there was no beat when we got out of that break and we started getting back into the beat and we just heard the second break right there. And right now we're right in the centre off the truck and there's gonna be beat after beat phrase after phrase until the end of the song. So if anything that is called musical or is under considered to be a track music, it has to follow a certain pattern has to follow a certain structure, and we talk about this structure in terms off beats four beats in one bar, and there are eight bars in a musical phrase or a building block off music, which is an intra versus corners of bridge of breaking someone and anything outside off. This sort of rules off for the foundation of music cannot be defined as music. It's something else. So in every style of music, and we'll see different styles of music as we go through this course. Whether it's a simple four beats to the bar, which is for on the Floor or four and four, which is house on technology on Trans and so on, they all fall under that rhythm rhythm. Uh, it's easy to count or whether it's something like a break. Beat the drum and bass or hip hop or rap or any other styles of music. Whether it's classical Beethoven, it all actually all for lows under a musical structure that has a specific rhythm, and it works towards the next phrase or the next piece of music. So assess DJs. We need to be musical in our ways. So when we start to mix and this is something we're gonna be sort of developing in our next video's thank you for watching 5. Quick Mix With Levels: All right, So in this video, I'm gonna demonstrate a quick about mix using just levels from when it's escaped a few principles in terms, off beat, marching and tempo. And we're going to come back to it in in the next video. But I just want to talk about the levels right here on the makes her. So I'm gonna put on my headphones, and I want to be playing this trunk for the speakers. But I look for different trying this deep layer and we'll talk about the head from accuse. So I prepared this song and do my killing on my beat counting using my headphones to my from increasing the level of this song. And it's gonna start to get a bit already bold in just a few moments. Now we can hear this song right on the background. - So all the steps that you send me dio I'm gonna explain this in much more detail. Step by step on how to do it quick mix in and out off levels, and that's gonna follow up right in our next videos 6. Features On the CDJ: All right, so in this video, we're gonna Kovar some essential features on the see D. J. So I place my USB right there in the U S. Be in. Let's on this city player, someone a press He was be And it says my settings data was found. Push the many button to load so many button and push two loads on this sign that we don't have a USB we need to link to this USB. So I'm gonna press link on this Scient saying, push the menu and then click on loads. So now our settings which will see in future videos with these settings are are applying to our CPJ's. So right now I'm going to go into why you is being into my playlist section, and it's gonna be I believe, under Minimal the Tech and we're gonna load our truck and I want to talk to you about this feature right here. First the Master Temple feature. So let's move to a section where we have some vocals to illustrate this better. Yeah, so? So I can move Tempus Lighter coins Temple and also quite slowing Temple and the songs relatively sounds OK. Vocals and everything is in pitch inning, do you? I have this switched off the master Temple function and I pitched the song up. The song itself is going to speed up sort of See that if I speed up the song pitch is going to follow with so you can hear that the locals now sounds really high. Pitch the strong A little key jumped up Same thing here the strong he really dropped in the booth. So when we have the master simple setting on whether we go quite extremely on the after science or in the downside pitch and the key that this song was produced in still stays intact. So this is a super useful feature just have on at all times that would help you avoid getting into any trouble. When you dress turkey, move the temple slighter. So the other feature I want to quickly go over is our temple range. So we have four options right here, currently on at plus and minus 10 percent, and we're going to see what these numbers mean. So let's first go to class minus six and let me put the temple back to zero. So the the full temple or the standard temple or the natural temp of this song is at 124 BPM, and my sitting is I could go plus six or minus six, so that's 6% off 124 beats per minutes. So from 1 24 I can go all the way up to about 131 to be PM from 1 to 24. I could go all the way down to about 116 year, and that is 4% 46%. When I moved to a class minus 10% I can go from 1 24 a way to 1 36 for wider ring and also for 1 24 about 111 50 AM much. Why the range on the downside? When I go plus minus 16 I can't even go further so I can go the way up to 143 almost 144 ppm from 124 all the way to 100 4 p.m. The last option is wide, and we have a relatively wine range where we can adjust our temple and we can really go all the way. 20 Yeah, recommended. But you could toe under party. This way on you can go from about 124 away too. 248 almost twice the recommended. But you have that choice if you wish. So I like to be somewhere in the middle class minus six is usually fine, but I like to stay in plus minus 10 percent to give me a few more options when I'm moving from one general music to the next from different sub genres off house and techno. So this is it for this video. In the next video, we're gonna be talking about our headphone cues and how to better monitor off our headphones and levels. And we'll do a quick mix with our previous knowledge, which is bead counting phrasing and so on. So catching the next video 7. Features on The DJM: All right, So in this video, we're gonna cover a few features and functions right here on our mixer. First things first, let's talk about level. So let's choose a trunk. Starts with a beats right at the beginning. This one. So this right here, this is our china fader. It is recommended to be always a 10 full volume on the channel. But the overall volume off this track is illustrated here by our our ladies. So we need to use this Put on show meter cold trim. Yeah, this is a knob that we can actually trimmed the level down. So all the way down and also we can control the logo all the way up way clip. That's no good on this mixer. We can even go way get blinking line saying that we're clipping, and that is a complete no. So I like to groom and you guys some level, but I would recommend you to be as zero, which is all the green led. Yeah, and if it's sometimes peaks on one off the oranges, that's perfectly fine. You have a notable space and headroom where you can increase if you ever need to. But I recommend that you start and stick to a level on This is what we call the optimal level old green on maybe just one or two orange ladies. Yep. I recommend all green. Though Green is the way to go and thea other options that we want to talk about here, besides our fader, where we makes end our songs and our trimming level right here to make sure that all our songs are consistently at the same level, way choose healthy level that we choose now when it comes to preparing your song. So this city players playing this song, truck number five and we are going to prepare to do our makes way could choose someone our father, CD player. And we need to hear this song on these headphones. And this is a player is on China one. So let's put the fader back down. We don't want the crowd to hear this. We're gonna press headphone que button right here, and we're going to press play and we're going to be monitoring this off our headphones. So I'm just gonna place the headphones here for now so we can know that this is going to be monitored from our headphones. And the first thing we're going to talk about is the level off our headphones. This is the level that controls how loud our headphones are. I always recommend to start all the way down and slowly increase this. Let me put the headphones on so I can tell you a relatively good level. Yep. So right about 10 o'clock. 11 oclock. 12 o'clock is a bit hot for me, but it also depends on the brand of headphones that you may use. I use Thesis and Heuser aged 25. They have 70 arms of resistance. They are pretty. The goods. Uh, any other brands like pioneer American deejay? Any other consumer approached Schumer brands. You might need to either be a bit lower than 12 o'clock or maybe a slightly a bit higher than 12 o'clock. That they're here is toe have relatively comfortable level feeding your headphones, cause this headphones will probably stay with you all nights. And after a couple of hours, you don't want to end up being here fatigues or get a headache from the blaring sound. So this right curious are pretty OK level for me. Let's put up the fe there for our other song. And now in my headphones I am going to do first queuing. So I'm gonna press, play and goingto postpone use a joke dial to go the way to the first beads. Here's my search. But since to find tune the beginning off the beats and then press cute toe marking your position off my song and that this song finish and we'll do a quick mix. So I'm gonna be counting this song. And when this goes on the first beat off the new phrase, I'm going to press play So they both are in the right beat so they won't go. 1234 and so one together. So their music on the or harmonically, uh, in face. And then I'm going to you use the train to control the level of this city player. This truck. Make sure that it's the same level as this. So it's going toe. Help me do a much mother makes. So BPM is the same. For now, my levels are relatively the same, so I can start to mix in when I'm ready. - So we mixed this song through. Now we're mixing out this song slowly so very seamless. More makes right here. So some takeaways in this video is always monitor the levels of your song. So I hear using the trim knob super important the Cube buttons right here to prepare the song, The next song in your head, phones and the headphone level. Very important right here. I've got a comfortable level. Thank you for watching. 8. Phase Meter, Jog Wheel and BPM: All right, So in this video, we're gonna talk about our face meter and how dance could help us make our songs better. So before we get into that, let's talk abounds. Beats per minute and speed off songs and how we could use our joke well and are Tempus liner souping two songs, right and phase. So this song right here on the rights it's playing out 124 bpm. I am going to use also this song right here on my left, and that is playing out 118 ppm. What I want to do is I'm going to start this song on the one so they are both playing musically together. But obviously when I do that soon after, the beats will go out of phase. Right now, they're completely out of face instantly. And this happens because this song is other certain speeds. This song is at a different speed, so that's 124 p. M. That's 100 and 18. This song needs to be slowly sped up too much the same temperatures. This. So to do that, we need to start training our ears and we're gonna do that in phases. So one and I'm gonna use that joke. Spit it up to in post back the face again and you can hear it that it gets closer and closer. And you can also see it here on the screen. Both songs are in space. So get in phase. I'm going to increase the simple this and then speeding it up with a joke. Will Temple Way went from 1 18 work 1 20.2 And then I used to joke well, this song and finish this off a little more And you've been in years Lonely, coming together Take a longer time for them to drink the parts. Right now they're drifting. Someone picked up, We're back together. It's falling back. What? Put them back together, apart. And at any point you get confused or in this case, we're into this break. We need a beat. What we're gonna do is wait for the one right there on play again. One to be 41234 and one that raised our feeder off. Yeah, so they are almost in sync. It's slightly basing out. You can almost barely see that in the face. Not just forwards pitch it up 124 p. M. One less levels the same. And now we put these two songs in phase be at the same temple, and now we're able to mix from one the other. Yeah, so this just got so 1234567 four and one. So our phases a line, I'm going to slowly raise the fader up. So about seven on, I'm gonna raise it to about eight. Now, slowly. Are they this in the mix? And right when I reach nine here, I'm going to bring this guy also our second track to nine. So they are right there, both of nine on when it pushed this 10. Push this back down to eight, and then slowly bring this down. Eight This steam four on 32. So I waited a mix similares mix. And this you need to practice before we can move on to the further videos and start layering and getting more comprehensive, more easy or complex mixes. So this is our fundamental level mix. This concludes our first chapter together. I hope to see you in our next truck 9. Download and Install Rekordbox: All right, so in this video, I'm gonna show you how to download and install record books. So let's head over to the record books, websites and click the download button right here, and they already picks up that I'm using a Mac, and I'm going to accept downloads. In the meantime, I would recommend that you actually register so they look out and show you how that works, so you can click here on register and register for free. Although Record Books is a bait software record, Books for Exporting Toe a USB is actually free. But if you want to use a controller from Pioneer or any hardware from Pioneer that require you to use a laptop and record books software to perform the performance mode off record books is actually paid. But again, if you do buy any hardware, especially the controllers from Pioneer, they will give you a full licence off record books. So most likely you will not need to buy this software on its own causes, always bundled with the hardware. So just create for now a free account. And when you do have any hardware, your licenses will show up right here, so There's different Adams as well that I have, and I bought extra on top of my life, since it's so everything is saved on your record books account. So now that we've downloaded record box, we are going to open software. Close that and continue. Continue agree install. If you have any local passwords on your laptop, put in if it's required and you are good to go. So now that you have record books installed, we will find it into our applications on the record books. Latest version is five, and in the next video, I'm gonna launch this and show you how to create your playlist and export to you was be Thank you for watching. 10. Create Playlists with Rekordbox: All right, So let's launch record books and start importing our songs and building our playlists. So this is the expert view off record books. We don't need to go into performance or the knighting pictures in record books. So when you first open up record books, you may have Ah, a few more menus and steps to follow. So just like the installation pick next, next, next. Nothing is permanent, so don't worry. Nothing will break. And when you get to this screen right here, everything is pretty fresh and empty blank. There is nothing in it. We have no playlists nor dated tracks. Nothing in iTunes on no devices. Connect that yet. You probably shouldn't have any histories or recordings, But I do because I've been used record books for a long time. But I just lied everything just for you so we can do this step by step. What's really important actually, is actually the collection and playlist. So let me go into my hard drive and find some music. All right, so let's create our first place. So I'm gonna click here on the plus sign, and I'm gonna call this place this techno, uh, John 2090 for example, and I'm going to drag and drop this trunks right here. So now record books is analyzing this tracks, and it's gonna give me some information about the tracks and act, work and track type tools artist genre on. So one is also going to give me a date at it, which is quite lying that important us. Well, you may have different, um, columns right here. You may not have some columns, or you may have different ones, not an issue. Just right. Click anywhere and you can choose to show and hide. Whichever columns make more sense to you, there is no right or wrong. I think these are probably the default. Or maybe I added the column or two. Or maybe I've moved a condom around in record books. So now the stocks have been analysed, and we're good to go with our first play this, But just to spice things up, I'm going to create on now there, play this cause called House General and that I'm going toe. Aren't this 10 hopes? Yeah, list in trucks. So my general playlist has 10 house tracks. My techno January 2019 has these seven tracks and, of course, record books is analyzing every truck in the background. But now when we go into our collection, we do actually have all 17 tracks right here. So the collection consists off all the latest and the current, and any future plate is that you create so all your songs will be here. And, uh, actually, record books is a pretty nice media player. So you could actually like Dragon drop a truck here and press play and skip right through it to hear, like, different sections. Just have it play from beginning to end. And that's pretty nice in the collections. Also in the playlists. When the song reaches all the way to the end without you doing anything, it plays the next song on your plate. It's so this could be like a replacement for iTunes cause I transfer me is pretty annoying . This pretty nice actually. See the way form you can You can interact and engage your music. It's pretty cool. Cool. And right now what we're gonna do is we're going to add USB right now on our laptop and exports these two plate ists. All right, so our us being but picked up and I'm going to click now on sink Manager and in my record box right here in the middle Pain. It says that I have to playlists techno John 2019 and House General. The two that I just did right now and might be Brian's picked it up my years b I named it cost us proper, and I have to have this checked on synchronized the playlist with my device. It also has already some previous place on my USB, so yours should be an empty And I'm just going to import techno John and how is General and press close and you can see the process right here at the bottom. So when this goes to 100% and it ends, you can eject it. And if you want to be sure that you have important your play this into years, be or you can or you have expert your planets out off record books, you could actually collapse for us. Be details here, and you can actually see all the different playlists that are on your USB right and ejects . And I would take this year's beyond toward see DJs or X two controller and where goods to start to play some music. So thank you for watching and secure in our next session. 11. Summary & Whats Next!: all right. So before we move into our second chapter, that's do a quick review of what we've discovered and learned in the previous videos. So this is our inner system dirt set up from Pioneer B J 2000 nexus to on these two city players and R D. J M 900 nexus to mixer. We talked about the principles off what a deejay does behind the both from the first thing data was killing the truck moving silence than the start counting the beats. So four beats in one bar, eight bars in one musical phrase or 32 beats in total, and we play and move musically on the mixer in increments off eighths. Yep, so we mix in on the one we mix, our on them one. So it has a slightly more impactful and gives it a bit more meaning. We also talked abounds. Some features on the see deejay to play in the pause the queue, The search our USB inland are USB button right here are browse button to look for our trucks rotary encoder to move around our tracks and select um, and also we can move from track to track here, but increments off one forward than one backwards with our track search. But Simmons, right there we discuss what we can view on the screen on Swell and our temple settings and our mass attempt off settings. And what we use are were temple slider for right here as well as some more features, like the job well, which helps us notch backwards and forwards our music in order to keep things in facing on beats. Then on the mixer, we've talked about our train, which help us balance our levels off our song. So all ourselves, consistently the same level, our track or channel Fader is right here from zero all the way to 10. Our mixing usually happens right between 7 to 10 right here. Our headphone cues so we can pre prepare our song. But it's gonna be playing next on our headphones and our headphone level. And this is what was covert in our previous videos. Please take your time, go over and practice a seamless mix using just the failures in our next chapter. We're going to build on this technique and hope to see you there and then thank you