There are at least 46 million reasons to become a DJ. At least, there are if you can join the elite ranks of the industry. That’s because DJ powerhouse The Chainsmokers earns an incredible $46 million through DJing performances and streaming royalties in a single year. It was their popularity at clubs, festival appearances, and a multi-year residency at Wynn in Las Vegas that earned them that kind of cash. DJs who are just getting started aren’t going to see those kinds of numbers in their bank account. Yet there is a huge demand for their musical talent around the world at various clubs, festivals, and events. The global pandemic didn’t slow down the demand for great DJs, either. While the live music industry lost more than $9 billion in ticket sales, DJs were going strong online. Business Insider recently wrote about DJs moving their performances to online and virtual venues with huge success. Not even social distancing can slow them down.
What We'll Cover
- DJing Live: From Setup to Soundcheck
- How to Become a DJ: Learn How to Start DJing Online Today
- Scratch DJ Academy Presents: DJ Fundamentals
- Abelton Live: DJing
- The Complete DJ Course
- How to DJ: Masterclass
- Armin Van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
- Serato DJ – Beginner Online DJ Course
- Laid Back Luke Tutorials
- DJ Skills
It’s not the money and fan follow that leads most people to pursue their dreams of becoming a DJ, though. It’s a love of music, mixing, and creating powerful live performances that draws them to this career choice. Because being a DJ is so much more than hitting the play button. It’s about helping people experience music in a new way and giving them a live performance they’ll never forget. Ready to start living out your DJ dreams? Online courses can be the perfect way to learn more about the equipment, skills, and business acumen you need to be a successful DJ.
Why Some of These DJ Courses The Best Way to Learn
- Most online courses are yours for life. Once you pay for them, many will give you access to the course materials for a lifetime. That makes them a great resource for skill-building and revisiting the basics when you need a refresher.
- The courses are self-paced. You can choose to breeze through them in a day or take it bit by bit. There is no rush to complete them and no competition from your fellow learners. You can go at the pace that works for you.
- They are great for any level. There are courses out there for everyone, whether you are learning your first set-up or a veteran of the industry looking to refresh your skills.
Ready to learn directly from some of the biggest names in the music industry? Here are ten of the best online classes for becoming a DJ and where you can find them.
DJing Live: From Setup to Soundcheck
Young Guru, a Grammy-nominated audio engineer, leads this online DJing course. Once you’ve completed this course, you can check out other DJing courses from Skillshare including The Basics of Serato DJ and DJing with Traktor 101: Navigating Your First Mix. He teaches participates the ins and outs of what you need to do to make your live performance a successful one. He also covers what to do before and during an event to make sure you have everything covered.
Price: Free with a two-month trial, after that it’s $19 per month
- It’s a great primer for DJs looking to take their performances to a live audience
- New DJs will appreciate the provided checklist of essential equipment they’ll need to get started
- The entire course is online 30-minutes long, so it’s not as in-depth as some other courses on this list
- For the price, though, it’s a good one to get your feet wet, especially if you are just getting started on your DJing journey
How to Become a DJ: Learn How to Start DJing Online Today
This is an in-depth online course with over 11 hours of instruction. Ross Palmer teaches the class, coming into it with over 13 year of experience working as a DJ. There are four sections to the course. The sections start by introducing some tools you’ll need to create an engaging show then move onto more advanced DJing techniques.
- You’ll get a lot of value for your money out of this course
- Once you wrap up this course, check out the other popular DJing course on Udemy, taught by the Wu-Tang Clan
- The biggest drawback to this course is it focuses its instruction on Pioneer’s brand of DJ equipment
- If you are using Pioneer already or plan to, great
- If not, there may be other courses that are better suited for you
Scratch DJ Academy Presents: DJ Fundamentals
Site: Creative Live
There is a lot of value for money in this course. DJ Hapa leads the course, bringing over two decades of experience to the turntables. He offers 13 video lessons totaling over five hours of content, introducing students to the fundamentals of building your DJ set. Those wanting more can take the Scratch DJ Academy Presents: Intermediate/Advanced DJ Strategy as a follow-up.
- This is a course built for beginners
- The course covers music theory and focuses on building a musical experience for the audience
- You’ll also get plenty of tips on what equipment is essential, useful for those starting out and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gear on the market
- For the price and content, there isn’t much to complain about here
- The reviews from former students are glowing, too, with many praising DJ Hapa’s teaching style
Abelton Live: DJing
Site: LinkedIn Learning
This course comes from DJ and author J. Scott Giaquinta. He’s an EDM producer with more than two decades of experience in the music industry. With this course, he imparts his decades of knowledge to students by covering a comprehensive rage of DJ skills. The course comes with an exclusive sound file so you can work along with the videos in the course. Giaquinta also covers skills to make live performances more dynamic, including alternative controllers.
Price: Free (with a one month trial) or $25
- Students learn the nitty-gritty details of how to set up hardware, import tracks, and perfecting their harmonic mixing
- Finally, he offers tips on how to record your sets and fine-tune them after the fact
- Designed for Ableton Live software users, this course may be not suitable for those using other software packages
- The course also covers a lot of intermediate topics, so if you are a beginner, you may be in over your head
The Complete DJ Course
Site: Digital DJ Tips
There are nine modules in all, covering both practical and flashier tips and tricks. This course promises to deliver a five-step formula for success in your DJing career. The course offers advice on what equipment to buy and how to build and organize your music library. Later modules cover classic DJ techniques as well as tricks developed especially for the digital age.
Cost: $179 for three months (total of $537)
- The end of the course will prepare you for what to expect when you perform in a live venue
- This course works with any DJ setup and any ability level, so it’s suitable for almost anyone looking to polish their DJing skill set
- This course isn’t cheap, but it is thorough
- The price point may put it out of budget for those just starting out in the business
How to DJ: Masterclass
Site: DJ Courses Online
One of the biggest draws of this course is the teacher. DJ TLM is a DJ and producer with 25 years of experience and a YouTube channel with more than 100,000 subscribers. This course offers a good coverage of topics for beginners, including an explanation of some of the most important functions of your equipment. DJ TLM covers the basics of scratching and the importance of song selection before offering tips on how to promote yourself as a DJ. That’s something other courses lack, but information that those just starting out will sorely need.
Price: $19 a month (with annual and lifetime membership options)
- The monthly membership fee gives you access to all the courses on the website, too
- The motivated learners can really get a lot of bang for their buck by also checking out the three Advanced DJ Techniques courses or the DJ Career Tips
- The courses are good for all equipment users, too, which is a big plus
- There isn’t much that you won’t love here
- It’s cost effective and offers additional courses for continuing your DJ education
- One word of warning, though
- The initial courses focus a lot on turntables, so if that isn’t something you care about, you may feel this course isn’t as good as it could be
Armin Van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
Armin Van Buurren teaches this DJ course on Masterclass. As a DJ, he delights more than 41 million listeners each week on his State of Trance radio show. Through the course, he teaches his methods for sampling, mixing, and recording vocals. He also shares tips for DJing a set.
Price: $15 a month, billed annually
- The course comes with a workbook for every class
- There are also exclusive audio samples so you can follow along with Van Buuren as he teaches you his tricks of the trade
- The course focuses more on music production than the ins and outs of DJing
- Still, it’s a great course for those who want to go in-depth on creating their own signature sound
Serato DJ – Beginner Online DJ Course
Crossfader is a Serato DJ certified institute, so they know what they are talking about when it comes to this brand of DJ software. This beginner course covers everything you need to know about using Serato. It includes mixing, EQ control, using effects, and mix-up mashing.
- The big promise of the course is that they don’t just show you what the buttons do, but how to put them to work
- Screen grabs and live overhead shots of the instructors make it easy to follow along on your own Serato set-up at home
- Crossfader also has a ton of great classes for DJs working on Serato, Pioneer, Traktor, rekordbox and more
- While the classes themselves are great, they are each over $100 a pop
- So if you are looking to really refine your skills and go from beginner to advanced, you can end up paying out a couple of hundred dollars
- Still, if you are looking on software-specific courses, Crossfader is a great choice
Laid Back Luke Tutorials
There are a lot of DJ tutorials on YouTube, but the quality of the information really varies. If you want solid advice from someone who knows what they are doing, head to Laid Back Luke’s channel. With over 280,000 subscribers, he’s one of the most popular YouTube DJs around. Along with vlogs and videos of his live performances, there are currently over two dozen free tutorial videos on his channel.
- He covers everything from basic skills to panning, mashes, side chain, layering and more
- It’s a great resource if you are looking for specific advice on a skill and don’t want to pay for a class
- While its great content (especially with that free price tag), it may not be as in-depth as some other DJing course options listed here
- If you are looking to refine a skill or just see how the experts do it, though, this is a great resource
Site: Point Blank Music School
Voted the world’s best music production school by readers of DJ Mag, this London-based school offers classes around the world. Those ready to fully commit to their DJ education can look into the Music Production Complete Master Diploma, a 2-year program offered by the school.
Price: £680 (or about $866)
- Now you can also take part in their online classes
- The online classes include interactive mentoring and live feedback on your assignments
- The DJ skills module gives you a good overview of music theory and skills to bring to your live performances
- It’s just one of the many classes Point Blank offers, too
- While the course provides a lot of great information, it does focus on Pioneer’s rekordbox software
- Classes are online available for certain start dates, too, so you’ll need to make sure it fits into your schedule