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Cheat Sheet

DJing For Dummies (UK Edition)

DJing is exciting, creative and fulfilling. DJs are on a mission to entertain and play great music. This Cheat Sheet gives you tips and information to help you DJ to the very best of your abilities.

Items to Take when You’re DJing

You want to travel light when you DJ, but you also don’t want to forget any vital items. Print out and pin this list to your door so you never forget the important stuff!

  • Records/CDs/laptop/hard-drive. Remember your music, and something to clean records or CDs with.

  • Headphones and slipmats. Not all clubs have them. Remember the headphone adaptor too!

  • Digital recorder/blank CD. Try to record everything you do for reference.

  • Demo tapes/CDs/MiniDiscs. You never know when the right person will ask you for a demo.

  • Tools. A small screwdriver set and some duct-tape can save the night.

  • Pen and paper. For requests, your drink orders, and giving out and taking phone numbers.

  • Something to drink (non-alcoholic). An energy drink will keep you going through the night.

  • Something to eat. You can devour jelly babies or an energy bar in between mixes.

  • Car and house keys. Don’t laugh; you may have forgotten them before. Not fun.

  • Business cards. Keep your business cards in your wallet so they’re on hand to give out to interested folks.

  • Chill compilation for the ride home. To come down after the high of the best night of your life.

How to Calculate a Tune's Beats Per Minute and Adjust Pitch

Beats per minute (BPMs) are a way to describe how fast your records are. The name gives it away; the BPM is the number of beats that occur in one minute. Count how many beats play in 30 seconds. If you counted the first beat when you started your watch, subtract 1, then double the result. If you didn’t count that first beat, simply double the figure. That’s your BPM.

When you try to beatmatch two different records, knowing the BPM of each tune helps you make an educated guess as to how much to adjust the pitch control (which is what you use to make your tunes’ bass beats play at the same speed).

If you don’t want to guess, and want to figure the amount to change the pitch control more precisely, use the following formula to work out how much an adjustment on the pitch control will change the original BPM:

(Original BPM x pitch change) / 100 = BPM change

For example, 130 BPM tune with a 5 per cent pitch increase would be:

(130 x 5) / 100 = 6.5 BPM
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