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How to Become a Trance DJ

Trance music has kept the clubs moving for over two decades, and it's not showing any signs of letting up. It's also managed to captivate mainstream music audiences, with artists like Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto becoming household names. In order for you to join the ranks of the more prestigious DJs, you have to start with the basics: two turntables, a mixer and the drive to succeed.

Things You'll Need:

  • Mixer
  • Speakers
  • Computer With A Soundcard
  • Turntables
  • Headphones
  • Cables

Study the trance genre. Don't just listen to the music; dissect it. Study the beats, rhythms, samples and all the other intricacies that make trance identifiable. Listen to older trance songs from artists such as The KLF and Dance 2 Dance, then compare them to current trance DJs like Paul van Dyk and Armin van Buuren to see how the genre has evolved. Also, pay attention to subgenres like Goa trance and hard trance in order to make yourself a more rounded DJ.

Get a pair of turntables and a mixer. Vinyl turntables are the standard, but tabletop CD players are becoming more popular with DJs. The right equipment is necessary. Don't just plug your mp3 player full of trance songs into a set of speakers and press play.

Get comfortable with your equipment. Play around with the mixer's sound effects and crossfade, and generally get to know what your setup can do.

Practice mixing. Learn how to properly go from one track to another, creating a near-seamless blend. Knowing how to beatmix is critical for a DJ.

Keep up with the latest trends and artists in trance music. Dancers like the classics, but most of your audiences will prefer the newest tracks.

Get booked at small events like birthday parties and weddings. See if any of your peers need a DJ for an event (or if they know of any other events where a DJ is needed), then volunteer your services. Playing smaller gigs will help you get accustomed to being in front of an audience and will also help you hone your craft by learning how to work the crowd.

Promote yourself. Record a good mix using your computer (see References) and hand it out to club patrons and promoters. Put an ad about yourself in local music/club-oriented newspapers and magazines. The internet is a great place to self-promote, especially at trance forums (like Trance.fm and Tranceaddicts.com) that allow you to post your playlists and where users can download links of your mixes. Take advantage of online social networks like MySpace, Twitter and YouTube to get the word out because you never know who may be paying attention.


Getting to know local DJs is important since they can help you with technique and choosing venues. Some may even want to start a collective with you. Coming up with a dynamic DJ name is essential. Create something catchy and unique, and nothing that will confuse you with someone else. Once you start making a name for yourself, you can invest in more stylish performance hardware like projectors, smoke machines and laser lights.

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