How to DJ with a Laptop (For FREE) – Learn to DJ with Serato DJ Lite

Learn How to DJ with a Laptop (For FREE!)

Today i’m going to help you learn how to DJ with a laptop for free, just using DJ software. You won’t need any DJ equipment yet, you won’t even need any music yet. Why? We have a free music pack for you to download later in the post. There are also videos explaining techniques that took me years of trial and error to understand. You’re going to get all this for free and efficiently!

learn to dj online

Before we get started let me tell you a quick story.

My name is Jamie Hartley, you can see me playing one of my favourite DJ residencies below! I started my journey as a DJ back when I was 14 years old, with no access to digital DJ technology. It was hard, it took me years of trial and error to learn DJing basics, and it cost a lot of money to buy equipment. There were no online tutorials at that time, and no DJ school’s that I was aware of! But hey, that’s a good thing, because I made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

jamie hartley dj

Fast forward 13 years, i’m lucky enough to be helping hundreds of people learn to DJ. Wether it’s teaching advanced mixing or scratching techniques both online and one to one at our studio (Leeds, UK). Or, helping a total beginner like yourself get started as DJ. My aim is to share my knowledge and experiences to help and inspire others to be the best DJ they can be!

It took me a few years after starting to get my first residency. But a few more years and lots of hard work to turn my hobby into a full time career. I made a decent living as a DJ playing in some of the UKs biggest clubs and festivals. I’ve also been fortunate enough to play alongside some huge names from a wide range of genres. Everyone from Fatboy Slim, Hardwell, Martin Garrix & Oliver Heldens to Jazzy Jeff, Ms Dynamite, Craig Charles and plenty more.

But now i’m here to help you! I want to help you experience a similar career to mine or be able to have fun playing and mixing music for free at home.

DJ Software

Thanks to technology it’s never been easier to learn how to DJ, because now you can learn just using your laptop… for FREE! There are plenty of DJ applications on the market to choose form, such as Rekordbox, Virtual DJ, Algoriddim’s Djay, but i’ve chosen one of my favourites to get your started. It’s time to download the Serato DJ Lite software. 

Why have I chosen this software over the others?

Well, it’s a very simple and clean looking software for beginners. It’s not cluttered with hundreds of features you really don’t need to learn basic DJ mixing skills. It’s easily upgradable once you decide to buy some DJ equipment and is one of the most popular software’s for professional DJs. I’ve personally been using Serato DJ since 2010, and even after trying to use other software have found myself going back to it time and time again.

serato dj lite logo

Learn to DJ – The Basics

This DJ tutorial series is the perfect way for you to learn basic mixing techniques, essential music theory and for you to have fun with some digital performance features such as hot cues and loops. You will begin to manage and build you own music library, and even create a set to easily play for friends and at parties… if you dare!

Crossfader DJ Tools Music Pack – Free Download

There is no point explaining how DJ with a laptop and use the software if you can’t follow along step by step. That’s why we have compiled a free music pack to download. Some friends of ours have donated these awesome royalty free pieces of music spread across a few different genres. This is perfect way to start building your music library.

Click here to DOWNLOAD
 


Introduction to Serato DJ Lite – Beginner DJ Lessons

Here is a quick introduction before we get started with the DJ lessons!

 


how to dj with a laptop

DJ Lesson #01 – How to Import and Analyse your Music Library

To make the most of DJ software you first must import and manage your music library in particular the Crossfader Music Pack. The software is able to analyse the music and attach data to the file. The important data needed to help get started is the BPM of the track. This helps determine what tracks could potentially mix with others. Watch the video tutorial below to learn how to import, organise and analyse your music library as well as learn the basics of the Serato DJ Lite software.


music theory for djs

DJ Lesson #02 – Basic Music Theory & Mixing Tutorial for DJs

This is something that took me a very long time to realise and understand. I’m not actually from a music background and can’t play any other instruments so music theory was way off the radar when I began my DJ journey.

Years after I started I realised all music which I mix and DJ with stick to certain rules. It took me so long to learn because I had nobody to show me. But, now you will learn what took me years to understand in just one video. The earlier you can understand basic music theory the more your mixing will make sense, sound right and like a professional DJ.


djing software

DJ Lesson #03 – Using Loops to Mix

With the rise of DJ software and technology there are now common performance features that can be used while mixing. The first we’re going to look at is the auto loop feature. This will automatically hold a section of track where it is until you deactivate it. You can choose 1, 2, 4 and 8 bar loops in the Serato DJ Lite software. Let’s look at how they work and more importantly when to use loops when mixing.


serato dj lite tutorial

DJ Lesson #04 – Where to Set up Hot Cues & How to Use Them While Mixing

Another performance feature available within Serato DJ Lite are hot cues. Hot cues allow DJ’s to set up multiple points throughout the song. These are useful to jump to or work from while mixing. For example maybe you want to jump straight to a songs breakdown or land the mix right on the drop.

Hot cues are a creative tool that can give you the flexibility to do just that and much more. You can set up to 4 hot cues on any track in the Serato DJ Lite software. These hot cues are stored within the song’s data. Next time you load that track the hot cues will still be there, ready to perform with!


DJ Lesson #05 – Next Steps – Buying Your First Piece of DJ Equipment

It’s such a daunting thing now buying your first piece of DJ equipment. There are so many options, so many mediums, from controllers, to CDJs, players to turntables and mixers. One of the most popular ways for new DJs to go is to buy a DJ controller. They’re cheap and packed full of performance features. There are even controllers the size of your laptop keyboard, if space is an issue.

In this video we look at some of the options you have on your DJ journey with the Serato DJ Lite & Serato DJ Pro software. Please note that this DJ equipment is just to showcase what the options are. It’s to get you thinking about the possibilities. If you want detailed reviews of these products and others then click here.


Final word…

Thank you so much for making it this far and letting me share my knowledge to help you learn the basics of DJing. Remember you’re just at the very start of your journey. There are plenty more exciting ways to mix, blend, scratch and play with music.

If you buy some DJ equipment and want to learn how to use it, or fancy trying out more advanced techniques then our online DJ courses are full of creative ways to mix, scratch and play with music.

To check out the courses we have available just click here.

Thanks and I hope I can help you further your career very soon!

Jamie Hartley

Comments

  • Nuwan
    Reply

    Thank you very much for the great tutorials which help lot the begginers.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Austinfrom713
    Reply

    I have got a pioneer DDJ-SR. That is serato compatible. I’ve hooked it up to a computer but i wasn’t able to download any songs from serato. Am i doing something wrong or how do i go about downloading songs from serato? I think i used a desktop to hook everything up. Should i purchase a laptop and see if i can download songs from serato off of there. Please, Please, Please let me know something A.S.A.P. THANKS Austin

    • Jamie Hartley

      Hey there, Serato is just a DJ software. You can’t download music from within the software. You would download music from external sources and then import that music into the software to mix with.

      Thanks
      Jamie