DJ? What’s a DJ?
Haha don’t laugh at me. Just for the record, if you want to do something, you have to understand what it really is.
First of all, DJ stands for “disc jockey”, people who play recorded music for audience. There are several types of DJ, such as “radio DJ” – the original of such work, broadcasting live music through radio sessions, focusing on live audience; “club DJ” – the controller who keeps the dance floor constantly and dynamically crowded by blending tracks together; “guest DJ/performer” – he or she (could come from a radio or a club) definitely has some reputation, people clearly know who he is and what he can do.
Of course there are more of it but above is basically what I need you to know.
So, why a DJ?
Hm, why not? Nowadays being a DJ is trending, especially with young people. This occupation sounds clearly promising because it is comprised of both passion and money. Everyone wants to make money, but not all of them get to work with all their heart. Do you know how much a DJ earns a night? 300$.
(Nah, everything has its own dark sides, be careful.)
What I need to become a DJ?
GET YOUR GEAR
As I’ve always said, you must know what you wanna do before doing it. So you want to become a radio or a club DJ? Or even a performer? Think twice, because your answer will show you how to get the gear you truly need. It would be unrealistic to spend tons of cash on those expensive gadgets, only to find out DJing isn’t really for you a few weeks later. Therefore, a beginner should only start nice and slow, having as much access to DJ equipment as possible to get a feel about what you’re about to do. For beginners, if you are thinking to buy equipment, I highly recommend the all-in-one controller route – the easiest and closest way to start. Another solution is to use DJ software such as Virtual DJ, Mixxx,… – fully featured, good and free at the same time.
These steps provide a better vision for you, see if you’re ready to spend more money purchasing the gear.
Here are some essential utilities you will need:
- Audio player (DJ controller, computer, turntables, mobile devices,…)
- A good pair of studio headphones
- Software and a controller for computer
LEARN AND PRACTICE ALL YOU CAN
Learn and practice concurrently. Learn the important skills of a DJ: EQing, mixing, phrasing, beat matching,… They don’t require you to make a lot of research but you will have to practice, practice and practice. Mastering all that provides a variety of chances to boost your career. In addition, it is necessary to discover other equipment so as to have further knowledge about DJing. We won’t know if you run into some cool tricks which improve your performance, or you like music you create and so does everyone.
Another necessary thing to do is to learn as much as you can. As far as I know, there are no degree programs in DJing, but that wouldn’t be very effective if there were any. Most DJs learn to mix and match music by themselves, so that they can freely mark their own style, and that’s really how this industry functions. No one would look at you if you didn’t even know how to use different operating systems, like CDJ and turntables.
The biggest difference between a DJ and an iPod is the conscience. Professional DJs always know what to do, what equipment to use, what beat to drop because they can read the crowd as an open book. Simply one scratching and the crowd go crazy, that’s the science of observing.
START YOUR CAREER, MAKE YOUR OWN BRAND
After months, even years of practicing, you’re finally ready to perform. Your mixes sound nice, you uploaded some of them on the internet and received positive feedback. Now, you need to focus on marketing yourself.
You must be wondering, why.
I’m afraid that time has come. It is when you stop playing around with your equipment, and start to think about developing your career more (of course, if you see being a DJ as a hobby then you can stop right here, don’t read further). Not everyone likes marketing but unfortunately, it’s crucial. It offers you a job, with a salary in return. And since then, you will have to do some networking more than just mixing music.
The result of a good marketing yourself is increasing gigs. You have opportunity to meet ones that are potentially becoming your customers afterwards. Larger, better performances mean your own brand is slowly growing, you may need a fanpage on Facebook, or a channel on Youtube, just to maximize your reputation. Since we’re in a virtual age, hiring a tech guy to build your website can effectively even fasten the progress. Don’t ignore local promoting because they are truly potential to hire you, not someone 2000 miles away. Remember, good self-evaluating , good self-promoting are the best way to achieve your gold. “Top DJs are top because they know how to sell themselves.”
Of course, there would be times that you’re all free, or you hold a gig and end up playing your track alone, that’s okay. Because there would also be days you shine as a star among the people dancing to your melody. Keep living a happy, enthusiastic life as a DJ. Look at the bright side. And never stop challenging yourself.