Being a DJ: Expectations Vs Reality
You want to be a DJ. You want the feeling that comes with being center stage and having all eyes on you with every spin. You want the crowd to move to every song. But, do you know how to become a DJ? What do you need? Where should you go? What should you buy? - These are some of the questions we see being asked frequently.
Being a DJ is more than just changing the songs or playing music from a pre-organized playlist; it involves you moving the crowd at a function or party. There are different types of DJs: the turntable master
(the performer), the club DJ, the radio DJ, and the mobile DJ. You could be a maestro in one, but knowing how to work a few of these different disciples increases your chances of getting booked. A good DJ needs to be versatile (to some extent at least) - it opens you up to a whole new world of opportunities.
Deciding what type of DJ you'll like to be is most definitely the first step in the right direction of your DJing journey. When you've decided on that, the next step would be finding the right equipment.
People say, you only as good your equipment; that practice also applies to being a DJ. Now, to do that, you don't necessarily have to break the bank trying to buy your first set of DJ equipment; the investment needed to pursue your career as a DJ is modest. However, this could go up depending on your ambitions and needs. Start with the basics - A working DJ set up would include;
Turntables or Controller. A controller would be more affordable if you're just starting out.
Cases and Mounts
Mixing software (optional)
Don't invest in high-end equipment right away.
A quick tip: Forget the other stuff for now; spend wisely. Spend more on turntables and a mixer; buy your decks used and your mixer new.
Well, yes you've bought the equipment, but would they play themselves? Seeing a mixer or turntable for the first time can be pretty confusing - all those knobs and buttons. But as you start to practice and master your skills, it starts to become a walk in the park.
Mastering your skills can be done by going to a DJ school or DJ classes. Taking DJ classes would open you to meeting other like-minded DJs, thereby expanding your network. It also presents the opportunity to work with some of the best equipment o the industry.
Learning from a professional DJ has also proven to be another way to harness your skills as a DJ. If you're serious about being a DJ, odds are you know a few professional DJs in your area; speak to them for advice or you could ask for a tutorial on the best practices. If they're half as passionate as you are, they wouldn't mind taking time out to explain their methods.
Consider yourself as an apprentice and try to learn from every DJ you come across. Your attention should be on how they match the tempos of different songs, how they relate with the crowd during a set, how they promote themselves and set themselves apart (DJ Steve Aoki and the cakes)
"Practice makes perfect". So a bit of self-teaching and practice won't hurt. The internet has provided us the opportunity to learn online; however, we'll advise that you make sure your learning source is credible.
Now, to the part where you want: Booking gigs. After you've honed your skills, you want to put it into use and start making a profit from your expertise. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there; approach small clubs and promoters, market yourself. The internet has also helped to make that a lot easier - having a good online presence could help you reach millions of people around the world.
In conclusion, keep going. Like any skill or career, it'll be hard at first, but just keep going. Play for close friends and family, ask for their honest option and work on it. Don't expect to be headlining a show right away - It takes time.
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