We’ve been in business since 2011, and many people often wonder how does one get into the DJ business? Well for starters, you gotta love music, and you gotta love inspiring people to dance. If you’re interested in DJing, or starting up a DJ business, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Don’t buy equipment right away. Many people think that going to Amazon.com
(sponsored link) and purchasing a midi controller is the first step to becoming a DJ. I’ll tell you right now, that’s the wrong idea. It’s definitely part of it, and the gear you choose can have an impact, but the equipment does not make the DJ! The PERSONALITY does. In order to be truly successful as a solo DJ, you have to be friendly and have a genuine desire for other people to have a great time. Not focused on how “cool” or “popular” you are. People want to have a good time, and you can help them do it. That’s the role of a DJ. Don’t focus on buying equipment right off the bat.
- Start studying genres. Pick a genre that you’ve never listened to before. You can go chronologically if you like. Start with the 50’s, then the 60’s, etc. Study different types of Jazz (Fusion, Big Band), the Crooners (Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, etc.), the One Hit Wonders from the 80’s (80’s Pop Hits), EVERYTHING. From what I’ve noticed, for events that pay consistent money, there’s a lot of playing the same kind of songs. The honest truth is, most people don’t like dancing to music they’ve never heard before!Challenge: Listen to a radio station (besides the one you prefer) and try to name the song and artist you are hearing. Then use Shazam to see if you’re right! When you start to get good most of them correct, try a different radio station!
- Research kinds of dance Some audiences only react to hip hop, other crowds only react to east coast swing. The trick is knowing how people will dance to a given song, so you can guide their inspiration accordingly. The key is in knowing the music and knowing how people will dance to it, so you don’t end up with people leaving the party because “the DJ sucks”. You want to keep them there, engaged and having a great time.Challenge: Go to Youtube and start researching popular dances. You might start with The Whip and Nae Nae, then move on to East Coast Swing. The more you know about dancing, the more educated you can be about inspiring others to dance.
- Try volunteering. Every DJ has probably started off their first gig for free. It’s just the way it goes. You have to prove that you have the skill and knowledge before people will trust you with the power of the turntables. You can start off by renting equipment from a DJ that’s already in the business, or asking to come along for a gig. We get requests from people wanting to learn how to DJ, and we will always oblige! DJing is fun, and that fun is meant to be shared! You’ll learn real quick that the hard part of DJing starts before the crowd shows up and leaves after everyone’s gone. The setup and teardown will put some muscles on you. Trust us!Challenge: Send a local DJ company a message and ask them if you could help out at an event sometime. Tell them you’re just looking for the experience, you don’t want to be paid.
- Research Technique There is something to be said for technique, but it isn’t everything. we believe that song selection is WAY more important than DJ technique. However, if scratching, beat matching, key matching and beat juggling are what attract you to DJing, there’s nothing stopping you from researching and practicing the technique once you get the equipment. Growing in skill as a DJ is just as much about knowledge and personality as it is about transitioning between songs or performing.
- Specialize your art If you’re interested in DJing, there may be some restrictions on what gigs you can attend. For example if you’re under 21, you might not be able to attend certain events with alcohol, but that could make you a perfect person to do underage events, proms, homecomings or birthday parties. If your goal is to DJ for crazy parties, you’ll probably have to start attending some wild and crazy parties. If your goal is to service family friendly events, like ours is, then you’ll want to live a “family friendly lifestyle”. Be honest with yourself about how your art will fit in with the parties you want to be a part of.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! If you have any questions, looking for recommendations on equipment or just want to say hi and chat about life, please reach out to us! We’re friendly people!
-The Bonsai Audio Team