Life As A DJ: What It Takes

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Life as a DJ may seem like an easy gig, but it’s not. It requires skill, talent and hard work. Strong interpersonal abilities, a strong business sense, and technological mastery are also key to life as a DJ. And, of course, you need to love music.

DJs (the term is short for “disk jockey”) are people who play recorded music for live audiences. This can be done over the air or in person.

Of course, hitting “play” is only one small part of the job. DJs match beats, mix tracks, and distort sounds to create seamless music listeners can dance to. And good DJs know how to interact with an audience, becoming a part of the entertainment. Life as a DJ is more complicated than it may appear.

Life as a DJ: The Basics

If you plan to live life as a DJ, you’ll first need to know what sort of DJ you hope to be. Do you want to be the kind who draws large crowds to concerts and raves? Or do you have more realistic goals, working as a wedding or party DJ, for example?

The next step in living life as a DJ is acquiring equipment. If you work a large-scale gig, this may be provided for you, but many private settings require that you bring your own. Expect to buy CD players or turntables, a microphone, a laptop, speakers, mixers, and headphones. You may also want to get specialized software for mixing and music selection.

To get a feel for life as a DJ, spend some time observing and hanging out around your favorite DJs. Get advice from them and a sense of how they interact with audiences. How do they manage them? What are their mixing techniques?

Life as a DJ: The Skills You’ll Need

Life as a DJ requires some basic artistic and technical skills. Most important is mixing. Specifically, for many DJ gigs you’ll need to know how to beatmatch, which is the technique of moving from one song to the next seamlessly, without skipping beats. Mixing can be done before a performance or on the fly.

To live life as a DJ you’ll also need to become a musical expert. Immerse yourself in every popular music genre, from progressive and techno to house and hip-hop. You’ll need to know more about music than everyone you know.

Life as a DJ: The First Gig

You’ll probably have to smart small as a DJ. Very small. As in small private parties for low fees or dead weeknights at bars and clubs. Even weddings and bar mitzvahs may take a few steps up. Whatever you do, hold onto your day job for the time being.

No two audiences are the same in life as a DJ, and they all have different tastes. Slow songs are big at weddings, for example, while more complicated DJ techniques are called for at raves and parties.

Building life as a DJ isn’t easy, but it can certainly be rewarding. Top earners can become wealthy (though they’re few and far between). But the most important thing to real DJs is the music, and the skill required to master it.

Carter is a professional writer who covers many different topics.  One area he covers is the area of music, events, and even dj services.  When it comes to writing about djs, he writes on being a dj and how to hire a Dallas dj.


Image courtesy of moggara12 /

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