So you’ve gotten a few DJ gigs under your belt but they’re few and far between and you’re looking to push yourself to the next level…but how? The easy answer is to put your nose to the grindstone but getting ahead takes a lot more than that for a beginner DJ. It should go without saying that you should always be working on your technical and creative skills as a DJ, but being a successful DJ takes a lot more than that.
The tips I have for you today are about more pragmatic ways to succeed as a DJ rather than counting beats or mixing. These tips are about reaching out to the DJ community and showing that you are a hot commodity and that you have the musical chops to entertain a crowd of any size.
Hopefully you already have your own website promoting your skills as a DJ, sharing information on gigs and generally maintaining a solid web presence. This is usually the first thing beginner DJs do once they’ve gotten a few paying gigs because it’s relatively simple and it’s a good networking opportunity.
With a website you have the chance to reach out to fans and promote yourself as you see fit. By posting regularly to your DJ website with photos, samples of recent mixes and little blurbs about the life of a DJ, you’ll ensure repeat traffic to your website. Photos, videos and music get forwarded on and re-posted, which is a great way to expand your fan base and help you reach out to those who can help you: DJs, promoters and club owners.
Okay so don’t party hard, but party often. This is one of the biggest mistakes beginner DJs make; they work so hard on the music and perfecting their skills but they only set foot in a club when they have a gig. The only way to make the right connections and show you are a legitimate part of the DJ world is to show your face.
Beyond that, going to parties and clubs lets you assess what other DJs are doing, how clubbers respond to different types of music and performances, and lets you figure out how your sound fits with what’s popular. Even if you don’t want to spend a butt load of money on entry fees, consider these nights as a learning experience. You’ll come away knowing what types of tracks are overplayed so you can avoid them during your own gigs.
Do It Yourself
You want to show the DJ world that you’re more than just a talented musician and one of the best ways a beginner DJ can do that is to throw his or her own parties. It’ll cost a pretty penny, but get a space and promote the night and you can make a ton of connections to help you when you need it.
You can bring in other DJs who hopefully will return the favor by referring you for gigs in the future, and you’ll show yourself as a DJ who can pack the house. And let’s be honest; this is exactly what promoters and venue owners look for in a bankable DJ.
Be The “Sound Guy”
Ok so you want to be known mostly as a DJ, but a DJ with a bangin’ sound system will be on the speed dial of every promoter around. A good sound guy is hard to find and if you come as a package, you can guarantee more gigs. Most promoters are more than willing to kick a little more cash your way to bring and set up the sound for multi-DJ projects.
So not only do you pad your income, but you also get a performance slot and you can mix and mingle with other DJs, promoters and venue owners until the show is over. For a beginner DJ…this is a win-win situation.
Remember The Music
First and foremost you are a DJ, which means you need to always focus on keeping your library current. Of course tons of crap comes out on a daily basis and you should feel no obligation to scoop up every single one of them. But you should make an effort to add at least two new songs to your library every month.
Use different sources to purchase your music and don’t be afraid to explore different genres. It will make you appreciate the art of DJing and it will make you a better DJ.
Team Up With The Best
No one achieves success in a bubble, on their own. That’s just a simple truth. So what do you do about it? Team up with the best DJs, the best promoters and the biggest club owners in the city. They will make you a better professional DJ while also teaching you the ropes.
The transition from beginner DJ to seasoned pro starts with having a good team of friends and professionals around you. Playing with other DJs is essential because it will sharpen your skills and that is always a good thing for any DJ.
No, I don’t mean be one of the “cool kids” but I mean just be a cool and kind and nice DJ. Be someone that people not only don’t mind talking to, but actually want to talk to and you’ll never want for gigs again. If you’re a wallflower, learn how to blossom into a social butterfly when you’re in the thick of a party atmosphere. No one wants to hire a jerk and as a beginner DJ you can’t afford to alienate major players.
Be friendly, don’t be fake and let your enthusiasm shine through and you’ll have no problem finding success as a DJ.
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