How To Be A Better DJ

Are You Doing Everything You Can To Be A Successful DJ?


If you’re already satisfied with your skill, your contacts and your gig lineup then you aren’t trying hard enough. DJ’s are like any other artist in that they always want to be better than they are, they’re always looking for new ways to present their art to the world and they are always on the lookout for that one contact that can take them to the next level. It is in our nature and unlikely to change as long as there is music to spin, mix and produce.

New DJs often have no idea what the next step is once they’ve gotten a few gigs under the belt. They simply think “well this is it. I just have to wait for my big break”. I just have to say if it were that easy none of us would be working as hard as we do to stay relevant and stay popular.

There are always things you could be doing to improve your DJ skills.

Rest Your Ears

I know this sounds like something your mom would say—and she probably has—but this will not only help preserve your DJ career but it will make you a better one as well. Your ears are pretty much your main feature as a DJ and protecting them should always be at the forefront of your mind.

When you’re mixing be sure to take a few minutes away and let your ears rest. They are like any other body part in that if you overuse them they will not perform the best they can. If you’ve been listening to music all day, give yourself 15 minutes or more of silence so that when you start mixing your ears let you hear what’s being played rather than anything else.

Try New Gadgets

One of the things I’ve found the most difficult to balance is my love of all new tech gadgets and what I actually need as a professional DJ. Most DJs either automatically write off every new gadget as crap or they “just have to have” every new gizmo that hits the market.

The truth is that as a DJ you should probably fall somewhere in between. You don’t want to spend all of your money on what will probably become useless DJ equipment, but you don’t still want to be lugging around vinyl when there is an easier way. You might not need the new Apple Watch but how will you know if you don’t at least drop in and see what it’s about?


Always Be Networking

As a DJ you should never go several days without meeting or attempting to meet a few people in your world. This doesn’t mean you should go out and pester a promoter every day (but hey, why not?) but it does mean you should find ways to connect with people you might be able to help and who can help you.

Attend a club a few nights a week and listen to other DJs spin and introduce yourself to them. When you’re at a music event don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to promoters, publicists, managers, venue owners, light and sound professionals and anyone else you’re likely to encounter again and again.

Save Your Money

It is so tempting to start spending like there’s no tomorrow after your first big payday but that would not be the smartest decision you’ve ever made. Part of your DJ budget should include attending a few industry events, no matter where you live. I don’t mean you need to save up to attend a DJ festival in Australia if you live in Texas, but it does mean you should make an effort to attend a few events each year.

Go to a couple of festivals and see the big names and take note of what they’re doing that you aren’t. Attend a few equipment expos so you have an idea what to replace your old equipment with and make sure you show up for those DJ free for all’s that seem to combine everything DJ related into one bit concert-everything else. You’ll meet tons of DJs, fans, producers, promoters and marketers who can help you go from hometown hero to big name musician.

You will need money for travel, lodging food, new business cards plus all of your regular DJ expenses.

Be Bold

Don’t forget that while there is a right and wrong way to use your DJ equipment, there is no right or wrong way to be a DJ. So don’t be afraid to try something new with your music. It might work or it might not, but there’s no way to know if you never try anything new.

Your job is to present music in new ways and the only way to stand out is to try bold new things that your contemporaries aren’t. Use your friends or a DJ you trust for feedback before presenting it to the world for consumption.

Keep trying to improve your craft, your persona and your DJ career as a whole. It is a constant effort and only those with the stomach for it will survive.

I hope I helped you figure out how to be a better pro DJ. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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