DJ Lessons For New DJs

How to make your new DJ status work for you!

DJ lessons for new DJs

Whether you are 18 or 48, your choices are pretty much the same as a brand new digital DJ. You will rarely get asked to be the headliner at the best gigs in the big clubs and festivals that blow through your town. You will, however have to work your butt off just to get the DJ gigs that do come your way. One of the hardest DJ lessons to learn for newbies is that the road to DJ success is a slow uphill battle.

You know that you have to work hard to navigate your DJ equipment in the darkness of a DJ booth, hustle like crazy to get gigs and be grateful for every gig that comes your way. But many newcomers—like interns and entry level workers around the world—new DJs expect overnight success, to be treated like the genius they are to get all the gigs.

While it is awesome that you have such high expectations, the way you temper those expectations will determine how long and strong your DJ career turns out to be.

DJ Lesson #1 – Research Your Gigs

You’re an EDM DJ and you that’s what you play. Period. That’s great. But it also means that you need to make sure you’ve done your research on venues before you even approach the promoter or owner for a gig. The truth however is that as a new DJ you might end up with gigs playing Top 40 hits, hip hop or any other type of music requested. This is where research comes in.

If you’re hired as the warm up DJ then you need to research both the venue and the headliner. You’ll want to spin the right tracks to get the crowd in the mood to party all night, even though it won’t be to your music. You also want to research the main attraction for the night so you know exactly how to get the crowd pumped up for the night. If your headliner is a rap DJ then playing Electro probably won’t get the crowd excited and eager to stay.

Do your homework before you go seeking gigs as well as after you’ve accepted a DJ gig.

DJ Lesson #2 – Listen To The Crowd

As a new DJ you might be convinced of your own creative prowess but the crowd doesn’t know anything about you. Your job during those first hundred or so gigs is to learn how to read the crowd and respond accordingly. The crowd will let you know–either by their behavior or their words—just how well you’re doing keeping them entertained.

This is one of the hardest DJ lessons to learn for new DJs who spend hours working on their set lists. You are set on the tracks in your set and therefore unwilling to change it up. Well unless you want to know the staggering humiliation of clearing a dance floor (it sucks, trust me) then you will learn very early in your DJ career how to read the crowd.

Don’t be afraid to start rifling through your DJ music library for alternate tracks that you think will please a finicky crowd.

New DJ lessons

DJ Lesson #3 – Weddings DO Count

In my early days of DJing I did more than a few weddings…once I got over myself. I was just like most DJs and thought that DJing weddings were lame and not a “real” DJ gig. And then I got my first wedding gig and I worked hard for way too many hours. But the gig paid well and it led to other gigs that weren’t held inside a reception hall.

But more than that I think DJing a wedding does a lot to help DJs get used to dealing with difficult and demanding audience members. People are inevitably drunk at wedding receptions and they shout requests at you…and yell at you if you don’t play them quickly enough. Then there’s the bride and groom who want a very specific set list that will test the patience of even the most Zen DJ.

Weddings are gigs that pay and they prepare you for a lifetime career as a professional DJ.

DJ Lessons #4 – Show Up & Be Present

As a new DJ you won’t always love the gigs you get beyond the fact that you’re doing what you love and getting paid for it. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give every single DJ gig your all. Some gigs will be in dive bars or clubs in neighborhoods that terrify you and others will make you feel like a human jukebox.

Get over it.

When someone has booked you for a gig it is your job to show up on time and set up your equipment and put on a good show. It won’t always be easy but it is what you’ve worked so hard for. Put on a good show and do it with a smile and your next DJ lesson will be how to manage a packed schedule!

I hope I was able to give you a few DJ lessons as you start your DJ career. 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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