Do you have a passion for music and people? Ever thought about DJing as a profession? Let’s do a quick sound check and see if this is the right beat for you.
A DJ is the cool dude with the trendy name, fresh mixes and ability to create the vibe on a Friday night. That was about all I knew… until I got chatting to Dylan Wheller, one of EduOne’s developers and part-time DJ.
DJ vs Jukebox
So, what does DJing really mean? First things first, a DJ does more than a jukebox ever could do. The common jukebox stores musical recordings and plays them automatically when you choose a track. DJs actually need to select songs that have similar beats and create a smooth transition between these jams. This takes some skill and, often, preparation.
Dylan explains that his approach to DJing involves thought,
“The thing with music is you get music that is the same beat but if two songs don’t sound very good together, trying to play them together is going to sound horrible. So, what you want do is you want prepare a journey. So, my one and half or two hours of mixing should be a journey through music.”
The truth of the matter is DJs don’t just pump out music and look cool, they are more like artists with a vision.
If you’re still not sure what this DJing thing involves, here’s a cool basics breakdown:
Match the Beat
If you describe yourself as ‘calm and cool’, you can still be a successful DJ. Believe it or not, your personality doesn’t need to be loud to qualify you as a DJ. The only two traits that count are your passion for music and people.
Dylan describes a DJ as someone who:
- Can work with people
- Enjoys performing music
- Loves music, particularly dance music
- Enjoys entertaining people
If this sounds like your personality in a nutshell, you and DJing are made for each other.
Next step to becoming a DJ: get some equipment.
As the old saying goes: practice makes perfect. To be fully equipped as a DJ means being able to test out your mixing skills. In the good ol’ days, this involved working with turntables and vinyl. These days, you’ll find that DJ controllers are the name of the game. Before you mourn the loss of vinyl, it is making a comeback. So, the range of equipment is broad.
Dylan says that getting your hands on some DJing gear is simple,
“There are so many shops online where you can buy DJ equipment. Many manufacturers sell it directly and you can walk into a shop like Sound Select and buy any DJ equipment you want.”
In case you’re wondering, club DJing is, indeed, all about the night life. So, sleeping during the day and working long hours at night is a reality.
Dylan describes the demands of DJing,
“The hours are quite difficult. Sometimes, you’ll play a three o’clock in the morning set, a four o’clock in the morning set. You are at a club from ten o’clock in the evening until five o’clock the next morning.”
Dylan says that this lifestyle can also be financially tough as well. The number of gigs you get will depend on how well you can promote yourself. Getting your name out there is a big deal – this is the key to scoring gigs. Basic ways of doing this include sending out demos and making use of Facebook and SoundCloud. It also costs to keep up with the latest music. You will need to buy the music-of-the-moment constantly.
DJing is not all about sleepless nights and slaving away while others have fun. It is a vibe and you can enjoy the flow of your own music mix. How cool is that? You have the reward of keeping a crowd dancing and entertained. Dylan says that the feeling is euphoric and it makes the long hours worthwhile.
“The best part about DJing is definitely the feeling of playing music and doing what you love.”
So, how much does a DJ actually make? DJing can be a full-time job and you have the potential of earning a decent salary. If you are starting out, the typical going rate is between R1000 and R3000 per set. Depending on where you are playing, a set can be one to two hours of mixing. That standard rate will increase as you build a reputation. We’re talking ten to twenty thousand rand per gig. So, you can make big bucks in this business if you get your name out there.
Stream Some Skills Online
At this point, you might be wondering if you’ve got what it takes to be a DJ. Some people have a natural knack for mixing tracks.
“You get guys who are naturally talented. So, people who can understand music, can figure beats out and who can understand rhythm. They can go put music together and make it sound really good. Then you get other people who need a little bit of help. That’s why you get courses out there that show people how to listen for beats, how to put them together, what sound sounds better, how to manipulate music to make it sound really good together.”
If you find you have the passion but need some guidance on the technique, completing a short course is a good move. An online course is a quick, easy way of bagging some basic skills and learning how to manage your DJing career by marketing yourself.
City Varsity Online
City Varsity Online is a school of media and creative arts with a reputation for providing quality education. They offer a short DJing course which aims to help students understand how to market themselves as DJs and get to grips with some DJing basics.
The Introduction to DJing online short course is eight weeks long with one module released per week. All technical topics are covered with pointers on the professionalism behind the performance. These are skills that will give you an edge in the industry. So, take this step towards a DJing career and contact City Varsity Online to secure your spot in the course.
DJing is a fun, vibrant career choice which is all about that beat. If you have a passion for music and entertainment, this could be your calling. There is always a need for a DJ in the house, whether it is at a club on a Saturday night or an event. So, you have little to lose – DJing is a cool life choice that’ll bring your passion for music to life.
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