The Five-Step Journey to Becoming a DJ
Every DJ’s journey is a unique experience and will have its own tales of ups and downs; some find fame and fortune fairly fast, while others have to graft for several years to make things happen.
What are similar in all instances are the main points of transition that lay on the journey towards becoming a DJ; specifically, a professional DJ making money from their craft as their main profession.
Each of these five steps towards becoming a professional DJ warrants equal time, attention and focus. Some will find certain steps easier to handle than others, but all five will play equally important roles for DJs looking to go pro.
Here is a brief overview of each of the five steps:
It all starts with gear, as you cannot mix music or perform without a decent set-up. Getting to grips with the right DJ equipment for your needs first means working out exactly what you need, along with how the various bits and pieces of hardware work. This includes mixers, controllers, amplifiers, speakers, turntables, headphones, laptops, audio and the software that powers the whole thing. It takes time to get to grips with everything you will need in your setup, but doing so will help you ensure you get the right gear for the job. If you are in a position where needed, a DJ finance package could be available to relieve the immediate financial burden.
The best approach to assembling a music library as an up-and-coming DJ is to start from scratch. Logic may tell you that working with the library of music you already have available works. However, this approach could see you making every possible effort to make your music work, rather than selecting music that works for you. Starting again is usually the way to go, as it enables you to gradually build a library where every track is hand-selected and serves an equally important purpose.
This is the step most enthusiastic new-comers jump straight into. It is also the step that takes the longest, given how it is actually an ongoing process. Mastering the basics is essential before attempting anything more flamboyant and showy. Never underestimate the importance of taking the time to master old-school techniques like counting, timing, beat mixing and so on. Take a course if the option is available, check out as many online tutorials as you can find and practice relentlessly.
4. Playing Live
There is nothing more thrilling or terrifying than those first few live shows. After which, you are closer to making it as a professional DJ than ever before. Scoring those all-important first gigs should be more about branding than turning a profit. Do not make the mistake of being too proud to perform for free, for as long as it takes. You need to get your name out and about in the open, show people what you are capable of and demonstrate why you are worth paying for at future shows.
5. Nonstop Promotion
The final step in the process is also ongoing, aggressive and continuous promotion. Promoting yourself and singing your own praises can feel a little weird at first. Unless you plan on outsourcing your marketing requirements, it is something you have to do. Don’t make the mistake of assuming people will find you by accident, or that the quality of what you do will speak for itself. Until you are more or less a household name, you need to promote yourself vigorously via every online and offline channel you have at your disposal.
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