Music Industry Career Profile: DJPosted on June 21st, 2012 by Lee Jarvis in Career Profile
Put the needle on the record.
A Disc Jockey (DJ) comes in many forms; from the Radio Presenter style, to a Mobile DJ you’ll often see at weddings and corporate events, to a Club DJ, who may perform in bars, clubs, festivals or stadiums… which is a different ball game entirely.
It is the job of a DJ to select and play records, to entertain a crowd. To do this, you must know your audience well – as a Radio Presenter, your listeners may want to be informed with news, weather or chat, and you may take requests or host phone ins. A Mobile or Club DJ must research, hunt down and purchase records, ready to play to a crowd at the right moment – again, it is your duty to know each crowd and adapt each show accordingly. A Mobile DJ will also set up and take down his own equipment, and perform routine maintenance or repairs when things start to play up, as technical equipment often does.
Musical knowledge is paramount as a DJ. You must have encyclopaedic knowledge of entire catalogues of music, often in many different genres. Simply knowing the name of songs is not enough – you must know the ins and outs of each record, how long the intros are, where the vocal comes in, where a good place to fade out is, and the overall mood and structure of each song in order to align it with a similar fitting record in your playlist / show.
Technical skills can play a great part. The way that records are mixed and blended together, with an array of effects and tricks, will create your own DJ style, which is especially important as a Club DJ. As a Radio Presenter or Mobile DJ, you will also need to sound confident and fluent on the microphone, and be able to operate mixing boards and other musical equipment.
Most DJs gain experience on the fly. You may have to start out playing gigs for free, or throwing your own parties in order to create your own booking (becoming a Promoter in the process). Mobile DJs often start by playing for friend’s weddings and birthdays, and will hope to gather contacts and further possible gigs at each party. A Radio Presenter can start out as a Radio Production Assistant, maybe at a college or local radio station.
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by Lee Jarvis.
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