As you evaluate DJs for your wedding, party, or other event, you’re asking all the right questions, finding out about their equipment, music selection, experience, pricing, insurance, contracts, and more. But did you ask how they learned their craft? And does it matter?
To answer the last question: Yes, it matters, because how your DJ was trained will tell you a lot about how they are likely to perform at your event.
Here are the most common ways DJs get trained:
1. They attend a few events, watch some movies, and think the job looks cool. So they go out and buy a bunch of gear on their credit cards, often spending too much and not getting equipment appropriate for events, get some music that is possibly downloaded illegally or of questionable quality, and they consider themselves “in business.”
2. They get a job with a larger DJ company that sends them out a couple of times for some on-the-job training with a “senior” DJ or the owner, then assigns them some equipment and turns them loose. This DJ is not as risky as the first, but much depends on who trained the trainer and how well that trainer is able to share his or her knowledge.
3. They invest in professional training from a reputable DJ school where they learn the different aspects of what it takes to manage an event, emcee skills, event-specific protocols (like how to present the bride and groom at a wedding reception), music knowledge, karaoke, equipment, and more. Once trained, they invest in continuing education by attending conventions and advanced seminars, as well as belonging to industry trade groups for DJs and event-based associations.
Think about it: What type of training would you prefer your DJ to have? What type of training will give you the confidence that the DJ is a true professional and is going to be able to handle your special event to your expectations? And what commitment has the DJ made to stay up-to-date on industry trends, technology, and other important issues?
Before you make your final decision on hiring a DJ, ask these two questions:
• How were you trained?
• How often do you participate in continuing education programs?
I welcome questions like this, and so do other professionals.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am the senior instructor at the F.A.M.E. (Florida Academy of Mobile Entertainment) DJ School, and we provide excellent training. We are not, by any means, the only DJ school, but if you are interested in learning more about becoming a professional DJ, I’d be happy to talk with you about what F.A.M.E. has to offer.