I have been approached by many people over the years who either want to be a DJ, or know some one who does. These days a lot of people think it’s something anyone can jump into. I’ve been asked many questions about how to get in to this game from people who think it’s just too easy.
Usually when I answer their questions, most turn and run. These are the biggest questions that usually have folks sticking to their day job or other instruments.
Can you teach me how to DJ? I really wish I could teach everyone. But with any instrument, you have to have your own gear to practice daily. Learning to beat match and scratch take years to develop the skill. Can you master a trumpet, piano or guitar with out having one to spend hours practicing with at home? I’m certainly not letting strangers come in to my home two to three times a week at two to three hours a day. The only real student I’ve ever had was and still is my son Ian whose pictured above with me. He’s been my student since he was born. If you get some gear first, then maybe I can help you get started.
This leads to the next question that gets asked and ends with that.
How much does all your equipment cost? This is the one that turns a potential DJ’s cheek the other way faster than a DJ Qbert “Chirp Scratch” (DJ nerd talk). That’s like asking a professional drummer how much their drum set cost? Everything is peiced together and bought separately just the same. True, there are DJ controllers that are popular for aspiring DJ’s at different price ranges. But you still need to buy the laptop, and that laptop may need to be at certain specs to run the equipment properly. That can be pricey.
Plus the type of DJ you are can put an even bigger hole in your wallet. For instance a Hip Hop turntablist’s set up may run $1,500 to $3,000 dollars. Again, that’s not including the wear and tear of needles which can rage from $50 to $200 each and control records which are $30 to $40s a pair. Then there are the protective cases that run about $300 – $500 all together. Lastly the laptop which can run any where from $500 to $1,500. Most pro DJs use Macbook Pros for proficiency and the most realistic feel to true vinyl records. So of course being a Hip Hop turntablist, you can imagine the look I get when I let folks know what my set cost.
Now the biggest turn down question of them all…
How long does it take to get that good? Once I tell them about how long I have put in to practicing, that’s when they GASP! But remember, each person is different. Everyone learns to master a skill at their own pace. I know DJs that learned the most technical scratches in a matter of months. Some Learn to mix and scratch in a couple of years. Then again I know many that have been in this game for decades, who still can’t do a “Flare Scratch” properly.
Always remember, the kind of equipment does not make you a great DJ. It comes back down to time and passion. Peace!
This is the latest weapon I’ve added to my arsenal. The Pioneer DJM-S9 mixer!