Are DJ Lessons Worth Paying For?
Are you looking to kick-start a career as a DJ or club DJ?
There’s a lot to consider when you’re getting started, from equipment set up to scoring paying gigs, but one of the initial questions that many up and coming artists have is “are DJ lessons worth paying for?”
Learning to DJ
One of the exciting aspects of learning to DJ is that everyone can do it. It’s never too late to start engaging in your passion or utilising your talent, and there are many DJ courses, both online and in-person, available. One important thing to note when considering taking DJ lessons is that it shouldn’t be expensive or difficult to do.
We’ll cover how to evaluate different offers and subscriptions a little later on, but suffice it here to say that there isn’t a single path to becoming a successful DJ. There are many online threads from experienced and novice DJs attesting to DJ courses being both a waste of time and essential. At the end of the day, it is largely dependent on you and your learning style and priorities.
Why Do People Want To Get DJ Training?
There are a lot of really valuable DJ courses, videos, and tutorials out there. Getting some training and ‘mentorship’ from other DJs is an excellent way to develop some basic skills. Of course, you’ll learn the most through practice and hard work, but there are still plenty of things that are worth spending time training in.
What To Buy
There’s a lot of equipment involved in being a club DJ. It can be quite overwhelming to go through the many brands and types of DJ controllers, turntables, stereo systems, software, laptops, microphones, and more. Many beginner DJ lessons start by introducing you to the gear you need and making recommendations based on what you’re likely to need.
How To Set Up
Once you have invested in some quality equipment, you need to set it up correctly. You might want to custom-create your DJ table-top or simply need some pointers to get the calibration correct. Either way, DJ courses can help you get going fast.
How To Use
There are a lot of technical skills involved in DJing as well as artistic creativity. You’ll develop your ability to DJ through practice, practice, practice, but DJ lessons can help you learn the basics of simple techniques such as:
- Delay effects
- Scratching basics
- Set structure
- Beat mixing
This part of DJ training might not be for everyone, but for many aspiring artists, a basic (or even advanced) course in musical theory can be invaluable for a blossoming musical career. There are a wide variety of sub-topics under the branch of music that DJs should be across. This can include any of the following:
- Understanding beats per minute
- Comprehending bars and sections
- Understanding set structure
- Developing digital mixing skills
Introduction to the Industry
As far as an introduction to the musical, radio/broadcasting, and DJing industry is concerned, many DJs wouldn’t spend money on a specific course. While it’s up to you whether you want to pay for a course that includes these topics, there’s a lot of information out there to help you develop an understanding of the general industry and help you navigate your way through it.
Marketing and Promotion
Similar to gaining an understanding of the actual industry, marketing and promoting yourself may not be a ‘hard skill’ of DJing but it’s certainly very important. There are a lot of parts to this side of the business including:
- Working with DJ agencies
- Scoring gig bookings
- Social media and other online promotion
- Event promotion and venue partnerships
- Vetting proposals and sponsorships
Many DJs might find they have a natural knack for the music themselves, whilst they are lacking skills, experience, confidence, or all three when it comes to marketing. Nonetheless getting your name out there is essential for building a successful career.
Are DJ Lessons A Waste of Money?
Let’s not beat around the bush on this: There are PLENTY of courses and lessons that are advertised for new DJs that are a waste of time and money at best and an absolute scam at worst.
Like trainees in all industries, DJs should be careful when looking around for available courses and tutorials. Even some of the examples we bring in this article may not be suitable for everyone. There are a lot of factors to consider like where you live, your current level of skill and experience, and your training budget. The important rules to remember are:
- Do your homework – take responsibility to thoroughly check out anyone you’re considering paying before signing up.
- Read reviews – the best way to determine if a course is worth your money is by checking out the authentic reviews of the course online.
- Don’t overpay – courses that charge an arm and a leg and promise fast-tracked success are almost always going to leave you disappointed.
When you’re considering different courses, make sure that you’re going to be taught by a bonafide, experienced DJ, that you’re going to be spending time interacting with and learning how to use actual equipment, and that you’re not being drawn in by fake promises of special certificates or a live gig once you’ve finished the course in question.
Online vs In-Person
There are plenty of reasons to opt for either an online DJ course or in-person lessons. At the end of the day, if you’re signing up for reputable, fairly priced training the choice is up to you and your preferences.
Benefits of Online Courses
- Accessible from your home or place of work.
- You can often do it on your own time.
- Greater range of choice.
- There’s often an opportunity to connect with DJs from around the country or the world.
If you’re interested in learning more about what an online DJ course entails or how it’s structured, check them out online, such as this one hosted through Skill Share.
Benefits of In-Person Training
- More of a hands-on experience.
- Opportunities for both one-on-one or group sessions.
- Excellent networking opportunities for your local DJing scene.
To find out more about what face-to-face DJ courses look like and what they offer for you, check out a training institution such as Sydney DJ School.
Branded DJ Courses
There are even some branded DJ courses available online depending on the type of equipment you use, such as Serato, Pioneer XDJ, Denon, etc. You don’t need to choose a specifically branded course but it’s important that any lessons you take are aimed at helping you learn the ins and outs of your chosen brand and system.
Where To Find Online DJ Courses
We’ve put together a starting list of different sources of courses available online. To reiterate, not all courses are suitable for everyone and you should certainly conduct due diligence before signing up and committing any of your hard-earned money.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media, there are plenty of opportunities to learn basic and advanced DJ skills without having to pay a cent.
Often DJs on social media will share tips, techniques, and behind-the-scenes looks that can help you build up your skillset. The more you immerse yourself into the online industry, the more you’ll pick up.
YouTube in particular has no lack of tutorial channels with pretty comprehensive guides for just about everything you need. There are plenty of popular channels out there, such as Jon Sine or LaidbackLuke, who offer both in-depth and general DJ lessons for artists at all stages of their careers.
DJ Courses Online is another example of how many developing DJs access training. With a slightly different model, this subscription service gives you access to their range of courses, exercises, and lessons. Rather than paying for specific courses, like “how to DJ with Serato/Ableton software”, you can work through all of their courses whenever and however you’d like.
Skill Share and Udemy are both highly popular online platforms for educational videos and tutorials across every topic under the sun. Some pretty well-known DJs, such as Costas Papa and Young Guru, have various courses and tutorials available on these sites.
The benefit of these online training platforms is that they are generally more reputable than randomly stumbling upon online DJ classes, and the tutors can often be externally and independently verified. Plus, you can progress through the different classes at your own pace and in your own time.
International Online Courses
There are some international providers of DJ courses that you could consider as well. Some of these may be significantly more expensive than Australian-based trainers especially once you factor in the exchange rate, but it’s always worth checking their offerings out, in any case, to compare it with what you can access elsewhere or even find for free.
Should You Get DJ Lessons?
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. For many artists, DJ courses are well worth their cost to gain basic equipment, technique, and DJing skills. For others, the free content readily available elsewhere online is more than adequate.
One last thing to bear in mind is that no DJ lessons are going to turn you into a superstar overnight, and any promise otherwise should be red-flagged. Practice and hard work, as with all things, are the key. Good luck with your DJ journey!
If you’re not sure which method of learning best suits your needs, give the team at DJ City a call. We’re always happy to help you out with any of your questions.