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Career as a Disc Jockey (DJ)

DJ Pearl - deejay career, female DJ in India

If you are passionate about music and love entertaining the crowd by playing and mixing music tracks, deejaying could be a career option worth pursuing. Once considered as just a fad in India, it slowly staked its claim as a viable career with multiple options and good money to make.

For the uninitiated, a disc jockey (DJ) is one who has a great taste and knowledge of music and makes a career out of these interests. In the early days, the gramophone records were called discs and hence the term "disc jockey".

In other words a DJ plays music and also earns money for it. Cool, ain't it?

What does a DJ do?

The job description of a disc jockey sounds like a lot of fun! DJs create music for an event or a radio audience by combining various genres and tracks through a variety of equipment like turntables, mixers, graphic equalisers, tape decks and several other sophisticated sound processers. They may work alone or with other music professionals, Master of Ceremonies, and even other DJs, depending on the event.

They also need to please the crowd with their music. This is often a hard task since this requires a good knowledge of music, popular global trends, and an understanding of what the crowd wants.

There are mainly two types of DJs - those who work for the radio/ FM channels (radio DJs- popularly known as RJs) and those who work at clubs & perform for a live audience at events (club DJs.)

Club DJs have a more challenging task. The performance depends mostly on the personality and music choices of the DJ behind the console and how he connects with those on the dance floor. Most event DJs are expected to provide the equipment and music lists.

How to become a DJ

The eligibility criteria is quite straightforward - You need to know music, have a passion for it, and understand the technical aspects & intricacies of rhythms. While a graduate's degree may be a minimum requirement at some places, mostly its your experience of music that counts. Since a deejay is more a music artist, it's his personal traits that matter more than anything else. These are the DJs who have chosen this profession based on their in-born talent and flair for music. Most of them are from a background where they have acquired a liking for this profession during their earlier days at school or college. Then there are some who have learnt the ropes practically by working as interns in FM Radio channels.

A degree in Communications or Journalism is an added advantage.

Skills & Attributes

You should have an ear for music, be well versed with cueing, equalization and audio-mixing, beat-matching, scratching and beat juggling.

A wannabe DJ must also have an outgoing personality, ability to mix with people and know their mood. He must be well versed with the music in vogue i.e. the hit songs, how to make them trendy by mixing them up etc.

Institutes offering DJ courses

For becoming a Disc Jockey, currently there are no colleges or universities that offer full-time programmes or courses with a defined syllabus or course curriculum in DJ training or development. However, there are many private institutes and training centers that have sprung up across India mainly in Mumbai, Delhi (NCR), Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata that offer short duration courses in DJ development and other related skills such as:

  • Pro DJ
  • DJ Training and Development course
  • Digital Live DJ'ing course
  • Audio Engineering course

 Most of these institutes have been set up by DJs themselves:

  • I Love Music Academy, Gurgaon - courses such as "Pro DJ" (3 months, part time), "DJ Producer" (9 months, part time)
    website: ilovemusic.edu.in
  • Electronyk Academy, Delhi - an institute by DJ NYK (Nikhil Sahni)
    website: www.electronykacademy.com

  • Jazzy Joe, Delhi - one of the oldest DJ schools in Delhi, set up in 1997
    website: www.jazzyworkshop.com
  • Skratchlab DJ Academy, Chennai - developed by DJ Kave, twice D.M.C World DJ championship Indian representative, Official DJ for A R Rahman, Blaaze & Hardkaur
    website: www.skratchlab.com

  • Global DJ Music Production & DJ Training Academy, Mumbai
    website: www.globaldj.co.in

Course Fees

The fees charged by institutes vary widely. Also, in certain cases training is provided by DJ's on a one-to-one basis and in these cases it is totally subjective and fee structure might be customized based upon the training needs of the applicant. There are extra charges for additional practice time in the DJ studio.

I Love Music Academy
Pro DJ course (3 month, part time): Rs. 41,000
DJ Producer course ( 9 months, part time): Rs. 1,16,000

Electronyk Academy
Pioneer CDJ course (16 sessions): Rs. 50,000
Digital DJing course (8 sessions): Rs. 25,000
Ableton DJ course (8 sessions): Rs. 25,000

Jazzy Joe Workshop
Full time professional  DJ Course (100 hours): Rs. 30,000
Basic mobile DJ course (60 hours): Rs. 24,000

DJ Aqeel - career as Disc JockeyDisc Jockey Salaries

Most DJs earn self-employed artists or work on freelance contracts. Depending on your credentials and experience, a stint at an event can earn a DJ anything between Rs 30,000 - Rs 70,000 per night. There also several DJs who are employed full-time in the broadcast and hospitality industry. Salaries here vary between Rs 3 lakh - Rs 8 lakh per annum, depending on experience and popularity.

And if you happen to enter the big league like those DJ Suketu, DJ Aqueel (in pic above), DJ Akbar Sami, the world is your stage.

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