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Disc Jockey Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Disc Jockey. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Disc Jockey
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Disc Jockey Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Disc jockeys (DJs) provide musical entertainment for a wide variety of audiences. The main forms of work include, radio work, mobile disco work, and pub and club DJing. The main task is to replay music to the audience using techniques such as mixing, pitch control, scratching and cross-fading to make the performance more entertaining.

Depending on the environment, DJs will be mixing tunes together, providing links between tunes which may take the form of adverts, jingles or interviews, or working at parties and special events acting as master of ceremonies (MC).

Radio DJs work at broadcast stations, providing links between records which may involve audience participation such as phone-ins, or interviewing guests. Some DJs are skilled in playing an instrument. Radio DJs often specialise in a particular type of music such as dance, jazz, world, or from a particular era such as the 60s. For more detailed information on radio work see: Presenter/Announcer (TV/radio).

Mobile DJs usually cover a range of musical genres to cater for audiences which may be made up from different backgrounds or age groups, such as at weddings, other social events or birthday parties.

Club DJs mix music of a similar style to keep the audiences moving. They may play the latest releases (or pre-releases) or they may have a playlist which reflects the theme of the club night, eg Deep House, Garage or Indie; often it will be a combination of the two.

Traditionally, vinyl has been the mainstay of the DJ''s record box, however, other musical formats are becoming very popular eg CD, minidisc, MP3 and MIDI files. As a result, the technical knowledge of DJs has grown to take account of developments in hardware and software. Depending on the type of venue, DJs may also employ complex lighting shows, multimedia and high-powered sound systems.

Hours and Environment:

DJs work long and irregular hours, and are normally required to work at night and at weekends.

The working environment varies. Mobile DJs might work in village halls, pubs, public buildings, or outdoors. Radio DJs may work in air-conditioned studios under hot lights, but sometimes they work at outdoor events and concerts. The environment in which club DJs work is often very hot and noisy.

DJs who work at consoles and mixing desks tend to stand or sit in one place for a long time. Mobile DJ work entails travelling between venues so a driving licence and appropriately insured transport is required.

Noise is a hazard for all DJs and hearing can be damaged if the appropriate precautions are not taken. An annual hearing test is recommended.

Skills and Interests:

As a DJ you should:

  • have good ear-to-hand co-ordination
  • be able to communicate with a variety of audiences
  • be able to assess sound accurately and react quickly
  • be interested in music and possibly have musical ability
  • have drive and self-discipline
  • have an interest in technology and electronics
  • have the ability to work calmly under pressure
  • have a confident and out-going personality.


Entry:

Entry into the profession does not usually require formal educational qualifications. However, you need to have extensive knowledge of music, often owning a large record collection.

New entrants to the profession are advised to gain experience through school, college, or university performances, or by volunteering in hospital or community radio.

Training:

A range of full- and part-time courses are available at all levels. However, some GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), including English, or GNVQs/GSVQs in media or performing arts, may be helpful at entry level (check with the provider). Such courses include:

NVQs/SVQs in Broadcast, Film and Video Production, and Sound at Levels 3 and 4
City and Guilds (7755) qualification for DJs
BTEC DJ Technology National Award
vocational short courses in DJ skills and mixing
HNDs in Electronic Music Systems
BA (Hons) in Digital Music.
In some areas, training schemes are provided by the government and community organisations which offer training for young people in radio and DJ skills.
In addition, you may be required to hold public liability insurance and a health and safety certificate. Check with the venue to see whether this is necessary.

Opportunities:

Most club, radio and mobile DJs are offered freelance contracts, and are self-employed. Occasionally, DJs are employed by clubs and the hospitality industry. Experience as a DJ can sometimes lead to other work in a music production, record or publishing company, recording studio, or in music retailing. Successful DJs can find work opening events or giving personal appearances.

There may be some opportunities in specialist interests, such as clubs specialising in retro music or children''s discos.

Local community or hospital radio stations may provide volunteering opportunities. Some offer the chance to young DJs to undertake live performances after a period of volunteering. Candidates usually need to compile a CD of their own recent work.

There are increasingly good opportunities for experienced DJs to work abroad.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Average earnings for DJs are between £50 and £300 a session.
Very experienced club and radio DJs may earn £1,000 or more per session.
Top club DJs can earn over £100,000 a year.

Most DJs are freelance and annual income varies depending on reputation and experience. Often, DJs will work several sessions at different venues in one night or weekend. In the early stages, some DJs work unpaid to gain experience. DJs are able to negotiate longer and more lucrative contracts as their reputation develops.

Further information:

Skillset
Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1HB
Tel: 020 7520 5757
www.skillset.org

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland
www.skillset.org/careers

SAE Institute(London)
United House
North Road
Islington
London
N7 9DP
Tel: 020 7609 2653
www.sae.edu

Other Useful Disc Jockey Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Disc Jockey job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Disc Jockey Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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