What is DJ Short for?
A DJ generally knows music on all levels. They appreciate the different genres of music; Country, Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz to name a few. After accepting this blog, I contacted a friend who has been a DJ for almost 30 years and picked his brain for information on the DJ.
So what is DJ short for? DJ is short for Disc Jockey; as in Disc: referring to a record or flat round object or surface. Jockey: referring to a person in control, basically, as in controlling a horse while racing or riding. Disc Jockey in laymen’s terms is a person who spins records, plays (popular) music which the crowds want to hear. They play for the crowd. Music, society, and/or the occasion dictates which music is played. Due to technology, music can now be downloaded to a computer and played with a tap of the finger. In essence; The (DJ) Disc Jockey is in control of how the records, music or downloads are played.
Unlike live bands simply playing one particular type of music, the DJ can play a variety of music. Businesses now hire DJs as Karaoke entertainers, as well. With Karaoke, audiences can sing along with the music of their choice with the assistance of the DJ who can download the lyrics to songs on a TV or computer screen.
What Is The Job Description Of A DJ?
The job description of a DJ can vary. They may be needed to play music at lounges, or night clubs, to play music during the intermission of a live band. Or they can play at wedding receptions. They are to dress and act accordingly. Pleasing the crowd is your main goal.
The DJ must be sociable and able to entertain and keep the crowd interested in the night’s entertainment. DJs may also be the sole entertainment. They must be attentive of the crowd. The main objective of a DJ is to remember they are playing to the crowd and not the music they like or want to hear. DJs have the ability to “sense” the energy of the crowd.
Sometimes; DJs, such as my friend, Charlie, may have short term gigs entertaining as a Radio DJ for a nighttime radio show. Charlie plays at festivals and other outdoor venues. It’s not a requirement, however, there are times a DJ can sing himself to start the crowds off and to help the crowd feel at ease.
Personalities of A DJ
As in any job position, mistakes can and are made. A sense of humor is definitely a required personality trait. If a mistake is made, when a mistake is made, and it will, it’s okay to laugh at yourself. Make a joke and continue on. Other personality traits required are a high energy level, as well as, an ability to excite the crowd. It’s not necessary, however, a love of music is a plus!
Charlie is sensitive to his crowds. And has a low, calming demeanor, yet can be lively at the same time. His knack for getting a crowd excited is impressive. His love of music is a plus for his chosen career.
DJs will talk to a person, get to know this person, ask questions of this person to get a feel of that person. It will be to determine their personalities. Are they shy? Will they need more encouragement to request or sing a song? Are they confident, and need little prompting?
I personally, have performed as a last-minute fill DJ. Another friend DJ had another gig somewhere else that would run into his original one. It was for a couple of hours.
Being extremely nervous and scared to death, fearing the crowd would not be as entertained with me, as their original DJ. Fearing enough attention wasn’t paid to everything my friend had taught me.
The butterflies were real! My friend walked in a few hours later, and the entire crowd was dancing and appeared to be having a great time!
Explaining my fear to Charlie later, how frightening the experience was. He explained I had done a great job, because, had I not had those butterflies, which he has at every single event, the crowd would not have all been on the dance floor!
Needless to say, I never wanted to do it again! The thought of failure crushed me. It was a spur of the moment favor for a dear friend.
DJs can be shy. A lot of them are able to overcome this once the music begins, and they are behind that mic.
The Life of a DJ
The life of a DJ can be exciting and fast-paced. There are advantages to meeting many people. A circle of friends.
A DJs life can also be draining and sometimes tiring. Most gigs are done at night, but, on weekends there may be times when you have a nighttime gig and a daytime gig in a twenty-hour time frame. This leaves little time with the family or for socializing outside of work.
Some DJs manage nighttime jobs and care for the children during the day. To DJ is not always a foolproof way of managing finances. If it is a partnership, the spouse or significant other is required many times to have a separate day time job. It is not uncommon for the DJ to have a second job as well.
This could place a strain on any relationship. “Passing in the hallway”, so-to-speak. Few days off together or too exhausted to hang out when they are not spinning records.
DJs are constantly practicing their line-ups for shows during the day, when not performing. Constantly staying up-to-date with different genres of music, recording, remixing and planning for a night’s event.
Can A DJ Perform At More Than One Place, Or Do They Have A Certain Niche?
There are certainly DJs who perform at certain nightclubs and/or venues on a regular basis. They will play; for example, every Friday night, maybe every Saturday night. They are “House Specials”. The crowds love them and will return weekend after weekend to hear this DJ every weekend. Sometimes the crowds are called, groupies. These are people who are comfortable with the DJ, show, entertainment and on a regular basis know the DJ and are happy with his performance.
Charlie has made a career out of his DJ jobs. He plays two venues, a constant at one on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Including special events during the summer hours for the same place. He also plays another venue on Tuesday nights and occasionally plays for wedding receptions, birthday celebrations or other life events. His career, his life-love is to DJ.
Do DJ’s Have Regular Jobs?
It is not uncommon for DJs to have regular jobs. Some play strictly on Friday or Saturday nights. The beginning pay varies. DJs, depending on the venue, will have a set price. Some may start at a price per hour of $50.00 to $100.00.
Again, this will depend on the type of venue the DJ is playing for. The location, the crowd, the event. Most wedding receptions my charge $500.00 for four to six hours of play. (Again, the prices are set also by the areas of play.) These are usually done with a contract and at an agreed-upon price.
If you’re playing between intermissions of bands, it can range from $150.00 to $200.00 for four to five hours as a DJ and is not the main attraction. The DJ may need to entertain for a period of 15 minutes at a time to give bands a break throughout the night.
It is not unusual for DJs to have separate weekday jobs. Sometimes, necessary. Unless working for a radio station, DJs often have this weekend curriculum because they love the crowds, the music, the excitement, and the entertainment. This is a desire to please and to make others happy. If only, for a few hours.