Posts Tagged ‘ expert DJ ’

Patience as a DJ

There’s a few types of DJ patience in my opinion.

  • Patience with the art
  • Patience with yourself
  • Patience in a situation

Patience with the art of DJing:

I read a startling statistic on how long it takes for an artist to be recognized as an expert within their domain.   I won’t leave you in anticipation:

“There is extensive evidence that around 10 years of active involvement appear to be necessary before anyone, even the most talented, are able to reach an international level of achievement.” (Ericsson, 1999, 331).

That’s right kids – 10 years.  10 years of practicing and playing out and working on your art and striving to be the best you can be as a DJ is how long it takes to be recognized as an expert in your domain.   Now let’s talk about what happens in those 10 years if you think it takes a shorter amount of time.  First off, you need to develop your process, function at a highly creative state, and integrate a creative habit that is conducive to active involvement in your DJ’ing.  Secondly, you need to develop your point of view and your style and that takes time with your music, knowing it, studying it, opening yourself up to be influenced and consistently challenging yourself.  Thirdly, you need to know yourself as a person, work on your issues, develop your philosophies, experience life and people.  And finally, you need to share your craft with others, get feedback, get experience, collaborate, expose yourself as an artist. With all of that said, do you think that takes two or three years?

I’m also going to say something controversial.  I don’t want to hear about luck.  I hear a lot of DJs say, that DJ got lucky. Luck is an open door and either you’re ready artistically and skilled enough to make an entrance that sticks and elevates you, or you aren’t.  Blithely saying that  a superstar DJ is where they are because they got lucky is an insult to that DJ and also allows you to cop out from the hard work you have to do to get to where you want to be.   Even if you see a DJ that has a prime slot and you know they are not ready or doing a good job – remember people can always tell.  The cream rises to the top – I truly believe that, and it has nothing to do with pure luck.  There, I said it.

Patience with yourself:

There may come a time in your process and development where you are just so frustrated you want to toss your gear out the window.  Before you toss yourself out the window with it, let me remind you that being a great DJ means knowing you will go through this.  You will make mistakes, you will spend hours and hours listening to tracks and nothing sounds good to you.  Don’t force it.  Be patient with yourself.  This also means not rushing into something your gut is telling you isn’t right for you or you’re not ready for.   If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  Now, there’s a disclaimer with this.  It’s important to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone – this is important for your progress and sitting back saying “I’m just not ready” all the time may be a symptom of anxiety or another creative killer – perfectionism ( I talk about perfectionism in my paper here ).

Patience with a situation:

Let’s say your playing out and the dancefloor is just not responding – if it’s empty you should know how to handle that.  But let’s say you’ve been on for a while.   Instead of going straight to a more aggressive track or copping out and playing a favorite – patiently listen to what you are already doing and really think about a creative way to deal with the situation.  That takes patience.  Try a solution that is more subtle and progressive and see what happens.   Changing things drastically in your set will only temporarily fill the void.  You need to be absolutely sure you’re doing it for the dancefloor and not to manage your anxiety or ego because the dancefloor isn’t throwing their hands up in the air over you.  The dancefloor is an organism and you shouldn’t shock it or be fake with it, you need to nurture it and be patient with it.  You need to build a dancefloor in order to sustain a dancefloor.  It is also your job to sustain the night even if you’re not spinning the entirety of it.   If you can set up a rager for the next DJ trust that you will be acknowledged ( hopefully you are spinning with wonderful collaborators who will appreciate the send up ).  And even if no one acknowledges you did it – YOU know you did it.  It takes a patient attitude to not get praised for something you did.  Patience with a situation is key to learning and reinforcing your creative process.  By stepping back and evaluating the situation you increase the chances that you will take the proper course of action.  Be mindful of rushing to cop out like behavior – this is temporary and not helpful to your progress.

I’m sure there are more ways a DJ can be patient.  I would love to hear from you what you think makes for DJ patience.  The bottom line is that the more observant and patient you are of the art, yourself and the situations you are in, the better you will be to handle what comes your way.

Recap: It takes 10 years. Don’t throw your gear and yourself out the window.  It takes patience to build a dancefloor.

If you found this interesting and want to share your thoughts – drop me a line!

Source: Ericsson, K. “Creative Expertise as Superior Reproducible Performance:  Innovative and Flexible Aspects of Performance.” Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1999.