What do they do?
Vinyl discs, headphones, turntables, psychedelic lights and churning bodies — if all that, and music, of course, fires your enthusiasm, you may want to tread the same route as Delhi-based Shivankit Sharma.
The 18-year-old school student, who made a rather “unusual” choice last summer, may soon realise a dream he nurtured as a child. “My father runs a sound equipment company and he wants me to take it forward,” says Sharma. “I thought becoming a DJ would help me learn the business. Also, I’ve always been crazy about music, so disc jockeying is a natural progression.”
Disc jockeying as a profession is witnessing the fastest growth in terms of youth participation. With an explosion of nightlife in urban India, the DJ can be the star of the evening in any Gen Y gathering.
While Sharma went to a DJ training institute in Delhi to become a pro, established DJs feel you can make people dance without paying for any lessons. “The demand for DJs has gone up incredibly in the past few years. Though the [training] schools have been there [for some time now], I believe if one has a passion for music, the best learning can happen on the job,” says DJ Pearl, a name to reckon with in the electronica music circuit. A rookie DJ learns the most while assisting a veteran, feels Pearl.
Established names in the circuit believe that glamour, too, lures youngsters to the console. But without innovation, one will not last long, they warn. “DJing isn’t just about playing music. It involves mixing, producing and arranging music. Youngsters should gather some information about this field before making an entry,” says Akbar Sami, one of the highest paid DJs in the country today. “What saddens me,” he adds, “is that many fall for the so-called glamour element of the profession. [But] it’s not ‘cool’ to be a DJ unless you know your job well.”
Aspirants can join any of the institutes in the Capital. Spin Gurus DJ & Remixing Academy, Grooves Entertainment and Dance Café are a few of the schools. Once you master the basics, you can assist musicians and forward your demo CDs to club owners, who could then help you train under Indian and international names who perform regularly in the city.
DJs can also be hired by corporate firms for their events, event organisers, nightclubs, resto bars and film music composers.
Pros & Cons about this career
- Glamour After considerable exposure, the financial perks tend to get very high Being associated with the most liberal and celebrated form of communication; music
- Unusual work timings The launch can be a lengthy process, hence patience is required Remuneration can be minuscule in the beginning
Skills and Education needed
- An ear for good music, passion for music
- Basics of sound/recording
- Creativity with sound and rhythm
- Nocturnal body clock
How do I get there?
What you study in high school does not matter as long as you have a keen interest in music. While you can enrol for a basic (beginner) DJ course right after Class X, pros suggest taking it head-on only after school.
Once through with the basics, you can assist a professional DJ or musician to learn the tricks of the trade.
Eventually, you can graduate to a professional level course and approach nightclubs and event organisers with demo CDs of your mixes.