Digital DJ Tips forum member Eliah writes: “Tonight I had a number of people come up to me after my set and tell me how much they liked it, how much I’ve grown as a DJ, and such. It felt kinda awkward, because for me it was just an ‘OK’ set and I was mostly thinking of what I could have done better.
I admit that I’ve always had this problem: Anything I felt I was good at I set very high standards for myself and I often brood if I am less than near perfect. Anyone else hard on themselves regarding their DJing skills? Like while it’s nice to get compliments, I still feel I gotta deserve them when they come…”
Digital DJ Tips says:
A few thoughts spring to mind here. Firstly, it’s totally natural to feel like this: It shows you care! Secondly, all “artists” are insecure; I’ve never met one who wasn’t. It comes with the territory. And thirdly, it’s absolutely impossible to truly judge a DJ set while you’re doing it. Oh and finally, with DJing, “you can fool most of the people, most of the time” – when you’re looking under the bonnet of the car, of course you can see how it works and spot minor annoyances; everyone else just enjoys the ride!
I always remember one time I was playing at Privilege in Ibiza, the biggest venue I’d ever played in. I actually thought my set had gone really well, but I was playing with my DJing partner at the time, and our friends said I’d actually not been at my best at all, and his set had been better than mine. That’s just a simple example to show you how what the audience says and what you think are two different things. (And it’s another reason why you should always record your sets to listen back and judge them for yourself later.)
Criticism will help you grow as a DJ, but in order to properly handle criticism (including self criticism), you also need to properly handle praise – so in the words of Rudyard Kipling, “treat those two impostors just the same”!
Over to you: Do you find yourself beating yourself up over your DJing, criticising every little error and giving yourself a harder time than you think you should? How do you deal with it? Does what you think about your sets correlate with what your friends think? Please share your thoughts below.