Your Questions: Dealing With DJing Know-It-Alls

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DJ disapproval Giving advice Taking advice your questions
Last updated 3 August, 2017

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look of disapproval
Are you getting disapproving, unhelpful or know-it-all words and looks from others when it comes to your DJing? Quite often such actions say more about the person doing them than they do about you…

Digital DJ Tips forum member Jessica writes: “Has anyone ever had to deal with someone who thinks they know it all? I was talking with a friend of mine, and I told him that I was learning to DJ. He immediately jumps to ‘you should put your stuff on SoundCloud.’ When I told him that I wasn’t producing music yet, his first response is ‘so, all you do is push the play button then!’

I continued to try and explain things with no avail, but he went on. In his opinion, one should start with producing, but I feel that doing that would put me in over my head right off the bat. Thing is, he’s not a DJ and the only EDM he listens to is dubstep. He doesn’t even really know of the other genres with EDM. I’m not criticising him for that, but it made me feel as though what I’m trying to learn is nothing, and that anyone could just walk up to a controller and do this.”

“Is it pointless for me to try and defend myself to someone who thinks they know all about DJing, when they aren’t one?”

Digital DJ Tips says

You know, he is right about one thing. Pretty much anybody can walk up to a controller and make it work. Work as in getting music out of the speakers. If he/she is tech savvy, perhaps even detect the button called “sync” and get a matched mix out of it. As with any skill, though, practice makes perfect, so yes, you need to practise your technical skills and master all the features that the controller has to offer that the guy/gal just walking up to one wouldn’t know existed, let alone be able to use off the bat.

However, even with all the technical skills in place, knowledge of the features and everything else, at the end of the day it is what music you play in what order that makes a good DJ (or not). And this is the real DJ skill and it’s hard to master and you can only learn by playing to an audience. So even if you only press the play button and play back to back tracks without anything fancy, you can still make a good party (I have done this a lot of times when the gear was just plain CD players and FX-less mixers. Beatmatching was about as fancy as you could get at the time, with the occasional backspin tossed in).

Your friend doesn’t get it, sure, but at the same time he is still entitled to his opinion. One of the challenges of advising / teaching people is that you have to put how you do it to one side and consider the way others may want to do it, too: This is a skill in itself. (You also have to know your subject, and from what you say your friend has a bit of a way to go there as well…)

I’d say just hang on to your love of music and do not worry what others think. and remember, you are member of a community that does get it and welcomes you here at Digital DJ Tips!

Have you had people give you wrong advice, or try and discourage you, or underestimate the time and effort you’re putting into learning to DJ? How did you handle the situation? Did it put you off trying? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

The Complete DJ