Your Questions: How Do I Know I’m Ready To Play In Public?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
first gig
Last updated 3 August, 2017

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gig
Don’t wait for the ideal opportunity to come along to play your first gig. Play everywhere and anywhere. Get on the field of play and great things may happen, but they definitely won’t if you don’t put yourself out there. Pic: DJ Dexter

Digital DJ Tips member Graham Scott writes: “At the start of the year I set myself a target of playing in a club/bar (providing it is the right opportunity) by the close of 2015. I have a couple of questions. What factors would you realistically weigh up to give you a good indication as to whether you are ready? And how can you go about getting your first night and setting yourself apart from competition assuming there are other DJ with previous experience after the same spot? I have been DJing about three years now.”

Digital DJ Tips says

I think the key to cracking your dilemma is in the words “providing it is the right opportunity”.

DJing is not done in bedrooms. It is done in public. Anywhere you can play is the right opportunity. Don’t wait for something ideal to come along – that’s really just an excuse. You could have been playing three years of public gigs by now. What are you waiting for? You can’t hope to set yourself apart from the competition from your bedroom.

Play every single tiny opportunity you can, whether it’s your sister’s end of school party, your friend’s birthday, a family BBQ, a hotel room after a festival with your friends, on web radio, on a summer’s day in your street from your garage… anywhere! Play in living rooms, church halls, empty bars. Take your controller on holiday and hustle the hotel for a gig where you’re staying.

And yes, try your local venues that already have DJs – but don’t expect a great opportunity to present itself from there on a plate, because as you realise, other DJs who have “paid their dues” will likely have a better chance of playing there.

The point is, DJing is done in public. So however you can, get out there and do it, starting now. Your three years of bedroom practice have given you more skills than many, so don’t wait any longer. You need to play in public. That’s where you learn. That’s where you become a better DJ. That’s where you’ll slowly get good enough for the gigs you’re dreaming of. Good luck!

How did you land your first big break? Got any more advice to share with Graham? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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