Digital DJ Tips reader Jeremy writes: “I love DJing, but my family is not very supportive. No matter how much I try to tell them that it is something I’ll put hard work and dedication into, they think I am not capable. I just don’t know what to do any more. Do you have any advice for me?”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
Ah yes, parents telling their kids not to pursue their dreams of becoming a musician! I’ve been in your shoes so many times that I’ve probably worn out your soles by now. The short answer here is: Don’t just tell them that you can work hard and be dedicated. Instead, show them. Prove it.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to become a record producer. Perhaps it’s my “Asian upbringing”, but my parents’ exact lines were: “We want you to have a safe career. Stop that music thing you’re doing. Take up information technology, or get into finance.”
I relented, and agreed to take up I.T. while I was in university. I dropped out of that course, and told them that I had wanted to take up music at the national college. The professor was my saxophone teacher (I had been taking lessons during weekends), and he was to vouch for me so admission to the college would be a cinch. Still, my parents said no.
So I decided to shift courses (History & Literature) and proceeded to graduate. I got a job immediately after college. I taught English in a school, worked as a copywriter at an events agency, and later settled into a three-year stint at an insurance firm that I was being groomed to take over. My parents were over the moon: “You’re set for the rest of your life, son!”
Something funny happened, though: I did not let go of my dream. Throughout this entire time, I was running my recording studio business and moonlighting as a record producer. I would work eight to five at my desk job, and five to midnight at my studio, recording and helping others make music. I would even DJ on some nights, so I’d only be able to crash in bed and sleep for a few hours before my day started.
This went on for three years. But when I regularly arrived to work late, tired but extremely fulfilled from the musical endeavours of the past night, I knew that I had to let go of this desk job and chase my dream. And I did.
Fast forward to today: I write for the biggest DJ site on the planet, I have toured in and around my region, and am able to support myself and others who rely on me, all thanks to this “music thing” that my parents explicitly told me to stay away from. Life’s funny like that.
If DJing is your dream, if it is your passion, and it’s something that you really want to do, there is no way that you are escaping it. You may as well face it head on. Believe me, I’ve tried: No matter how much I try to leave DJing and music, I always come back to it. Creating, playing, and sharing tunes with others is my life.
My advice to you is to follow your dream of DJing and to prove your parents wrong. Show them that you are dedicated and that you can work hard at it. Show up in a powerful way every single time, and be diligent in your practice sessions. Why not offer to perform at family gatherings and birthdays? If your immediate family isn’t receptive, for certain other relatives will appreciate your initiative in being the “evening’s entertainment”.
It’s easy for your parents to think that it’s just a passing fancy, but if you show them how dedicated and passionate you are, you may just be able to change their minds. With respect to your parents, it is your life to live, not theirs.
Now go get it!
Any advice you’d like to give our young up-and-comer? Have you experienced relatives or friends pushing back when you said that you want to pursue DJing? How did you get around it? Share your experience with us below.