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London Sound Academy share their top ten tips for new and aspiring DJs –

Buster Bennett, founder of the UK’s top provider of one-to-one DJ and music production tuition, the London Sound Academy, shares his top ten tips for those looking to become a superstar DJ in 2022
Skiddle Staff
Last updated: 10th Jan 2022
Founder of the London Sound Academy, Buster Bennett has graciously shared with us his top ten tips for new and aspiring DJs looking to pursue a career in music production and live performance in 2022. For those unaware of the esteemed electronic music academy, here’s a little background…
London Sound Academy (LSA) is the UK’s top provider of one-to-one DJ and music production tuition with studios in London and a network of smaller studios under the brand DJ Gym. They have trained thousands of upcoming DJs and have amassed a true cult following. LSA is well known for organising DJ gigs for their alumni (AlunaGeorge, Tough Love and Amy Becker to name a few) and helping their students get started in the music industry. 
Check out Bennett’s pearls of wisdom below…
1. Know your DJ kit inside out
You should know your DJ software and equipment inside out, every function and every menu. There really is no excuse for not knowing it all. Many new DJs will make embarrassing mistakes at their first gigs that could easily be avoided if they knew their equipment fully. Avoid all the common pitfalls by reading the manuals or taking professional tuition like that available at LSA.
For some handy tips check out this other blog I wrote about the main mistakes to avoid when switching between DJs at your gigs.
2. Always keep learning and growing
If you’re an aspiring DJ and you want to enter a very competitive scene you’ll do well to stay one step ahead on the learning curve. It’s important to practice your DJ skills and keep growing as an artist by adapting to new technology and becoming the best in your field. The first artists to adopt new technology often colonise it and it becomes deeply associated with them. Keep a lookout for new technological trends and you can gain a real competitive advantage, rather than trailing behind the pack. This is true for both DJing and production.

3. Step out of the bedroom
Many DJs are technically excellent but lack bookings. They practice for hours at home waiting for the phone to ring. Generally speaking, gigs won’t come to you, you’ll have to go out there, grab the bull by the horns and drum up more business yourself. DJs need to be comfortable with networking and socialising and then savvy enough to make those connections work for them. The more you circulate the more connections you’ll forge in the industry and the more opportunities will cross your path. In the early days of a DJ career, this is essential, visibility is key and creating meaningful relationships within the scene is really important. Successful DJs are often seen at all the key events for a particular scene, at least in the early days until their name carries itself.
4. Build up your DJ gig experience
Killing a set in the comfort of your bedroom is easy but stepping out in front of a crowd and performing is a totally different skill and something that can only be learnt through experience. Reading a crowd is one of the main performance skills of a DJ. As a DJ you have to command the room and communicate energy through your song selection, performance and your stage charisma. If you’re not sure how to get gigs click here for some more detailed advice.
5. Run an enterprise to help forge more connections in the industry
It’s often difficult for a DJ to network because it can be rather one-sided. Strictly business speaking, DJs are pitching for work and it’s a big ask with not much to give in return for the other player. In the music business, like any business, leverage is everything. If you want to boost your networking value, bring more to the table! Have another enterprise in addition to your DJ career but related to it, something that allows you to go beyond the kind of connections a lone DJ would have. Some of the best enterprises for DJs are running their own events, label, radio show, community group or blog. The more things you have that a promoter will see as valuable the more leverage you have in negotiations. You can use these extras to outcompete other DJs and also to cement a higher position in your scene. The bigger your reach as an artist and influencer the more valuable you are as a booking and connection to other players in the scene.

6. Reach out internationally
Many DJs think that it’s hard to get international DJ gigs but there is a shortcut. DJs in other countries would also like to experience playing here in the UK or in your home country. Why not reach out to similar DJs or promoters in other countries and propose a DJ swap. In this swap, you will play for them in their country and you host them in your home city. It’s easy to organise and it’s a great way to make friends on an international level and gain valuable experience. This is also one of the most fun things you can do!
7. Go further
The biggest enemy to progression in your DJ career might be yourself. How many hours of the day are you actually dedicating to your DJ career? Let’s face it, I bet it’s not many, you most likely are spending more time on Netflix! Become a master of getting the most out of your day, replace time-wasting activities with something that will positively affect your life and your goals. Limit negative impact activities like social media and replace them with productive activities like learning. Many DJs are wasting a lot of time promoting themselves on social media but unless they have an actual unique angle, product or high-level content it’s a total waste of time. Far better to disappear from social media, create something epic and then come back with a bang.
8. Learn how to say no
You’ll want to take all the opportunities you can get, to a point. While you want to be open to new things you need to think strategically. For example, once you’ve gained lots of experience playing live shows unless they are really paying your bills, it’s worth reallocating time to more productive endeavours like music production. If you always say yes to every gig no matter how small you will devalue yourself as a DJ because the more you circulate the less special you become. Find the balance between exposure and being relevant versus being too readily available. You can breed an air of exclusivity by limiting your performances. You can also make sure that you’re progressing from the warm-up or grave-yard shifts to the peak time slots. If you constantly settle for the warm-up position you’ll always be deemed the warmup DJ and not headliner material. Hold your nerve and make sure you’re always moving forward toward your goals.

9. Priorities
Your health is your number one priority. It’s easy to get sucked into a 24/7 party lifestyle as a DJ and it’s easy to go over the top. Make sure you look after your health both mentally and physically and prioritise that over your DJing. If you’re falling off the wagon take a break, artists do this all the time to make albums and work on the next stage of their career. Other priorities are also important as your reputation. The way you operate speaks volumes about you and word does circulate in the music industry. Making sure that you’re in good health mentally and physically is going to help you control your interactions in a professional way and in turn be a more confident performer and a better artist.
10. Learn how to produce
I often hear from successful DJs that they wished they started to learn how to produce earlier on in their careers. Many DJs put this off in favour of more and more networking and DJing but in the long run, you’ll hit a glass ceiling. Even if you’re a big name in a scene your fee will be restricted unless you are also a producer or releasing music. If you release your own music you become an artist in your own right and can command a higher fee because there is only one of you available. If you’re just playing other peoples music there is less value because anyone else could do the same as you. If you really want to turn your DJing into a career don’t delay any longer and learn how to produce.
Plenty of sound advice to take away here, from one of the most knowledgable heads in the business. Put all these these tips into your game and who know’s where your fledgling career as a DJ could take you. 
Check out our What’s On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.
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