Training a rookie DJ from scratch
If you’ve ever worked in a small to mid-sized market, then this might have happened to you. Your boss comes up to you and says, “I want you to take this floor man and make him a D.J. Oh yeah, he’s never talked on a mic before and has minimal computer knowledge.” This can seem to be a very challenging task especially when the only opportunity to train him is when your club is open. I myself have trained several D.J.’s that have come in with zero experience. So many so, that I thought I‘d share my method. Here, I break it down into three phases.
(Phase One – The Equipment) Don’t get them on the mic just yet. Start by teaching them the mechanics. How to load a song, how to use the computer, the mixer and the controller, and how to transition the songs. You work the mic and just let them run the music. Make sure they are listening to what you’re saying. Make sure to have them think about precisely what they want to say the first time. Let them write it down if they prefer.
(Phase Two – The Voice) Once they get the tech side down, then trade places. You take the controls and let them take over. The first couple of times on the mic give them very short sentences, something like, “One more song with Barbie.” At first, start them with quick one line breaks to let them get comfortable hearing their own voice. Add a little bit more as they progress. It may help if you do every other break. They will probably start off sounding like a speak n’ spell, and that’s to be expected. Remember, you cannot teach personality until they are comfortable, and that just takes time and experience. Once they have the short one liners down move on to having them introduce the entertainers. Have them write down the details of one of your promos, whether it is a special menu item, two for one, etc. Have them practice off the mic how they would promote it before letting them take it live.
(Phase Three) Once they have phase one and two down, and not until then, then you can turn them loose with it all. I suggest that you still select the music at first. Let them do a set or two and then you take it back for a few. Make sure they take notes and practice everything you have taught them at home. They can use their cell phone to record themselves.
This three phase method works so much better than trying to teach them everything at once. Don’t try to teach too much, too fast. I have yet to find anyone that I could not turn into a decent D.J. Some just take a little longer than others.
Til Next Time,
D.J. Danny Meyers
The Harem, Dayton, Ohio