How will the DJ you are looking at hiring make YOUR celebration unique? What will they do to ensure that your celebration isn’t just a music playlist variation from every other similar type of event they’ve performed?

If your event is a wedding, this question is all the more important. The couples I’ve spoken with over the last 23 years really don’t want their wedding feeling like a McWedding, or to feel exactly like a friend’s wedding a year ago. If all the DJ can come up with is talk about ‘reading the crowd’ and playing music to suit, then they really aren’t making your event unique, nor are they tailoring it specifically to suit you and your style.

There are so many things that a talented DJ can do to help give your celebration its own feel, a distinct flavour that represents your style and your tastes. Most hobby DJs won’t know how to answer this question, other than to talk about the sound and lighting gear that they will bring, or how they play music to suit your crowd specifically. Honestly, that’s not enough on its own. That’s the bare minimum that they should be offering!

A great specific question to ask your DJ is
“What was the last thing you invested in to improve your talent, skill or performance?”

Qualified graduate of the Marbecca Method Master of Ceremonies (MC) Workshop, held in Las Vegas in Feb 2008.This question is likely to make most non-professional DJs squirm a bit, so ensure you get a satisfactory answer to it. Answers like “I learn on the job”, “I rehearse at home”, or “I’m constantly keeping in touch with new music and new DJ gear” really aren’t decent answers. In DJ Richard’s case there are a lot of answers to that question, including;

  • Attending international DJ Trade Shows and seminars in Las Vegas in 2006, 2008 and 2009
  • Completing and graduating the Marbecca Method Advanced Master of Ceremonies workshop in America
  • Purchasing Scott Favor’s training DVD set to study improved DJ interaction with crowds
  • Purchasing Randy Bartlett’s 1% Solution DVD Set for improving DJ’s performance skills
  • Purchasing Stacy Zemon’s DJ Handbook
  • Subscribing to MobileBeat DJ Magazine
  • Regularly contributing and moderating on several DJ online forums in the UK and America
  • Writing and having published articles relating to wedding DJ and MC performance
  • Subscribing to and repeatedly listening to all of the Disc Jockey America Radio podcasts
  • Purchasing and reading multitudes of business and performance handbooks and publications
  • Invited critique of other DJs performances
  • One on one mentoring of other DJs at their request

In short, every year DJs ought to be improving their knowledge, sharpening their skills and developing new techniques and ideas to help make your event something that’s completely new, rather than ‘just another gig’ for the DJ.

Next time we’ll look at how you can determine whether your DJ is a true professional, or a hobby DJ. That’s coming up in part 3.

DJ Richard roleplaying and rehearsing at the MC Workshop in Las Vegas, Nevada.