Every DJ has had someone show them the ropes in some way. Blending and scratching, or understanding the business jargon within a contract are not skills that are taught in school. DJing may seem like an individual sport because when it’s showtime we are in the DJ booth by ourselves. That can lead to our egos getting the best of us but it was the mentorship that got you there in the first place. Someone opened a door or dropped some knowledge on you that helped you get to where you are.
You can never have too many mentors. A person that can help you scratch may be really great at helping you learn how to transform, but you may need another person to guide you when it comes to booking weddings. There are many layers and lanes when it comes to DJing and having a person in one corner will help, but why not surround yourself with mentors in every corner?
Be a sponge and soak up constructive criticism. It’s not enough to just take it all in, you also need to apply it. You should aim to be able to challenge your mentor with healthy competition.
Unless you are DJ Kool Herc then you learned how to DJ from someone. If you decide to be a privates events DJ, someone will have to guide you on how to be a business professional in addition to being a great DJ. DJing for sporting events is completely different from performing at clubs so it’s important to have someone that understands these differences in your corner.
Eventually you’ll find yourself on the other side of the fence and there will be someone seeking guidance from you. When being a mentor, think about what helped you early on as a DJ but also remember that everyone has different learning styles. A teaching method that helped you understand how to scratch may not work for your mentee. That doesn’t mean your mentee is not going to be great, it just means you need to try a different approach when communicating these skills.
Being a mentor makes you a better DJ. To be able to explain anything efficiently you need to have a good understanding of the topic. You are in a position to be a mentor for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you won’t continue to learn along the way.
Mentorship is more than just teaching, it’s building connections. Whether you are a veteran DJ or someone new to the game, find yourself someone to join you on your journey. Working together, anything can be achieved.