On a DJ forum recently we started talking about why we do what we do. The actual question was asked by Rob Bass, “…as a DJ, what keeps us coming back for more – what drives our fire to please that Bride & Groom, or that party crowd?”
My response was ‘Love.’
Meaning exactly that. A love for our clients, who often become our friends. A love for creating moments that will live forever – either on tape or in my clients and their guests memories. A love for what we do as performers. A love for music. A love for performing.
It all comes down to LOVE.
But before long we started talking about training and why we might seek it out or not seek it out. Someone brought up how ‘training’ would ‘change’ them. That training is about ‘becoming’ someone else. So let’s talk about training…. and what it is. I want to preface this with the fact that I seek out almost every training opportunity afforded me. Be it formal workshops, books, CD’s, or just getting ‘seat time’ in the form of performing at community theatre or in various tours I’m a part of. In each of these training circumstances, I’m learning FUNDAMENTALS. Not ‘routines’. I’m polishing my underlying SKILLS. And therein lies the fundamental difference in the training viewpoint.
You see, teaching fundamentals – certain tap steps for example is a ‘how’. It’s proper ‘technique’. This is ‘how’ the step is done. This ‘HOW” is what you are ‘graded’ on when you perform. HOW allows you to have your own interpretation, but the underlying ‘technique’ remains.
What many people think of as ‘training’ is a ‘routine’ or a ‘what’.
So, how about an example? I watched the guitar player from Parlament Funkadelic shred this past Thursday at Vinyl Music Hall. Dude just TORE IT UP. He could play rhythm, lead, funk, jazz, you name it. He has the underlying skills to use them in many different ways.
But there are some guitarists who take shortcuts. They sit down and learn to mimic Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven’. They lack the underlying fundamentals to PERFORM EFFECTIVELY.
I see these ‘shortcuts’ taken in the DJ industry day in and day out. They take on routines or attempt to perform things they’ve seen others do and they do them POORLY. They see a professional attempting a fancy dance step and think ‘I can do that’. They see the performers on American Idol and think they can sing like they do. What they don’t see is all the time they put in preparing for that one moment. They don’t see the years of training. They don’t see the years of toil they put in. They see the end results and attempt to ‘go for the gold’ without training for it.
Training should be a fundamental part of what we do as DJ’s, as entertainers, as Masters of Ceremonies, Announcers, Actors, Voice Over Artists, Singers, and everything else we do. As performing artists, we should seek out training to build those fundamental skills so we can use them and become more polished. Ongoing training allows us to progress each and every time we take it. The critical feedback provided in a training environment allows us to grow as performers. Without it, we just repeat what we’re already doing. In short, we NEED that training to be able to reach ‘GOLD’ at each and every event. It’s training with critical feedback from trained professionals that makes someone great and it also sets apart a performer with 20 years experience and one with 1 year of experience repeated 20 times.*
As you look at your choice in entertainment, keep that in mind…. ongoing training is a fundamental necessity to them being their ‘best’ at your event…
First Day Entertainment is a wedding entertainment company providing a DJ and Master of Ceremonies for weddings throughout Pensacola, Mobile, Destin, the Emerald Coast, and beyond. They specialize in creative entertainment for discerning couples – coupling cultural, religious, and personal tastes into your wedding entertainment.
* – This was in a thread I was involved in at the Mark Ferrell Community and I’ve tried to credit the person who said it, but I’ve been unable to find it.