How to Become a DJ in Canada in 6 Steps

Read our findings here to know what’s required of DJs in Canada.

Aha! Here’s someone interested in music. Have you ever wondered if being a DJ is the right career path for you? Well, read on to find out if becoming a DJ in Canada might be perfect for you.

“DJ-ing” is a musically rich career, and with the appropriate training, you can analyze and relate with your listeners via matching rhythms and scratches layered over their favourite songs for a one-of-a-kind experience that they will remember for years.

Who is a Disc Jockey (DJ)?

A Disc Jockey, sometimes known as a DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. They offer the soundtrack to the party at pubs, concert venues, clubs, music festivals, and radio stations. The DJ art is often performed by one person; the disc jockey, who introduces and plays music while interacting informally and often spontaneously at intervals.

Types of DJs and their Responsibilities

A DJ has several responsibilities depending on their workplace and position in the music industry. Therefore, the different types of DJs have varying responsibilities which are going to be outlined below.

Club DJ

These are the most common kinds of DJs in Canada. As a club DJ, you will perform in commercial settings such as pubs, clubs, nightclubs, and festivals. Every prospective club DJ needs to secure some regular gigs at pubs or clubs, which will lead to a residency. Club residencies are an excellent opportunity to hone your DJ style while gaining experience behind the decks and learning how to read a crowd.

They can:

  • Appear regularly at a particular club or bar
  • Have a decisive influence on the club
  • Work out a set of music (R&B, Hip Hop, Pop music) to suit the audience
  • Play and mix records using different methods to produce non-stop music
  • Add extra music or mixes of their own

Mobile DJs

Mobile DJs are DJs in Canada that bring their own portable audio sound equipment and specialize in performing at events such as parties, street fairs, pubs, weddings, birthdays, school functions, and corporate functions. They offer a varied music collection to meet a wide range of gigs.

They may be given a brief on the sort of music or a playlist of tracks to include during the performance. Some Canadians are drawn to the mobile DJ career because it is similar to freelancing. That is, it is easier to find your gigs, and you have greater control over your earnings.

They can:

  • Have their equipment (mixers, sound system, laptops, lighting)
  • Set everything up from scratch for each gig
  • Play music throughout the event, coordinating the lighting to fit the music
  • Make announcements and play requests
  • Dismantle and remove equipment at the end of the event.

Turntablists (Scratch DJs)

Turntablists, also known as battle DJs, utilize turntables and DJ mixers to modify recorded sounds to create new sounds and develop new ideas. That is, instead of merely blending existing songs flawlessly as other DJs do, they use the turntables as musical instruments, employing them to produce creative music and melodies.

Techniques used in this style of DJing include: scratching, the crab, beat juggling, and the transformer scratch. To create an impression in this specialized scene, you must be extremely adept. Professional turntablists frequently compete in DJ competitions such as the DMC World DJ Championships, among others.

Radio DJs

Radio DJs in Canada introduce and perform music heard on radio stations. However, most radio DJs produce their shows rather than work for an actual radio station, even though that’s still an option.  This market is extremely competitive, and you’ll need to stay on top of the latest tracks and trends to stand out and grow an audience. Radio DJs can:

  • Pick and play a program of music to suit regular listeners
  • Ensure there’s no dead air time by keeping up a steady, natural flow of chat, music, or features
  • Co-ordinate studio output: personal microphone, music, phone lines, weather, jingles, adverts, and news
  • Interact with the audience by phone and using social media
  • Interview celebrities and the public on a wide range of issues
  • Ensure a smooth handover between presenters

Benefits of becoming a DJ in Canada

In today’s culture, DJs are at the pinnacle of the music industry. DJs perform at large concerts, festivals, and other events. Some of the advantages of working as a DJ in Canada include:

  • You can work for yourself: As a DJ, you get to work for yourself. You can choose the gigs you want to take and negotiate your pay. While this in itself isn’t easy, if you become good at what you do, then you can command a very competitive hourly rate or payment per gig.
  • You get to wear what you want: As a pro DJ, what you wear is totally up to you. Whether you want to make a statement with your dressing or not, it’s up to you to decide. No more formal clothes or uniform attires.
  • You get paid for doing what you love: There is no better feeling in the world than being paid to do what you enjoy. You can receive a lot of satisfaction from seeing your audience dance to your music.
  • Share your love of music: As a DJ, you can share your love of music by mixing unique tracks and beats and contributing to its popularity. It is also a platform for you to convert people to music lovers.
  • You get to travel and meet new people: While travelling is not for everyone, it is a dream come true for some. DJs in Canada, particularly mobile DJs, spend most of their working life on the road, exploring different places and meeting new people.
  • Make an impact on the culture: DJs like Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris have become big names and have influenced pop culture. Fans travel from all over the world to hear the mix. They don’t simply play records; they change them.

How much can a DJ earn in Canada?

The average salary for a DJ in Canada is $54,561 per year or $28.37 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $30,600 per year while most experienced DJs make up to $68,837 per year. The salary also differs based on the region or province.

DJs in Canada make money by performing, and those who create their music make money through royalties. DJing income can vary greatly depending on where you live, how frequently you perform, and how trendy your chosen genre of music is.

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Five (5) Steps on How to Become as a DJ in Canada

If you want to be a DJ, then there’s good news for you. There are two paths you could follow, the DIY path or you can enrol in a school DJ program. The amazing thing is that the choice is yours and the possibilities are endless. Here’s a basic step-by-step of how to start your Dj career:

#1. Pick Your Genre(s):

If music is your passion, then you already know what sort of music you love the most. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to focus on spinning vinyl or go digital. Many club DJs focus on vinyl for better and deeper sound quality. If you choose digital, then you can work with volume because it’s easier to load as many songs as you want onto a Mac than loading a stack of vinyl records in your bag.

#2. Learn About Types of DJs

We’ve discussed this in an earlier section. You can study the different types of DJs carefully and choose the one that appeals to you the most.

#3. Brush Up on DJ Skills:

You can learn some basic DJing skills online. A few techniques include beatmatching, phrasing, gain control, EQing and so much more. Therefore, here are some skills that might prove useful to you as a DJ;

  • Ability to count beats
  • Good understanding of music structure
  • A good ear for rhythm
  • Ability to network with people
  • Creativity
  • Technical skills (hardware and software)
  • Ability to perform under pressure
  • Know your equipment inside out
  • Tune selection
  • Ability to manage business accounts

#4. Explore Professional Tools:

Music radar recommends various high-quality programs for laptop DJs including the following:

  • Native Instruments Traktor Pro
  • Serato DJ Pro
  • CrossDJ
  • Mixx
  • DJ ProDecks
  • VirtualDJ

#5. Find a Music Program:

One of the best ways to advance your career as a DJ is by choosing a comprehensive music program. With the right teaching and supervision, you may determine what sort of DJ you would like to be, how to collect the right music, the newest software for your career, and all the skills you need.

Top 5 DJ Schools in Canada

#6. Learn About the Business:

Learning about business should be a priority for anybody interested in a career in the music industry, including DJs. You might want to get a degree in the music business to fully understand how the music industry works and how to profit from it.

Other important things to do as you begin your career as a DJ in Canada

  • Don’t stop practising
  • Create demo mixes
  • Contact bars and clubs to get on their radar
  • Promote your gigs online

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to become a DJ in Canada?

Most times, no. Most DJs use original records purchased with copyright. Hence, DJs don’t need a license to operate. If, however, you’re making use of uncopyrighted material, you’ll need a license.

Is there any free DJ software?

Certainly! Some of them are Serato DJ Intro, CrossDJ Free, Mixxx, DJ ProDecks, and VirtualDJ.

Can you DJ without a laptop?

Yes, you can. In fact, there are android and iOS versions of some DJ software so you can use your smartphone instead.

How can I start DJing at home?

I would recommend sourcing the industry-standard equipment: Pioneer CDJ 2000’s and a Pioneer DJM mixer. From here you can load your songs onto a USB and practice beat mixing songs, as well as get to know the different techniques of mixing songs live.

Is it hard to become a Dj in Canada?

It is not simple to become a professional DJ who makes a living only from DJing. You must have talent, work hard on your talents, be a little of a business person, and be a bit lucky!

Conclusion

If you love music and you enjoy making others dance, becoming a DJ might be the career route for you. As you can see, there are several advantages, including being paid to do what you enjoy. And to think it all began when you finally purchased the new Pioneer CDJ-3000 and decided to take things seriously! We hope you found this article useful.