5 Life Lessons I Learned from Being a DJ

July 25, 2013

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011 – Ke$ha

Over the past 15 years I have been a disk jockey. For someone not yet 30 this may seem like quite a large statement. However, as my dad & I own a family DJ company, Bestunes, it was easy to get involved early and fall madly, deeply in love with playing music for other people.

It all started on a boat (and no, I’m not talking about the Lonely Island song…). For the past 30+ years my dad has been working for Baystate Cruise Company and it has been quite the adventure! It has been a constant in our lives and I am truly blessed to be have been a tag-a-long since I was 12 years-old. Since that time I was able to attend and then DJ my own parties, weddings and events.

dad & I

Dad & I on the boat!

After a number of years in the business doing anniversary parties, birthdays, booze cruises and more, I finally decided to begin DJing for weddings. I started with a small wedding of a girlfriend out on Martha’s Vineyard and it was a huge success! I haven’t looked back since and along the way I have discovered a fair number of tips and tricks.

dj-jess' wedding

My 1st wedding!

1) It’s okay to say NO!

As a DJ, the first question you are often asked is “Do you take requests?” My answer over the years has changed and varied, and through this process I have discovered that I in fact take suggestions, not requests. I also explain that I have the option to say no and place a song where I feel it is most appropriate.

After watching crowds for 15 years, I can feel the energy of a song and the vibration of a crowd. I now know when it would be perfect to add in a suggestion from a party goer and do my best to find the most appropriate and fun song in that moment. Much like yoga, I can see the crowds energy change, move and rearrange.

I always reserve the right to say no. In the beginning, this was one of the most difficult concepts for me to understand. If someone is attending a party, they want a particular song and I wanted to make everyone happy. I have since realized that there are times when one persons happiness should NOT override the general energy of a crowd and that my decision to say no is in the best interest of all.

I try to keep this lesson with me throughout my daily life as it is often difficult to say no. Typically I am saying no for a valid reason and now feel comfortable enough to stand my ground.

2) In the face of adversity, stand your ground

Standing my ground is so important! A few years ago, I was spat on by a party goer on one of the booze cruises I was DJing. He didn’t appreciate my need to say no in that moment and his reaction was to lean over the DJ booth and spit in my face.

Two things happened in that moment. Number one, I realized I was right to say no. Number two, I stood my ground and instead of backing into a corner to cower and play his song, I called security and continued to play my gig to the very last song. Everyone else was having a hell of a time and we all continued on as if nothing had happened.

It is important to defend yourself and stand your ground no matter the circumstance. Perhaps an issue at work or within a relationship has arisen. Instead of backing down completely, stand your ground. Find room for compromise but do not back down on things that are truly important.

3) In case of emergency, have a quick contact!

The moment I was spat on during that party I had two security guards by my side in moments. The man was escorted away from me immediately and I felt safe, loved and calm during that moment.

Unfortunately there aren’t security guards lurking on every corner, but there are friends and family who can help you out in a pinch! I’ve learned to keep all of my friends and family super close throughout the years. Having a great support system can help you through any situation from a break-up to a wedding or a medical emergency to a gossipy work “emergency”, your family & friends are there to support you through thick and thin.

Teaching Jess the cha-cha slide

Teaching Jess the cha-cha slide

Keep them close, remind them you love them often & as often as you’re able have fun together!!

DJing our wedding

DJing our own wedding…keeping my family close.

4) Not everyone loves you & THAT’S OKAY.

Over the course of the years I have been called many names. Names I don’t want to write on this blog or even speak out loud for their rudeness. I have been told I am the worst DJ in the world, the worst person, a jerk and much, much worse. I have been spat on, had drinks thrown in my face, my speakers and equipment knocked over and been yelled at & threatened to not be paid. But I still love my job.

The thing is, not everyone loves me and that’s okay! I love my job and 99% of the time I know that what I’m doing is perfect and it’s where I’m supposed to be. I play a particular song and the crowd goes wild, they love it. Other songs aren’t quite received in the same respect.

Music is a tricky thing. People associate songs with certain events in their lives and just like our sense of smell, an old song can immediately bring you back to a place and time. It’s an instant time traveling device (and the reason I always ask brides & grooms any songs they HATE prior to their wedding day). A person’s reaction to a song is their own journey and not mine to be a part of. If I happen to bring them back on an unpleasant journey, they immediately blame me when the real reason is their own disgust towards an unwelcomed memory. I have nothing to do with it!

There are people who will hate me and my music. There are people in my daily life who may not like who I am or what I represent and how I live. And that’s okay! They are on their own journey and I am on mine. I am blessed to have crossed their path and if we aren’t meant to be friends, then it wasn’t meant to be.

Not everyone loves me, and it’s perfectly okay!

5) Practice makes perfect!

Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect and the more you continue to hone in on your craft, your business or your life experience, you will become better day by day.

It took years for me to become confident in front of a crowd, to be able to speak into a microphone without fear that I would be made fun of by my friends or laughed at by the crowd. It took years of practice for me to understand the vibrational energy of a crowd – but I found it.

Much like teaching yoga, there are days when you are on autopilot and other days when you KNOW YOU NAILED IT. I finally have many more days as a disk jockey AND as a yogi, when I feel more confident in my practice and my gigs. I understand the vibrational energy, I feel the shift of transformation and I can feel the pure love and joy in both experiences!

Teaching hubby to DJ

Teaching hubby to DJ — helping HIM practice!

~~~~~

What about YOU?? Are there any great and wonderful lessons you’ve learned from a side job or your day job that helped carry you through life?

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below with a life lesson you’ve learned from one of your jobs!

Sending you love, peace & happy beats.
Namaste (and rock on yogis!!)
Jenny

You Might Also Like

6 Comments

  • Reply Andrea July 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Fun post, Jenny. I love all the pictures! All are definitely great life lessons.

    One that I’ve gleaned over the years: listen to yourself. There will be times when you don’t want to hear what that little voice has to say, but if you don’t, it will get louder and louder and louder. It’s there specifically to guide you to where you need to be. Best to take the time to discover what it’s trying to tell you as early on as possible.

    • Reply Jenny R July 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing Andrea! I agree, listening to yourself and your intuition is so important and something we often forget to do. Thanks for the reminder!!

  • Reply Seamus July 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    6)Always play Whitney Houston, preferably “I wanna dance with somebody.”

    • Reply Jenny R July 26, 2013 at 5:23 am

      Last song of the night as always Mr Walsh! Miss you tons Seamus!! Xo

  • Reply Doug L - Jen's Dad July 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    One more lesson that I have learned while DJing 
    is don’t let the negative get you down.  When I
    first started DJing, 800 people would be 
    dancing, telling me I was great, loving the music.  
    But all I remembered was the negative comment.  Try 
    to remember the positive and unless it is overwhelming 
    ignore the negative.

    • Reply Jenny R July 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks dad 🙂 It is super important to let go of the negative…I also liked that you wrote you’re my dad on your name! Love you.

    Leave a Reply