The decision of whether to learn to DJ or produce music first ultimately depends on what goal you want to accomplish first: DJing gigs or having your original music heard.
I personally both produce music & DJ, so I have a solid understanding of what it takes to not only start but also master each.
Both DJing and music production are essential and interconnected aspects of the music industry and can help any budding artist take their music and careers to the next level.
However, they do involve different skill sets and roles so let’s explore the benefits of each to help you make the decision that is best for you right now:
5 Reasons You Should Start with DJing
The 5 main reasons you may want to start with DJing are:
- DJing is Easy To Learn
- Live Performance Is Fun, Gives Direct Feedback & Can Make Money
- Understanding Music Flow & Structure
- Networking Is Key To The Music Industry
- Doing Things In Real Life
Let’s look at these 5 reasons in more detail:
1. DJing is Easy To Learn
DJing can be relatively easier to start with, as it primarily involves mixing and playing pre-existing tracks in a seamless manner.
It does take years and lots of practise to really master the art but it is possible to start mixing at a level that you can DJ in front of an audience quite quickly.
To learn how to easily mix 2 songs together in my favorite simple hack, check out this video:
2. Live Performance Is Fun, Gives Direct Feedback & Can Make Money
DJing allows you to start performing live which is an amazing way to engage with an audience directly, read their reactions to your music or style, and adjust the songs you pick or produce accordingly.
Playing live is also simply an incredibly fun time and is one of the things that I’m personally most passionate about as a music producer & DJ.
… and yes, you can also get paid for DJing gigs.
3. Understanding Music Flow & Structure
Through DJing, you’ll gain valuable insights into song structures, transitions, and what works well on the dancefloor.
You’ll not only be listening to more music than ever before as you build your library but you’ll also be listening to each song in a more focused way.
I’ve personally found that my music productions have improved because I’ve been able to identify common song structures much more and have fine-tuned the style of music I like to produce through my journey learning to DJ.
4. Networking Is Key To The Music Industry
It’s no secret that DJing in local clubs or at events can help you build connections within the music community which can lead to more gigs and general opportunities.
It’s often said that “it’s not who you are but who you know” and actually getting out there and making friends & connections is the really the best way to network.
5. Doing Things In Real Life
Lastly (and kind of cornily) DJing can be great because it allows you to actually go outside, have fun and meet new people.
It can be a bit lonely staying at home and working on new music all the time, so it’s great having a creative and musical outlet that actually pushes you to go out there and touch grass for once!
5 Reasons You Should Start with Music Production
The 5 main reasons you may want to start with producing music are:
- Make A Bigger Name For Yourself In The Music Industry
- Be Creative & Original
- Deeper Understanding of Music
- Complete Independence As A Creative
- You Have No Interest In Playing Live
Let’s look at these 5 reasons in more detail:
1. Make A Bigger Name For Yourself In The Music Industry
At the end of the day, it’s possible for you to make a bigger name for yourself as a music producer or artist than it is as someone who just DJs.
The more releases that you drop, the more you can experiment with various genres and styles, open up opportunities for collaborations with other artists & labels, and potentially have a “hit” song that changes your career forever.
2. Be Creative & Original
Although DJing can be creative and fulfilling, producing music allows you to create your own unique tracks and express your ideas and emotions through music…
..in ways that playing other people’s songs simply could never compare to!
If you want YOUR music to be heard more than want to give a crowd a good time or be known as a curator, then music production might be where you want to start.
3. Deeper Understanding of Music
Music production involves learning about music theory, sound design, arranging, and mixing, giving you a more profound understanding of the craft.
Actually diving into these processes will give you a much deeper understanding of music when compared to simply listening to music (no matter how focused your listening sessions are!).
4. Complete Independence As A Creative
As a producer, you have full control over the creative process and don’t need to rely on other artists’ tracks which can save you money and be creatively fulfilling.
If you end up only playing your own songs, this can also have the added benefit have reducing copyright issues when posting mixes or content live on social media, YouTube, etc.
5. You Have No Interest In Playing Live
Lastly: if you really have no interest in playing live and in front of an audience in any capacity then it definitely makes sense to start with music production.
With that said, if you really resonate with this reason then I’d recommend looking at the section above on DJing to get a good understanding of how valuable and fulfilling it can be to also get into DJing!
My Advice To You
Ultimately, the choice between DJing and music production comes down to your personal interests and creative goals.
But here’s the thing…
I personally both DJ and produce music and I would definitely recommend that is where you ultimately end up.
They both allow you to level up in the world of music and can both complement each other in a crazy way:
The better at DJing you get the more your productions can improve and vice versa.
With that said, I personally started with music production because learning to produce music because I come from a background of playing in bands so it took me a bit of time to warm up to DJing.
Whichever path you choose, remember that practice, dedication, and a passion for music are crucial for success in either area, my friend. 🙂