An Amateur DJ vs The Professional DJ

The Best Choice For You

Amateur VS Pro DJ | 6 Key Factors

Amateur VS Pro DJ - Let's look at the facts!

In my 20+ years in the entertainment industry, I would say this topic comes up time and time again. And for good reason! The price tag of hiring an Amateur/Hobbyist DJ may sound attractive at first, but once you weigh in all the factors of doing so what’s the best investment for you?

This article assume that you’re choosing between a Amateur  and a professional level DJ for your wedding or other important event

Firstly, I will say hiring an amateur for a simple house party (20-30 guests) where there is not a lot of pressure to preform at a professional standard may be the way to go as a lot of hobby DJs will do such events for the experience of playing in front of an audience, and we all need to start somewhere! Or if your event simply requires dinner and/or cocktail music and having breaks from song to song, will not be noticeable (Or make or break a party atmosphere) then again, an amateur DJ would indeed make a lot of sense in this regard as well. HOWEVER, …

1. The investment to your Event

Best DJ Milton
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Do they understand how important this is to you?

One of the primary differences between an amateur DJ and a professional DJ is the level of investment they have in their performance. An amateur DJ may be doing it for fun and entertainment, while a professional DJ has made it their livelihood and career. This difference in investment reflects in their approach to their performance.

When an amateur DJ performs, they may not have the same level of pressure and expectations that a professional DJ would face. They may not be as concerned about the outcome of their performance or how it is received by the audience. If something goes wrong during their performance, they may brush it off as a learning experience or simply part of the fun. For them, DJing is a hobby and a way to enjoy themselves.

In contrast, a professional DJ’s reputation and livelihood depend on the success of their performance. They have invested time, money, and effort into building their career as a DJ, and their livelihood relies on their ability to consistently deliver high-quality performances. One bad review or a subpar performance could be detrimental to their business and could potentially ruin their reputation.

Professional DJs understand that every performance is an opportunity to showcase their skills and impress their audience. They take their craft seriously and work hard to ensure that their equipment is in top condition, their playlists are carefully curated, and their performance is flawless. They are always looking to improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest music trends and techniques.

In conclusion, the level of investment that an amateur DJ has in their performance is significantly lower than that of a professional DJ. While amateurs may be performing for fun, professionals have made it their livelihood and career. Professional DJs understand that their performance is a reflection of their reputation and work hard to deliver the best possible experience for their audience.

2. Your Event is unique!

Great Hall picture

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What kind of space can you provide, and where?? 

When it comes to event DJing, every event is unique, and it’s about much more than just playing music. An event DJ has many responsibilities beyond just selecting and playing songs. They are responsible for coordinating timelines, orchestrating the introduction and flow of events, working with other vendors, and reading the crowd to make sure the right song is played at the right time.


Firstly, an event DJ must have excellent time management skills to ensure that the event runs smoothly and according to schedule. They must coordinate with the venue, event planner, and other vendors to ensure that everything is timed correctly. The DJ needs to understand the order of events and make sure that everything happens when it is supposed to. For instance, they must ensure that the music does not start playing too early or too late, that speeches and toasts are given at the appropriate time, and that the dance floor is open at the right time.


Secondly, the event DJ must be skilled in orchestrating the introduction and flow of events. They need to make sure that the event’s energy level is consistent and build up the momentum to keep the guests engaged and entertained. They have to know how to transition smoothly from one event to another, such as from cocktail hour to dinner or from dinner to dancing. A professional DJ will create a timeline for the event, which will ensure that each event flows seamlessly into the next.


Thirdly, the DJ has to work with other vendors, such as the photographer and event planner, to ensure that they are all on the same page. They must communicate well to make sure that the event runs smoothly and according to plan. The DJ needs to work with the photographer to ensure that the key moments of the event are captured, such as the first dance and the cake cutting. The DJ also needs to coordinate with the event planner to ensure that everything is set up correctly and that any issues are resolved promptly.


Finally, the event DJ must be skilled in reading the crowd and understanding what type of music to play at any given moment. They must be able to gauge the mood of the guests and respond accordingly. For instance, if the guests are starting to get restless, the DJ may play a more upbeat song to get them energized and back on the dance floor. On the other hand, if the guests are slowing down, the DJ may play a slower song to give them a chance to rest before building the energy back up again.


In conclusion, event DJing is much more than just playing music. A professional DJ is responsible for coordinating timelines, orchestrating the introduction and flow of events, working with other vendors, and reading the crowd. They must have excellent time management skills, understand how to transition smoothly from one event to another, and know how to read the guests’ mood to keep the energy level consistent throughout the event. All of these responsibilities make the event DJ an essential part of any successful event.

3. Will an Amature know what to play at the right time?

Record Collection
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Who’s got more variety and flexibility? 

A successful event requires a DJ who can read the crowd and build the atmosphere throughout the event. Playing the right songs at the right time and in the right order is crucial to maintain a high-energy dance floor. A skilled DJ knows when to play a slow song to give guests a break or change the mood, and when to bring the energy back up again.

 

A DJ’s ability to read the crowd is essential to creating a successful event. This means being able to understand the audience’s energy level, their preferences, and what songs will keep them dancing. The DJ must be skilled at reading nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, to understand what the guests are feeling and adjust the playlist accordingly. For example, if the guests seem to be losing energy, the DJ may choose to play a high-energy song to get them back on the dance floor.

 

In addition to reading the crowd, a successful DJ must also know how to build the atmosphere throughout the event. They must understand the order of events and be able to transition smoothly from one event to another, such as from dinner to dancing. The DJ must also have a well-planned playlist, with the right songs queued up at the right time. For instance, the DJ should play high-energy songs during the peak of the dancing, and slower songs during the slower parts of the event.

 

Knowing when to play a slow song is crucial to keeping the dance floor full. A skilled DJ will know when it’s time to change the mood and play a slow song. For instance, if the guests have been dancing for a while and need a break, the DJ may play a slower song to give them a chance to catch their breath. However, it’s essential to know when to bring the energy back up again to keep the guests engaged and the dance floor full.

 

Finally, the DJ must be able to adjust the playlist as the event progresses. This means being able to adapt to changes in the mood and energy level of the guests. For instance, if the guests are enjoying a particular type of music, the DJ may choose to play more of that music to keep them dancing. Similarly, if the guests are not responding well to a particular song, the DJ may need to switch to a different song to keep the energy level up.

 

In conclusion, a skilled DJ is essential to creating a successful event. The DJ must be able to read the crowd and build the atmosphere throughout the event, play the right songs at the right time and in the right order, know when to play a slow song, and adjust the playlist as the event progresses. With these skills, the DJ can keep the guests engaged, the dance floor full, and create a memorable event that everyone will enjoy.

4. Don't underestimate the MC part of the job

Party DJ Milton
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Are they comfortable on the mic?

The Master of Ceremonies (M/C) is an essential part of any event, and their role is to keep the guests informed and entertained throughout the event. The M/C is responsible for making announcements, introducing speakers or performers, and keeping the event moving along smoothly. A skilled M/C can have a huge impact on the mood of the event and can change the outcome of your event for the better.

 

However, an amateur DJ may not have the necessary mic skills or experience to act as an effective M/C. The ability to present what needs to be said in a clear and professional manner is crucial, and an inexperienced M/C may not know how to do this effectively. They may stumble over their words, lose their place, or lack the confidence to speak in front of a crowd.

 

Worse still, an amateur DJ may be too scared to speak on the mic altogether. This is a common fear among people who are not used to public speaking, and it can be a major hindrance to the success of your event. The M/C must be able to speak with confidence and authority, and they must be able to engage the audience and keep them entertained. If the M/C is too nervous or lacks confidence, they may struggle to connect with the audience, and the event may suffer as a result.

 

In contrast, a professional DJ who has experience acting as an M/C will have the necessary mic skills and confidence to keep the event moving along smoothly. They will be able to present what needs to be said in a clear and professional manner, and they will know how to engage the audience and keep them entertained. A professional M/C will also be able to improvise when necessary, such as in the case of unexpected delays or changes to the event schedule.

 

In conclusion, the M/C is a critical component of any event, and their role should not be underestimated. An amateur DJ may not have the mic skills or experience necessary to act as an effective M/C, and this can have a significant impact on the success of your event. In contrast, a professional DJ who has experience acting as an M/C will have the necessary skills and confidence to keep the event moving along smoothly and ensure that your guests have a memorable and enjoyable experience.

5. What about your requests?

Professional DJ Woodstock
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Will they have your requsted songs at the right time

As a DJ, the ability to incorporate unique requests from clients is an essential skill that is developed over time with experience. An amateur DJ may not have the knowledge and expertise to incorporate unique requests in a way that truly expresses the client’s personality and keeps people dancing.

 

Working in requests is more than just playing a specific song at the client’s request. It’s about finding the right time to play it, the right way to introduce it, and how to mix it into the current playlist seamlessly. Novice DJs may struggle with these elements and may play the requested song too early, disrupting the flow of the event and potentially causing guests to leave the dance floor.

 

In my experience, it is best to work in requested songs at the prime time of the event when people are most likely to be dancing and in the right mood for that particular song. It’s about creating a build-up and anticipation for the requested song, rather than playing it at the beginning of the night when people are still mingling and getting to know each other.

 

Professional DJs who have experience working in requests know how to read the crowd, gauge the energy in the room, and incorporate requested songs in a way that keeps people on the dance floor and having a great time. They also know how to make suggestions to clients about when and how to incorporate their requested songs to create the desired impact.

 

In conclusion, working in requests is a crucial skill for any DJ, and it takes years of experience to master. An amateur DJ may not have the knowledge and expertise to incorporate unique requests in a way that truly expresses the client’s personality and keeps people dancing. A professional DJ with experience working in requests will be able to read the crowd, find the right time to play the requested song, and seamlessly incorporate it into the current playlist to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for all guests.

6. The grade of equipment used

The Professional DJ

You get what you pay for

When it comes to DJ equipment, you get what you pay for. DJs who charge less often invest less in their equipment, which can result in inferior sound and equipment at your event. This can be particularly problematic for events where sound quality is crucial, such as weddings, corporate events, and other formal gatherings.

 

Professional-grade speakers and equipment are necessary for clear sound that has an impact at low volumes, so your guests can speak at their tables even while the dance floor is thumping. When you hire a professional DJ, they will typically bring their own equipment to the event, which is often of a higher quality than what an amateur DJ may have access to. This means that the sound quality at your event will be of a higher standard, ensuring that your guests can hear the music clearly and enjoy the event to the fullest.

 

Moreover, professional DJs have experience in optimizing their equipment from venue to venue. They know how to set up their speakers and other equipment to get the best sound in any given space, and they will take the time to ensure that the sound quality is perfect for your event.

 

If you want your guests to clearly hear any speeches or public addresses, it’s essential to have professional equipment and someone who can best optimize the equipment from venue to venue. A professional DJ will have experience working with a variety of different sound systems and will be able to adjust the sound levels accordingly to ensure that all speeches and announcements are heard loud and clear.

 

In conclusion, investing in professional-grade equipment is essential for any DJ who wants to provide high-quality sound at an event. Professional-grade equipment ensures that your guests can hear the music clearly and enjoy the event to the fullest. A professional DJ will have the experience and expertise to optimize the equipment from venue to venue, ensuring that the sound quality is perfect for your event.

The Bottom line

 In short, if you’re investing thousands of dollars (Or even hundreds) for your event, and looking to the DJ to entertain your guest, and create and fun and exciting time.

Your 6 key factors at a glance:

  1. The Investment on your event
  2. Your event is unique!
  3. Can They Read The Crowd
  4. What about your requests
  5. How about the grade of equipment used

It makes the most sense to trust someone that has the experience and know how to do so, rather than trusting your big event to someone for a cheaper rate, and far less experience.

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