Here at the Digital DJ Tips school we’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of students who are a lot older than you might expect. We’re talking 60, 70 plus.
Now, our usual student is no child – typically they’re 30 years or above, with a full-time job, responsibilities and so on, and for them DJing is a hobby, a release and at best a part-time job. These people have got the money to dedicate to their hobby and do it for sheer enjoyment.
But a much older group is also starting to stand out. They’re usually a little bit apologetic, saying “I know you might think I’m weird but I want to learn this!” or blaming their passion for DJing on some kind of mid or later-life crisis.
Often they want to keep it secret, worried that others will laugh at them or tell them it’s pointless. We had five such people of 70+ in our community chat this week, enquiring about a new course we are launching.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely fine to want to learn DJing at any age. Here are seven reasons why, and at the end I’ll offer some tips if you’re still on the fence…
7 Reasons It’s Never Too Late To Be A DJ
1. DJing itself has grown up
Look in any music shop window nowadays and alongside the guitars, keyboards, saxophones etc, you’re likely to see DJ gear as well.
All you got to do is look at the 50 Years of Hip-Hop Tour that recently went around America to see our very own tutor DJ Jazzy Jeff alongside names like Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J and Rakim to understand that the whole culture of DJing has had time to mature. It’s now part of the way we do music as a people. It’s no flash in the pan.
2. DJing is bigger than clubs and clubbing
I don’t know exactly when this happened, but at some point, DJing became something that outgrew the nightclubs where it started. It became a form of musical expression – something that’s always in you.
If you got into DJing and the DJ scene as a younger person in your clubbing days, why would you want to give it up as you got older? You just grow into whatever it’s going to become – and what it’s become for a lot of people is about sharing the music they love.
After all, the more decades you’ve had listening to music, the better your taste and the broader your horizons are going to be. Potentially there’s also more you’ve got to say with the music you love.
It’s also bigger than clubs and clubbing in the sense that there are more ways of sharing now completely away from that kind of scene. You can livestream, you can have radio shows and podcasts celebrating the music you love, and these activities are just as (if not more) suitable to older people as they are to younger generations.
3. There are niches within DJing that are acutally better for older people
I’m sure you’ve seen retro nights where old scenes are “resurrected”. There are gigs deliberately in the afternoons/evenings for people who’ve got children to go to or even to take their kids with them.
And then of course there are “second wind” nights for people whose kids have long left home, and who don’t want to hang up their dancing shoes yet, or for people who got married and settled down only to find themselves back on the singles market.
Read this next: 3 Tips For DJing To Older Crowds
Plus, there are people who want to celebrate big birthday parties, and not just 18 or 21, but the “decade” milestones of 50, 60 70…
The point is that all of these kind of events need DJs, and these DJs are often the same age as the people attending the events.
Watch the show
Prefer me to talk you through this? In this video, a recording of a live show from the Digital DJ Tips YouTube channel, I talk you through everything in this article, and we take questions from our community on the subject.
4. Older people are perceived differently nowadays
I don’t know about where you are, but certainly in our culture, my parents (and their parents’ generations) grew up extremely quickly and often were percieved to be “old” by society pretty quickly.
Nowadays we see people growing up, becoming adults, and then basically “staying the same” until maybe they’re too old to do the things they want to do, something that can happen extremely late in life.
That big bit in the middle? It’s up to you what you do with it! I don’t think the expectation that you have to do certain things at certain ages is anywhere near as strong as it was a generation or two ago.
5. People don’t feel as old anymore
Recently, my Dad went back to his workplace of many years for the first time in several decades. A lot of the people he used to work with (what seemed like half a lifetime ago) were still working there.
My Dad said he was shocked and amazed at how old they had all got! Of course, he was fully aware of the fact that he’d gotten old too, but said that he just didn’t feel it himself.
How often do you hear someone saying “well I certainly don’t feel 70!” and so on – people just don’t feel like life has aged them in a way that, again, maybe they did in previous generations.
6. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks
This idea that you can’t learn when you get older is pretty much old itself now. Indeed, medical and scientific types tell us that it’s essential to keep our brains active and to keep connecting the synapses so that we don’t age ourselves mentally.
Which would you rather be: a person that sits down with a puzzle book, or someone who gets behind the decks and makes those connections using the music that they’ve loved for all their lives? For me that one’s a bit of a no-brainer.
7. You’re likely to have more time, money, and determination in later years
Having both the time and the money to spend on your DJing hobby is something that people in full-time work with responsibilities are often extremely jealous of.
Maybe retirement is, in fact, a great time to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn. In our community, we certainly see a lot of students in this age range taking this seriously and learning to DJ very quickly by putting in the required amount of hours.
Read this next: Learn To DJ – The Proven Method That Will Work For You
3 Tips To Get Started
So there are plenty of reasons why it’s never too late to learn DJing. We’ll leave you with three tips which have come from our community, and especially from some of the older DJs who’ve learned to DJ here at Digital DJ Tips with some of our courses.
1. Ask yourself if not now, when?
If you feel too old to DJ now but you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, how are you going to feel in ten years time when you have the same conversation with yourself? As a wise person once said, it’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t.
2. Don’t fear the technology
A lot of people tell us: “I’ve done some DJing before so I don’t consider myself a beginner, but the technology has changed completely.”
We get it, it has – but ultimately there are just four things you need to actually DJ:
- A couple of music sources where you can alter the speed of them for beatmixing
- Something to mix those sources together (ie a mixer of some kind)
- A pair of headphones so you can listen to one of those music sources while your audience is listening to the other
- Some speakers so your audience can hear what you’re doing
Those four things haven’t changed and every DJ system that’s been invented since two turntables and an analogue mixer allows you to do those four things. As long as you know how to control those functions, the rest is optional and you shouldn’t let fear of it stop you doing this stuff.
In our courses, we make it very clear how to identify the features you need to start doing what you came here for, which is to play the music you love and share it.
3. Don’t try to do it alone
You’re going to have a lot of doubts, a lot of queries and a lot of challenges to overcome in learning to DJ at any age, but especially later on in life. What you need around you is a community of people to help and encourage you.
Here at Digital DJ Tips we have DJs of all ages. Everyone who buys one of our courses is immediately invited to be a member of our StudentHub Facebook Group, where DJs of every age encourage each other and where there’s no sniggering or laughing or name calling – quite the opposite in fact.
Learn to DJ with us: The Complete DJ Course
It’s a wonderful place to share your triumphs, to ask your questions, and – yes – to have a moan every now and then when things haven’t gone quite your way in your hobby! We think it’s a vital part of learning to have a community to do it with, which is why we’re so proud of our big vibrant community of people of every age within our school.
So it’s true – it never is too late to be a DJ. Don’t let your age stop you doing this – and good luck!