If DJing is a career, should we sit exams?

dj exams degree

It’s clear that DJing is not just a popular casual pastime, but is increasingly becoming an actual career path. But it is one that has little in the way of formal qualifications — you just turn your love of music into something more, with perhaps some Youtube tutorials or paid courses as your training. But as shown previously, the UK examination boards are beginning to take such things seriously, as is a local non-profit social enterprise called DJ School UK.

They’ve engaged with the exam boards to help move them in the direction of formal qualifications. And in their research, they’ve uncovered a diverse range of feelings about if professional DJs should have formal training, or if it’s more of a self-taught passion. But as a small local outfit, their reach is small — I didn’t even know about them and they’re just 18 miles away.


So I’m asking for the DJWORX community, no matter where you are in the world, to help them get a better idea of feeling about formal DJ education. Please fill in this survey — it’s just 4 very short pages with no personal info necessary, and in particular fill in the final box expanding on your feelings. Or you could add something in the comments below this story for them to read.


Much of this depends on how you view what you do. Do you view DJing as a creative performance like a pianist or guitarist? Do you feel that the only way to prove that you can DJ is to actually DJ? Or would a qualification with grades at least give your clients and (in the case of a residency) employers a really solid starting point when looking to give out work?

For me, devoting time to a qualification shows dedication, and speaks more about their character than watching a few Youtube clips and perfecting the fist pump. My worry is the qualification itself, and the validity of what is being taught. Having started and left a couple of formal creative training courses, it was clear that I knew more than the lecturer and refused to use software that wasn’t used by anyone in the commercial world. So there’s a clear danger that what is being taught could have no relevance whatsoever, especially as gear is evolving so quickly. Schools in particular are notorious for having borderline antique tech and ancient computers with out of date software.

And it’s all well and good talking about this in a school context, but what about further education? Should you be able to take a degree in DJing and Production and immediately walk into a Ministry of Sound residency? Or will a DJ qualification be strictly limited to school?


Even if you feel that DJing as a career shouldn’t depend on bits of paper, have your say now. Take the survey anyway or leave comments below, and help DJ School UK put the right case forward.

Ultimately the question is this — do you think that having a formal qualification in DJing would be a good thing, a bad idea, or just unnecessary and why?