DJ Seminars – workshops – conferences what’s the difference


A seminar is usually a taster. It is an introduction or an overview of an idea, a technique, a system, a service or a product The seminar is often given in the form of a lecture and will include the opportunity for questions to be asked of the presenter either during the event or as it is drawing to a close.This structure enables a large number of people to attend and evaluate whether the topic is worth pursuing or not as the case may be. Most seminars are of a duration of an hour or two or less.


Workshops are more interactive and practical. The presenter needs to engage with the delegates as individuals. Therefore usually the number of attendees is strictly limited. Much of the content is designed to be one on one or delivered to small “breakout” groups. People who attend workshops should be prepared to get involved. Delegates will be expected to do some practical stuff related to the workshop theme. A workshop will also include some style of critique. The presenter and the other attendees will be expected to pass opinion on exercises undertaken by the group. A workshop can often be a half day or full day duration.


Conferences can take many forms. Some will consist entirely of seminars while others are a mixture of seminars and workshops. In order for a conference to be viable they tend to be held on a much larger scale. In many instances conferences take place in dedicated venues which are equipped to handle large numbers of people. The venue will also be equipped with state of the art audio and visual equipment and have catering facilities on hand to feed the visitors. conferences can be a one day event or anything up to a week.

Why should I attend?

People learn and evaluate new ideas in different ways. Some people can read an article on-line or in a book and translate the written word into a process. Others are not so fortunate. They need to be shown how something works. Many of us need to be “Hands On” in order to comprehend an idea or method. Seminars, workshops and conferences gives the attendee a chance to ask questions, see for him or her self and seek clarification and support from presenters and fellow delegates. Often other people in the room will share their experiences and knowledge of the subject so that others can reason and evaluate the topic under discussion “in the moment” rather than having to reflect or review what had been presented at a later date.

Cost verses value.

Generally the cost of attending an event is considered to be a legitimate business expense and is therefore a tax-deductible investment in your business. So one way of looking at it is that such education is free and that the real cost to a business owner is his time. Time invested in a business is precious so one would expect an educational event to result in added value to your knowledge and skills. Attending a seminar, workshop or conference will not in its self improve what you do in your business. Implementing new ideas, methods and systems will!

Networking – the added bonus.

A spin-off from attending educational events is the networking. Meeting and talking to people in your profession can be very therapeutic. You will be surprised at how many others are in a similar situation or who have similar issues and challenges in their line of work. Often solutions are shared in an informal environment over a cup of coffee or a drink in the bar. Simply knowing that you are not alone and that others are facing the same situations can be inspirational and will prompt you to see things in a new light.

Education can be fun.Take off your blinkers, step out of your comfort zone and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. You’ll be glad you did.


There is a new breed of wedding DJ in the UK

New image – new skills – new focus – new ideas – new clients.

There is a very quiet revolution taking place across the United Kingdom.
Mobile DJs are shedding their dated images. Gone are the huge speaker systems which deafened audiences. Gone are the banks of flashing lights and strobes which dazzled and bemused your guests. Gone are the egotistical “all about me” DJs who are only interested in playing their music and consider the party to be a huge success when the dance floor is “rammed”. [Even though you can only get twenty people on the dance floor and there are 200 people at the party]

If you look in the right places you will find a new breed of wedding DJ. One who has embraced new technology and invested in a compact sound system which still delivers great digital sound but does not need to be the size of a wardrobe. The lighting has also been reduced to create a more sophisticated, soft and atmospheric effect. “Mood lighting” can now illuminate the venue walls as well as the dance floor.

Dance floors too are changing. Drab wooden floors are being replaced by stunning sparkly floors which are available in a variety of colours. Available in Black, white and pink [or a combination of the three] as well as floors which can change colour at will thanks to modern LED DMX technology.

More and more brides are concerned about the “Look” of the venue and our new breed of DJs appreciate this and are investing in new equipment which facilitates this new image.

The Specialist wedding DJ is also investing in himself and developing new skills which enable him or her to offer new services which are a natural extension to his existing music and sound knowledge base.

Civil Ceremony.

Many DJs now offer a custom music package to enhance and compliment a civil ceremony in a hotel. They will work with a bride to ensure that the selected music is played at the right volume and most importantly is edited to ensure maximum effect especially during the processional and recessional stages of the ceremony.

Grand Entrances;

First impressions count. You DJ has the ability to introduce the bridal party into the room. He can select rousing, dynamic sound beds which will add tension, suspense, emotion and energy into the room. If you want your Wedding Breakfast to “get the party started” you would be well advised to seek out a new breed specialist wedding DJ.

Master of Ceremonies.

If you would rather not have a professional Toastmaster host your wedding reception why not ask your DJ to be the MC. Many DJs have this skill set and the talent to make announcements. Usually this is in a far more relaxed style and one which reflects your personality. Many DJs are now researching the Toasts and traditions associated with weddings and are keen to share and introduce to you little “Spotlight Moments”. They are designed to personalise your wedding and make it be remembered as being different and special. Microphones are also often provided for toasts and speeches should they be required.

Cake Cutting

Do you know why there is a wedding cake? More importantly why you need to cut it and share it with your guests? Will you pose for the photograph, stick a knife into the cake and have it taken away to be cut or will your DJ / Host do it differently. Will he or she share the history and the full details of the ceremony and invite you to “Spotlight” that moment by doing something your guests have never seen before?

First Dance – Father Daughter Dance – Family dance.

A wedding reception party is like no other party and is a one-off, never to be repeated event. How will your first dance be received by your guests, Will they be involved or will it go unnoticed . Has anyone ever mentioned the idea of the bride dancing with her father to a special tune? How about the idea of a custom song for the bridal party – a family dance. “Spotlight moments” don’t just happen. They need to be organised, produced and directed by an expert. In this case the expert is our new breed of specialist wedding DJ & party host. He or she has the skill and talent to present these dances in such a way as to involve every one of your guests. Photographers and videographers love the way such dances are produced. Your guests will enjoy them too. In fact they will be talking about your wedding reception for weeks, months and years to come – for all of the right reasons.

Enjoy your wedding, relax in the knowledge that the celebrations are in good hands. Seek out a new breed of specialist wedding DJ today and set up a meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised how things have changed.

Where can you find the new breed of wedding specialist DJ?

Organisations like The National Association of Disc Jockeys, or  The South Eastern Discotheque Association and The Alliance of Mobile & Party DJs   would be a good place to start. There are also a number of groups on Facebook wher you can find like-minded DJs. Mobile DJ Network is one such group.

The January workshops – a review

A new begining

This year i brought in the New Year at The Beaufort Park Hotel In Mold, North Wales and found myself the following day on a train out of Liverpool heading down to Southampton. My latest workshop “Specialist Wedding DJ A-Z” was to be launched on January 2nd.

I was excited and nervous. When i write a workshop I have little idea as to who will be sitting in front of me on the day. Many of those in attendance had been to previous workshops while for one or two this would be their first time at such an event. This means the content has to be flexible enough to be relevant to beginners and experienced DJs as well as challenging enough to be interesting and stimulating to all.

On the day of the workshop there is always time upon arrival for informal chat over coffee and a chance to put delegates at ease while I prepare the documents and set up my computer and sound system. This half hour also helps me “Get into the zone” and focus on the day ahead.

My primary objective when presenting and hosting a workshop is to engage everyone in the room. I encourage people to speak out and interrupt / interject at any time. The difference between a workshop and a seminar is that there is INTERACTION. The delegates provide valuable content by sharing their knowledge and experiences just as much as I do.

Surprisingly It’s amazing how quiet and subdued a group of DJ s can be at ten o’clock in the morning! however if I get the introductions right and the first topic presented hits the spot then the room quickly comes alive. By the time we get to our morning break for more tea & coffee the room has a “Buzz” and the cross conversations are flowing. Often the information & views shared over coffee produce little golden nuggets which delegates can take away and add to their armoury of expertise.

During the workshop i show video clips from other leading DJ trainers and advocates. Glimpses of material available from Peter Merry, Jim Cerone, Randy Bartlett, Mark Ferrell & Rick Brewer are often included as well as material from You Tube featuring British and American DJs.


The current workshop focuses on opportunities for a DJ at a wedding. It goes into great detail about what actually happens at such an event and concentrates on what happens if a dj is NOT involved. Weddings are in danger of having all of the fun and emotion stripped from them by chain hotels who treat wedding as little more than, as DJ Dave Windsor describes them, “an expensive meal”.

Brides “Don’t know what they don’t know” and only you, the DJ, will be the one to tell them the reality of the implications of not hiring you “the Expert” Specialist Wedding DJ / Host.

Throughout the day we examine each segment of a wedding. opportunities abound for an interactive DJ who understands how music can add to the energy, dynamics and emotion of the ceremony itself as well as introductions and Toasts. It’s not long before delegates appreciate that they can bring unique skills and talent to a wedding reception. DJs who understand and appreciate the responsibility placed in them can reap many rewards not least financial by offering to be involved in the planning, production and coordination of the may ceremonies which make up the wedding day.

Step out of your comfort zone

The most interesting part of the day for me was when I asked delegates to write a simple introduction. It could be introducing a B&G onto the dance floor or an introduction into the room. I also add a little twist to this to make it more challenging and interesting. Its amazing how this seemingly simple exercise can produce very varied results. DJs in a small room among their peers can find this task difficult. It’s strange and uncomfortable for them. However the workshop is the best place they can do this. Practise and rehearsal are vital to getting things right and making things better. If you can’t do this in a rom of colleagues and friends how can you do it elsewhere without benefiting from positive critique and support.

By the end of the day the delegates are filled with ideas and have seen for themselves just how they can implement simple changes to what they are currently doing which enhance their performance and which brides will value.

Feedback has been very good.

Within a few days I had taken the workshop to Southampton, Reading, Maidstone and Glasgow. Around fifty Djs attended and many have already seen a change in their business. One attendee has managed, within a week, to secure two events at a significantly higher fee then previously and also booked his first all day wedding.

I was so pleased the other day to receive this testimonial from a DJ who has attended a number of my workshops. If you have any reservations about attending one of my events Dale’s story should overcome them.

An attendee wrote on January 25

2/3 years ago, a local DJ told me that he heard a rumour that a mobile DJ in the Liberty stadium in Swansea was getting ‘XXX’ much [per gig), which was more than double what the local average was. We chatted about how AMAZING it would be to earn that amount per gig but came to the conclusion that the DJ or the rumour was full of BS (lol).

About a year after the above conversation, I came to hear of Mr Pengelly and after reading numerous recommendations I attended a 2 day workshop run by him ( Wedding Marketing & Unlock the cash).

I was pretty quiet for the 2 days. I sat there like a sponge taking in as much as I could.

Over the last 12 months I implemented the changes in my business, took further workshops to increase my skill set, and had advice on tap from Derek whenever needed.

Last year was great for me. I took a number of weddings at fee’s I thought only household club DJs could earn, not local wedding DJs. The best thing is though that my job is MUCH better, I am appreciated more, valued more and feedback is better than ever.

Today I have a bride and groom coming to my home at 10.30 to finalize contracts and pay the deposit.

The deposit is the amount I charged 3 years ago and the overall fee is just under double what that DJ was ‘apparently’ earning at the stadium.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Mr Derek Pengelly – THANK YOU

Thank you for Showing me a new way

Thank you for making my customers value me

Thank you for making my job even more enjoyable

Thank you for showing me how to earn a livable wage

Thank you for changing my lifestyle – YES – my lifestyle has changed.


Good News – New workshop dates for March 2013

I have added three more dates and one provisional date – location to be confirmed.

Enter discount code “DAP” to get £10 off your ticket place.

Tuesday March 19th in Reading

Thursday March 21st in Bolton

Sunday March 24th in Leeds

25 -28th March? TBA – somewhere in the midlands

Thanks for your support:

If you can’t attend a workshop but would like an insight into the topics covered and a condensed presentation of the event including hints and tips on how you can become a Specialist Wedding DJ there is a CD / MP3 download available for £9.99

Buy it on Ebay here

The difference between Toastmasters, MCs and wedding DJ specialists.

There has been a great deal of debate regarding mobile DJs who are turning their attention toward expanding their services and presenting an alternative to the current choice of formal toastmaster and hotel duty manager, or family member, acting as a MC. So what is the difference?


Geoffrey Cornwell is a well-respected toastmaster. His website offers this explanation.           “A Professional Toastmaster is trained to find out what you want and to then liaise with everyone involved on your day.  He will work with all parties concerned and with your guests to ensure that timings and arrangements are complied with as you have requested them.  He will work closely with your photographer, caterer and other services to ensure that the day runs smoothly.  Your Toastmaster will guide you through your day and look after your guests to ensure that you enjoy a stress-free special day.”

He goes on to explain, “I will be available to advise you in etiquette and protocol from the day that you decide to use my services.  I can call on a wealth of experience to help you make decisions about your big day.  I will liaise with the other service providers to ensure that we are all working towards the same goal, which is fulfilling your wishes and giving you the best day of your life.”


An M.C. (Master of Ceremonies) generally will make announcements only, which will not necessarily be personal to the bride and groom. According to The Free Dictionary an MC is

1. A person who acts as host at a formal event, making the welcoming speech and introducing other speakers.
2. A performer who conducts a program of varied entertainment by introducing other performers to the audience.

So to my way of thinking there is no way a mobile DJ would or should ever consider comparing himself to a Toastmaster. His [ the Toastmaster] duties are heavily steeped in organisation and formality. He is usually authoritative in his demeanor and posseses a vocal ability which will not require a microphone except for the very largest of venues.

So where does the mobile DJ / Wedding Specialist fit in to the picture?

The DJ is well suited to taking on the roll of the MC. However the big difference between a conventional MC and a DJ / MC is MUSIC.

Music enables us to customise and personalise our announcements while also creating energy and emotion at one and the same time. Our use of professional sound systems and our microphone technique enables us to present introductions like no ordinary MC.

Jim Cerone, “The Perfect Host” is a DJ who has mastered the art of using creative music programming, presentaion skills and making announcements to great effect.
If we as DJs are able to communicate our difference and offer our brides a choice between toastmaster and conventional MCs we will be enhancing the occasion and presenting an alternative. We are not trying to replace either of these services, rather we are offering a brand new and unique service which the Toastmaster and ordinary MC are not able to offer. In short we are creating a new market which has not previously existed.

The only problem is that our brides have no idea that such a service is available to them. That is, until you tell them or you develop a reputation which results in your service being recommended by other wedding professionals.

Our knowledge of music and our ability to use it to create emotion brings another dimension to a wedding breakfast and wedding reception. The possibilities are only limited by our imagination. I have provided themed music where inspiration was provided by great theatre musicals, The Movies, Disney and  the swinging sixties to name but a few.

I’ve introduced a Bride and Groom into the room using classical favorites, love songs and even heavy metal numbers, all to great effect.

However taking on this new role also requires a great amount of responsibility. The DJ will need to know the procedures and traditions associated with weddings. He will also need to be aware of agreed time lines and of the obligations undertaken by other service providers. Most importantly he will need to establish trust with the venue management, none of which is easy or can be achieved overnight.

The Specialist Wedding Dj will need to develop his vocal skills and understand the importance of staging, direction and production. He or she will also need to be an excellent communicator.

In summary a DJ / MC needs to research the market, acquire the knowledge and develop a style which is unique. A style which is flexible and one which can best reflect his client’s personality and the kind of informal yet respectful performance best suited to his client.

This is an exciting and attractive opportunity for the new breed of professional wedding DJs. There are an ever-increasing number of professionals currently offering this unique service which is being well received by their clients.

Isn’t it about time you joined them?

Until next time………………………..