6 Ways To Maximize Any DJ Gig

Maximizing your DJ skills at every DJ gig!


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When new DJs get their shot inside the DJ booth they often make the mistake of playing it safe. It’s understandable; you’ve finally gotten where you’ve always wanted to be and you don’t want to screw it up. But playing it safe can backfire, especially if you’re just spinning the same tracks found on the top dance station’s countdown.

Your goal at any DJ gig is to do everything you can to give a performance that will have the owner booking you over and over again. This means taking risks so the clubbers actually want to stay and shake their booties on the dance floor. It’s a delicate balancing act that takes some DJs years to master, but it vital to ongoing DJ gigs. You need something new to show you’re on the cutting edge of the music scene and you want to be a crowd-pleaser to keep the venue packed until closing time.

Consider Your Energy

The energy you’re going for will definitely depend on the venue, but it is more about the crowd and how they’re responding. Each track has its own individual energy level, and how you weave the energy together will determine the vibe for the entire DJ gig.

You don’t want to play big ol’ club bangers while people are still trying to get by the bouncer, but you don’t want to interrupt a high octane set with a low energy track. The key to finding the right energy level is twofold:  the event and the crowd.

Whether your DJ gig is a funeral, a wedding or a corporate event you need to let the energy of the music reflect the environment.

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Old School

So many DJs are terrified of playing any tracks that may be viewed as ‘outdated’ or ‘uncool’ and honestly, that is just plain crazy. Music is music, some of it is older than others but that doesn’t mean we just stop listening to certain songs because they were made a few years ago…does it?

Trust me; when you’re putting out your own music you won’t be so opinionated on the release date of the tracks you spin.

You want to maximize your DJ gigs by mixing up your tracks and playing a few that make the partygoers reminisce and hit the dance floor to relive their glory days. For most of us, certain songs trigger really great (or not so great) memories. Certain songs make up the soundtrack of our lives and a reminder of those simpler times is always welcome.

No matter what genre you play, no DJ gig is complete without at least a few old school tracks.

Pay Attention To The Crowd

At any DJ gig you want to use the crowd as your musical compass for the evening. If the dance floor is filling up earlier than anticipated, do NOT stick to the same old warm up songs; skip ahead to a few faster high energy tracks. If you’re playing for a fashionably late crowd, extend the warm up set a little longer.

Paying attention to the crowd is like your own personal crib sheet. If they’re happy and buying drinks then the owner is happy…happy to book you for another gig! The best way to keep them happy is to give them (mostly) what they want. If mellow dance tracks are making them happy, keep it up. If certain songs or artists are clearing the dance floor, skip them for the night.

You can rarely go wrong if you listen to your audience.

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Add A Twist

Is there some new effect you want to add to your set or have you discovered a local artist with killer beats? Then add it to your set. You need something to make you stand out, but preferably something that isn’t gimmicky or cheesy.

Think of what makes some of your favorite DJs stand out and then search your creativity for a way to make your own DJ gigs stand out.

Play Something For YOU

Any DJ gig is a dance; most of the time the crowd is leading the dance. But every once in awhile, you get to lead a dance or two. That means that while you should be focused on entertaining the crowd with your musical stylings, you get to throw in a few tracks that make you grin like a kid on Christmas.

Some DJs will tell you that half of your set should be what you want to play, and that’s fine, as long as you and the crowd have the same taste in music. It is your job to present certain tracks in unique and entertaining way, but if the crowd isn’t biting your creative genius it’s time to give them what they really want.

Give them what they want and they won’t complain when you play a few that you want.

Take A Few Requests

One thing guaranteed to piss off any rowdy club crowd is refusing to play something they really want to hear. This doesn’t mean you need to let the crowd bully you at any DJ gig, but it does mean that you have a better chance at keeping them happy by taking a request or two.

If you get more than a few requests for a particular song, you should feel obligated to pay it. If you don’t you might start getting a reputation as a snobby DJ that only plays what he wants…not exactly the way to endear you to the crowd.

Every DJ gig is your time to shine, so maximize those gigs by keeping your eyes open and responding to the ever-changing landscape beyond the DJ booth.

I hope I helped you maximize every DJ gig you’re offered. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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