All DJs are music enthusiasts and your love of music is probably what made you want to become a DJ. But being a good DJ is about more than loving music and learning how to use fancy high-tech DJ equipment. It is also about reading your crowd and setting the mood for social events.
DJing parties—any type of party—is all about the play lists. Not just what music you’ve chosen to set the tone and theme of the event, but also the order in which you play the songs. This is something that no DJ school or class will teach you, but rather something you’ll have to learn from one gig to the next.
Learning how to create play lists is a special skill that can determine how successful you are as a DJ so keep reading for a few basic tips.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
When you create your play list for any given event you should make sure you cater the list to the type of crowd you’ll have. A wedding play list for example would be much different than a list at a strip club or night club party. It is up to you to get as much information about the crowd as possible so you can create a play list that will have them up and dancing until their feet hurt!
For an older crowd you may not want to add a lot of popular dance tracks to your play list, but rather some old school jams they’re sure to know and love. For a younger crowd, newer is usually better, so keep that in mind.
Every type of party has a few staple songs that they always want to hear whether it’s ‘Single Ladies’ or ‘YMCA’ or the ‘Electric Slide,’ adding these songs to your play list will always please a crowd.
When creating your play list sprinkle party favorites throughout the list, rather than bundling them together. Play a staple song early on to get the party going and play one guaranteed to wear the dancers out right before meal time or awards, depending on the party venue. Even at a club you want to make sure these party favorites are played throughout the night to get those stragglers to the dance floor.
One of the most important aspects of setting up a party play list for any DJ is the order of the songs. You don’t want to start off with a slow song because you want to get the party started in an upbeat way and a dance track is the best way to do that.
Keep slow songs during the middle of the event, and particularly after a long set of faster dance songs. A well placed slow song can keep people on the dance floor instead of fleeing to the bar to rehydrate.
Figuring out the best play order for any event will take some time, but attend these events as a civilian as well so you can see how other professionals create their play order.
Speed It Up
When creating your party play list, it is your job as the DJ to envision how the party will go. This will help you figure out when the party needs to get amped up so you can find the perfect tunes to play. For most parties it is a good idea to keep faster songs playing most of the night, however for weddings you will probably want to add more slow songs that you would for other events.
For club venues you will need to figure out how many fast tracks you want to play in a row without clearing the dance floor for the next set. The key here is to find the perfect rhythm of songs so that you never have an empty dance floor. Again, this will take some time but you should always pay attention to what others do and take notes for the future.
Slow It Down
The most difficult aspect of creating a party play list for any DJ is when to slow it down and how long to keep it slow. Slow songs have a time and place at parties, but too many slow songs and your party might turn into low key affair that could translate to low energy for many partygoers who came to dance.
Say Good Night
How you end your set is just as important as how you began it, which means you should think long and hard what your last few songs will be. A good rule of thumb is to NEVER end your play list on a slow song. Slow songs make for a lackluster way to end the evening, whereas the perfect upbeat party favorite can top off a super fun night of partying.
Even if you don’t want to play ‘Livin on a Prayer’ to end your party, you should always have a good time song that just about everyone knows and loves and most importantly, wants to dance to. Finding that perfect song isn’t easy, but asking questions beforehand can help you figure it out.
Don’t be afraid to do your research on the crowd before you create the list. Ask the person who hired you what kind of song would best describe the crowd so you have an idea how to give them a proper party send-off. If all else fails, ask someone you know who fits the party demographics for their input.
I hope I helped you figure out how to create awesome playlists. 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 and create playlists that keep the crowd dancin’!
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