No matter how long you’ve been DJing you can always be more prepared for a gig. In fact DJs who have been working the circuit for awhile—but not too long—are more likely to forget critical programming tips than those who’ve just learned. So if you’ve been DJing for 6 months to a year, make sure you remember basic DJ tips.
Preparing for a gig is just as (if not more) important as what you do at the gig. Being prepared for your gig is the same as being prepared for any other job, a little bit of preparation can help you avoid some embarrassing mistakes that can affect whether or not you get another paid gig.
Keep reading to find out what you need to do to prepare for every gig.
Sort It Out
One thing that many digital DJs forget since most of us don’t operate in a world of vinyl is the art of crate sorting. Of course if all of your tracks are digital you’ve never had to deal with this tedious but necessary gig prep task, but even with digital tracks crate sorting is a necessary evil.
Digital ‘sorting’ means figuring out what songs are coming with you and which ones can leave their party shoes at home. New DJs often want to bring everything just in case you get some obscure request but the truth is that having too many tracks to choose from can be even more problematic. If you spend most of the night browsing through thousands of tracks then you’re just a glorified jukebox, not a DJ.
Figure out what type music you’re playing for the night and take what you need, plus a few extra. Leave everything else at home!
Play What’s Popular
Just because you know about all the hottest and newest underground artists to hit your city doesn’t mean that every audience will welcome them with open arms. Your entire playlist doesn’t have to include all the songs in rotation on pop radio, but you should make sure you throw in a few commercial jams or radio edits of some popular songs.
There’s a good reason for this; it makes everyone feel like they’re part of the party. Regardless of the age or relative coolness of your audience, you want to play a few songs that just about everyone knows to encourage them to get their butts on the dance floor. You may not love Beyoncé or Lady Gaga, but chances are good that a few of your audience members will.
A common mistake made by DJs just starting out is to start the party with a bang and wear out all of your biggest hits early on. If you do this, there is only one place for the party to go: DOWN!
Avoid this rookie mistake and break up your bangers throughout the evening. The best way to do this without boring the audience to death is to play teasers throughout the night. Take those hits that you’re just dying to play and tease them as transitions between more um, mediocre songs.
Teasers are a great way to get the crowd pumped up for what’s to come! Even better is that you’ll have partygoers requesting these songs you’ve already planned and when you finally get to them, the dance floor will be packed!
Regardless of the genre of music expected at your upcoming gig, never ever be afraid to throw some old tracks into your virtual crate. Whether it’s techno, hip hop, pop or dance, true music lovers will get a kick out of older tracks and it can really enhance your performance.
The key to choosing older tracks is to choose popular or cult hits that are sure to go over well with the majority of the crowd. Never underestimate the power of a good old tune.
When planning your set for the night ahead, feel free to add in a few new tracks your audience may not know. So many DJs want to be cutting edge that they often play nothing but new tracks that have yet to hit the radio or club circuit, frequently to an empty dance floor.
The best way to feed your desire to play new tracks without turning off the crowd is to add in a few new tracks that are appropriate for your particular audience. A techno crowd may not appreciate your latest pop or trance track.
The mark of a really good DJ is his or her ability to play an incredible last song that also keeps the crowd amped but not so amped that wrapping the night up turns into a hassle. It takes some DJs years to figure out the art of choosing the right tune so the crowd leaves sated and orderly.
You can choose the obvious route with tunes like ‘Hit The Road (Jack)’ or ‘Closing Time’ or you can choose what you think is the perfect song to end any party. Bring a few with you and decide after you’ve read the crowd. At a club there will always be security to help steer the crowd, but at conferences and weddings it may be all up to you.
How you prepare for a gig will determine how smoothly the night plays out, so spend more time planning and you’ll spend less time freaking out over last minute decisions.
I hope I helped you with becoming a disk jockey and preparing for your first gig. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to prepare for DJ gigs!
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