Whether you’re a new DJ establishing yourself or someone who wants to polish his control over the dance floor, there are basic How to DJ Tips that will make your work much easier. It takes time to learn some of the basic dos and dont’s, but if you’re willing to make a commitment to your creativity you’ll underscore your success.
How to DJ Tip #1
Play What They Want. Of course, before you can do that, you have to learn what they want. The important thing here is that your own musical tastes don’t count as it’s what your crowd wants that’ll keep them moving on the dance floor. But your instincts do count! Plan your playlist, well in advance of the event, by considering your crowd’s demographics. When the event planner first contacts you, fill out forms to gather information; don’t expect to remember things.
Who are the guests, and why are they gathering? The love songs you play at a wedding won’t go over at a political fund-raiser. Are they a reserved group wearing suits for the electorate or a party bunch all dressed up for a good time? What is their social temperature? What is the average age of the group?
Maybe you’re dealing primarily with twenty and thirty year olds, but will the group include seniors or children? Will you have more males, or females? The gender issue is important because while you’re getting your floor warmed up, females will go out and dance with each other, while the males will congregate together before they get jiggy with it.
How to DJ Tip #2
Learn How to Blend Tunes. If you’re still learning how to DJ, tips that you have to know include information about a given song’s beats per minutes, the length of the intro and outro, its key and rhythm, and its volume when you start it playing. Beats per minutes refers to the number of times you can count the drumbeat in a minute of the song’s playing time, and you should always play songs with similar beats per minute consecutively. That means you play about four or five rhythm and blues or hip hop numbers, which usually count in at the lower 90 BPM range, and after about five of them you move up to 95 or 100 BPM. Build it up then you can drop back down to around 90BPM and start all over.
And coordinating the musical key is important. Most people couldn’t tell you what key a song is in, just like they couldn’t name the various shades of blue, but they can tell when something clashes.
If you make a mistake with the cue button, just move on don’t try to restart a song, unless the crowd groans. Only change the pitch gradually, and try to adjust everything you play back to zero.
How to DJ Tip #3
Check Your Floor’s Pulse. Keep taking their pulse to make sure they’re alive. You can expect the crowd on the dance floor to change about every five songs, when dancers feel ready for a drink or a breath of fresh air. That’s when you move it from RnB to rock, and then later to Motown, and so forth, to draw a new floor.
You also need to be aware when the floor simply empties; it means you have to change what’s on your turntable, even if you do it in the middle of the song.
When people bring you requests, don’t promise them anything, but fill them if you can and if the event planner hasn’t forbidden certain songs. Be careful of graphic lyrics, because no matter what the median age is they will offend some of your floor. If someone asks for one of those songs, tell them “you’ll see what you can do”; never refuse outright.
You should also develop an instinct for how much patter the crowd wants from you. If you’re at a political event, then your voice is needed to announce the VIPs and keep the agenda moving. If you’re doing a wedding, then you can add a lot of tenderness in the way you introduce the newlyweds and their families. Make certain you know how to pronounce everyone’s names. If you’re DJ’ing at a Saturday night dance club, they probably don’t want to hear you talk too much on the MIC at all.
How to DJ Tip #4
Decide on Lighting. The best DJs limit special effects lighting at the onset of the event. For one thing, if no one is dancing the lights look silly. Once you get a few couples on the floor you can use some warm, low lights that will wash the floor gently and enhance the way people look. But avoid the flashy strobes, spinning lights, and other effects until your crowd is rocking.
How to DJ Tip#5
Be a Professional. Of all the How to DJ tips, this could be Number One instead of Number Five.
Ask your event planner ahead of time how you should dress. At a posh wedding, you might want to wear a suit or tux, even if you expect to play rock and roll. But you won’t know if you don’t ask.
Stay on your feet, because if you sit people will think you don’t care how the event is going and they want you to love it just as much as they do. Smile, and greet everyone who approaches you.
Have your business cards discreetly available if anyone asks, but don’t get involved in quoting a future job that distracts from your current job.
Never tell the crowd to get up and dance. If things aren’t going well, then keep your patter low, stick to your playlist, and take requests.
Even if you know how to DJ, tips like these will keep you on your toes; if you’re new to the business, then these will show you how to get and keep your dance floor. Above all, develop good playlists, and make certain you know them backwards and forwards.