How to Be a Good DJ

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While food, drinks and people can make a good party, it's the DJ that makes it great. Being a good DJ is more than just playing music. It's about controlling a room, revving up a crowd, putting love in the air, hyping up the dancers or entertaining the kids. A good DJ must know his audience, his event, what to play when and sometimes even coordinate the event's activities.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to diverse music
  • Turntables and/or digital music device
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Know your audience. The first step to being a good DJ is to be aware of the types of people who will be present while you are playing music. You should know their ages, musical tastes, purpose for being present at the event and relations (will you have parents, kids present, event sponsors?). Knowing your audience will also let you know if you should spread your business via cards or website references.

  • Know the event. Knowing the event that you're working will let you know what type of music you should (and shouldn't) be playing. This can also determine whether you're going to be playing master of ceremonies by announcing shifts in the agenda, like at a wedding reception.

  • Bring more than just music. Being a good DJ will also involve bringing additional entertainment. At a New Year's Eve party, a DJ might bring several attractive dancers to help hype up the crowd. Or you could hold a raffle or dance contest for a small prize. A DJ with a great personality and a presence can make herself memorable and marketable.

  • Have both physical and digital music backups. A good DJ will have one main music system (either CDs, albums or MP3s) and a backup system in case any technical problems arise. A DJ career can end quickly due to technical difficulties. Have your fallback plan ready even if you never have to use it.

  • Have request lists and playlists. Having definite playlists is a huge step towards being a good DJ. What kills many DJs is that they deviate from the agreed playlists throughout the event. Also have a non-play list and respect it. Many DJs have ended their careers by playing songs that are adult in nature and inappropriate just because of a party-goer's request.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have professional cards and a web presence available.
  • Watch out for music that may not be acceptable to your audience.

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