The level of success of one’s performance isn’t measured only by how many people were on the dance floor, how smooth the transitions were, or even how efficient the planning was. It is the combination of everything that you do throughout the event.
And just as you shouldn’t over-emphasize any one element, there can be things that you may be neglecting, and by doing so, missing opportunities to make a positive impression on your clients.
For example, since it seems that people aren’t paying much attention during dinner, this is when most DJs play
“background” music, while they prep for the dancing portion of the event. I’m here to explain why doing so can be the
biggest mistake a DJ can make.
As far as listening to the music is concerned, I submit that the guest?s attention is no greater than during dinner where their focus is on conversation and enjoying the food. They are being “entertained”
mainly by listening to the songs that you play. So, it’s actually a chance to show the guests your talent and pique
their interest, in essence, to “prime” them for dancing later.
Dinner is one of my favorite portions to spin at an event. This is where I get to be creative in the mixes I generate, as well as show off the personalities of my clients. My goal during dinner is to show the guests that they have a talented DJ in the house, and that the event is going to be unlike any event they’ve ever attended. I achieve this through proper programming, mixing, and my display of excitement while playing each song.
As salad is served I keep the music more upbeat (110 BPM and above). The idea is to greet the guests warmly
with music that excites them and helps generate the party atmosphere they are expecting.
Have you ever noticed the level of anxiety some guests have as they enter the room to find their seats? Why not make the guest’s first impression of you the best it can possibly be, by making them comfortable with some fun music.
The upbeat music starts building energy for the rest of the evening. People generally tend to focus more on conversation than the meal at this point so the music fits perfectly. Some songs I tend to play are, “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time” by James Brown, “Give it Up” by Marvin Gaye, and “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors. Pending the crowd’s reaction to each song I may go more toward rock or more toward funk, more new school or to old school.
This can also be an indication of the type of crowd you have: who the partiers are, who will need some coaxing, and
who’s counting the minutes until dinner is over so that they can leave.
Once I decide on the genre of music I am going to play, I then focus in on the melody and lyrics of songs that will match. One of my favorite mixes to play is “Then He Kissed Me” by the Crystals, into “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin. At the end of the first song, The Crystals sing the chorus three times. When the beats are matching I begin to mix in the next song, while bringing the volume in right at the lyric, “I kissed her and she kissed me.” The adrenaline is unlike that of normal mixing for people dancing.
Although it’s exciting, instead of looking for the entire crowd to turn with awe, I look for five people to do so. These
are the people who comprehend how I performed the mix on multiple levels. The communication from me, the DJ, to the guests, through the music, is what sets the tone for the evening and plants a strong memory of a great DJ in their minds.
This process of mixing during dinner and impressing the guests with your programming is key to setting you apart from your competition. It?ll produce more interested potential clients at your events, as well as make the events more fun for you. Remember, most guests wouldn’t be able to tell you about their friend?s DJ, because he/she was just ok. In order for the guests to remember you (which potentially equates to booking you) you have to give them something to remember.
Were you the DJ who played the wrong first dance song? Were you the DJ that was just ok? Or were you the greatest
DJ they?ve ever experienced at an event and the topic of brunch the next day? MB
Matt Blank started his entertainment career during high school as a dancer for a DJ company, then
went on to cultivate his natural talent for mixing music and emceeing while at Millersville University. Matt has been published in Philadelphia Brides Magazine and was a speaker the 2012 Mobile Beat DJ Show in Las Vegas.
Filed Under: Issue #147
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