Good DJing takes a certain set of skills that not everyone has. DJs need an ear for rhythm and timing, the energy to get people up and dancing, the technical understanding of how to work sound equipment, and good social skills for interacting with their audience. But beyond just interacting, a great DJ should be able to read their crowd. They should have an innate sense of what songs will get people onto the floor and how to shift the tone to match the mood throughout the night. How do DJs do this though? Is it something they are just born with, or is it something anyone can learn? If you’ve found yourself wondering these questions, we’re here to put your mind at ease. Let’s take a look at some of the tricks DJs use to read a dance floor.
DJs Know Their Audience
A great DJ will already have done some research before they even start playing. No two venues will have the same audience, so a DJ must understand their audience. If they are playing a wedding reception or party, a DJ will collaborate with the client to find out their likes and dislikes. This way they know what genres are appropriate for the crowd. If a DJ is playing a children’s party, it wouldn’t be appropriate to perform a set of heavy dance tunes. Likewise, if a DJ is playing at a club, the audience likely won’t respond to a setlist of adult contemporary hits from the 1990s.
A DJ must know who they are playing to read the crowd properly. Without having this information beforehand, they might not bring the right equipment or come with an inappropriate setlist. This is why it’s important to talk to your DJ beforehand and work together to set up the perfect playlist that’s right for your event and musical taste.
DJs Follow a Proven Structure
Remember back in literature class learning about the standard plot structure—introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and a conclusion? Well, a good setlist should follow this same structure. Outside of very specific venues, a crowd is going to need some warming up. If the DJ jumps straight into high energy tunes, it can scare off less confident dancers, making it near impossible to get everyone out onto the dance floor. A good set should slowly build tension, guiding even the most inexperienced dancers out onto the floor. Throughout the night, a good DJ will naturally turn up the intensity as the evening progresses to keep everyone into the dancing mood!
As more people feel comfortable enough to get up and dance, the DJ can then start mixing up the setlist. They should be careful, though, to watch the crowd. If it seems like people are starting to fall off, it could be because the intensity is too high, and people are starting to burn out. Dancing for a long time can become tiring, especially if the tempo is too fast. Reading a crowd means watching the crowd.
DJs Listen to What the People Want
It never hurts to put in some requests. Most people are happy to sit back and listen to what comes on, but if you have something you want to listen to, don’t be afraid to approach the DJ and put in a request. This is especially helpful at the beginning of the performance because it can help to set the tone for the rest of the event. Of course, keep the rest of the audience in mind. If your request comes completely out of left field, it might clash with the rest of the performance. Keep in mind that the purpose of the entertainment is to set an overall tone.
If you feel that the DJ is skipping around too much and not allowing songs to play through to the good parts, politely nudge them in the right way. If it’s your event, you have the right to organize it as you see fit. Just remember to be gentle.
Picking the Perfect DJ
If you’re looking to hire a DJ for an event or a party, Soundwave Entertainment can help you out. We have seven different DJs you can pick from; ready to help make your party amazing. Give us a call at (717) 225-5562 or email us at [email protected]. We’re experienced with weddings, children’s parties, sweet 16’s, and more. Let us know what we can do for you, and we’ll take care of it from there!