Improve your DJ gig performance with these simple tips

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Photo Credit: arty_k

In our fast-paced world, DJing now goes beyond the process of playing the latest songs, switching records, and matching tempos. Nowadays, being a Disc Jockey implies understanding audience control, mood acceleration, and general coordination of the music of an event, club, or show. Long story short; the crowd expects you to give to them something that suits their mood at all times during a show. Sounds like a big deal? Well, it’s not so big a deal for top-end turntablists because they know exactly what modern DJing is about. Now to the million-dollar question: how can I improve my DJ gig performance? Mastering the fundamentals of DJing is one thing, but understanding audience control through ingenious mixing is another thing. Indeed, being a DJ isn’t a matter of luck or try-and-error, but what you will find in this article is a list of tricks meant to help you improve your gig performances.

Practice well ahead of time

Indeed, practice brings perfection they say, right? Well, if anything at all, you need an absolute spell of preparation and days of practice if you are you to perform excellently at your next show. Rather than taking a lackadaisical approach towards an event, always plan and prepare ahead. If possible, create a virtual knowledge of what you are going to perform at the event. Typically, the knowledge of how you intend to perform makes for a full-hearted gig performance. In fact, every successful DJ you see today has paid the price for the reputation you see them enjoying through days, if not months of practice. In truth, no one expects you to pre-arrange your performance set prior to an event, but it is essential that you understand fully what is expected of you at the venue. Adequate preparation will not only enhance your gig performance, but it will also save you from any potential embarrassments.


Being flexible as a DJ creates a wealth of opportunities for performances. While it’s absolutely cool to stick with your own type of sound, it is also essential to consider being flexible too. Remember that there are different shows, different audiences, and as such, there are different gigs too. Therefore the onus is on you to create different playlists out of your wealth of tracklists that will suit these different crowds. The more playlists you are able to create, the more performances you are likely to get. As a rule, try not to categorize your playlists based on genre, but based on mood – which can be romantic, trippy, hypnotic, or energetic – and intensity (fast-paced, medium-paced, or slow-paced). This may seem daunting at first glance, but with your brilliant taste, strategic planning, and hours of practice, it will fall in line.

Prepare to play a set of perfectly mixed tracks

Sometimes, in order to improve the flow of your set, you can try combining a selection of tracks. Maybe before heading out for your gig or during your practice hours, find a set of four to five tracks that you know has the potential to mix well together, and which wouldn’t alter the existing rhythm or that can smoothly changeover without anybody noticing a difference. After this, find a new set of four to five tracks that follows the rhythm you are trying to create, until you have created a whole pile of playlists that can be categorized based on how well their flow relates. After which you can then structure those sets of fours or fives into a pattern of steady to sweet-sounding to energetic.

Get yourself a digital controller

Mixing can only get better if you don’t have to drag the mouse around your work area, right? Such is the idea behind the advent of digital controllers for DJing. In the not-too-distant-past, people were fascinated by a DJ’s ability to rhythmically combine the tempo of various songs while also perfecting the transition between tracks. This art, which was well appreciated in the past, is now one of the fundamental skills of any DJ. However, since the inception of computer software and digital combination, it is now possible for a DJ to run his setup alongside a digital controller like the 25 key MIDI controller. The possibility of controlling various elements of a gig setup directly with the MIDI controller makes the whole process of DJing easier than ever. MIDI controllers are great tools for record automation. Little wonder why many top-end DJs and beatmakers include them in their system setup. With this controller, the entire process of arrangement, fader moving, and mixing is much easier.

Understand your audience

Understanding your audience doesn’t only imply finding out what the crowd loves – but also finding out the capacity of the venue, the number of expected audiences, and the type of music expected at the event. As a pro DJ, you are also expected to display some signs of sonic empathy, which means you have to be able to understand the mood of the crowd, and then transmit that into sounds that affects them positively.

Uday Tank has been working with writing challenged clients for several years. His educational background in family science and journalism has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys writing content after researching and analyzing different resources whether they are books, articles or online stuff.


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