Learning how to prepare your DJ set will become easier with experience, in fact with the right amount of confidence and experience you will have to put less and less time into preparing your DJ sets. If you are organized enough it will become like second nature.
I want to make one thing clear from the beginning – you do NOT want to be preparing your DJ set to the point where you have the tracks in order ready to go, this is a very bad habit that you want to give a wide berth. Get organised yes, but don’t become robotic.
Preparing your DJ set is more about packing your bag, going over your tunes and getting organised.
Preparing a DJ Set - Organization is Key!
You need to have your music organized, there is no one way to do this, everyone has a different method, the most important point is that you need to have it organized, you need to know exactly where everything is.
Leave yourself with no surprises. You need to be prepared for all situations, you need a plan B.
Let me explain:
Say you were playing at an electro house club so you only pack all your best electro house tunes. What do you do if you come on after a DJ that has been dropping progressive house tunes and they have been tearing the house down?
You need to have options in your bag, you need all scenarios covered. Ideally in this situation your tunes will be that organised you will know exactly where to go in your bag to find the perfect transition tune, something that stays true to your style and who you are as a DJ but also something that has more of a progressive feel to it. You don’t want to interrupt the vibe or mood of the dance floor. The idea is to build from the last DJ, not crash and start again.
You can still drop your best electro tunes that you packed and planned to play but you need to work your way to them strategically, you need to take the dance floor on a journey opposed to abruptly starting to play them because that was your plan.
The things that you need to be thinking about and ask yourself when preparing for your DJ set include:
What club am I playing at?
What type of music is the club known for?
What time am I playing?
Who am I playing after and what style of music do they play?
What have the promoters said they expect from me?
What tunes do I think will best suit the timeslot I am playing and what tunes do I think are best suited to the party or club I am playing?
Everyone prepares their DJ set in different ways; the key note if you want to become a quality DJ is to be organized. If you are organized then you are well placed to make strategic moves when needed. You are ready for whatever the dance floor or club has to throw at you.
Preparation is king leave nothing to chance!