Advice for DJing College Parties
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  1. #1
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    Default Advice for DJing College Parties

    A bit unsure if this is the place to ask this, but I'll post it anyway. If this is the wrong forum for this, I apologize.

    So I'm entering the world of DJing in college, naturally I'd start at college parties. However my first couple of gigs have been interesting. First two gigs I consider failures due to tech issues, but when I was DJing a bit I played only Progressive and Electro House (it was and still kind of is all I got). Noticed some people got into it, but at the same time I realized I may have mixed too quickly and later when I switched to a Top 40 playlist the floor became packed. Not exactly a good start for a new guy...

    Anyway, my last gig I started playing Top 40 remixes almost exclusively. I usually played them end to end since I assumed people would like to hear all the verses. I didn't get many people on the dance floor, and when I was down to one couple I just said "Fuck it" and switched into Prog. House. The party itself was just weird in atmosphere for there to be a DJ so I'd say that was part of the issue.

    This leads me to my question.

    For college parties/bar scene I'd assume you'd want to play Top 40s and remixes, but for how long? I can't tell if playing them end to end would cut it or be an issue for the crowd and bore them. When should/can I transition into more traditional EDM? On two occasions I've had people ask for Trap, which I don't have and can't even figure out why or how I'd mix it in with Top 40s.

    Basically any advice for a beginner to keep a decent flow with a crowd of college students would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    I wanna do this! I've only just joined college, there is loads and loads of articles out there on how to read the crowd... What tunes to play next, the list goes on etc. Only in England it's a bit different in my particular area, where most people will be quite happy to dance to some skanking Drum and Bass or Jungle... But you just have to see these things:

    - What kind of party is it? Is it your friend's sweet 16th, or is it your cousin's 22nd birthday? Who will have loads of older mates who like different kinds of music.

    - What kind of people are there and what clothes are they wearing? Are there twats with UV EVERYTHING on, or is it people wearing oldskool raving gear (which is rare these days) or are they wearing suits/ties/dresses or casual wear?

    - Check with the actual person who's putting the party on what music they want, because after all it is their party. You can always mix and match

    - 10 couples getting on it on the dancefloor? Backspin then drop some phat grinding tune for example Dancehall (Vybz Kartel is good ) or something like that, they'll love it

    Okay I'm losing the objective now but try googling it... How to DJ at a party. There must be loads of stuff out there, I believe Digital DJ Tips did something. Check it out - will look now for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru dripstep's Avatar
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    Being a dj is more than standing behind the music and getting girls. Its more than mixing perfectly. Djing is about reading the crowd, knowing what you should and shouldn't play, and keeping the dancing bears happy. You can't just throw on some top 40 and think it will pack the floor, especially in college. These kids have a bigger taste in music than highschool kids, and a lot turn down top40 because it's "generic".

    You need more music than top40 and house unless you are spinning just that, and know that people want that. If you are playing and you have gotten the floor down to one person, you already were playing the wrong music too long. Now, there's a flip side to this, because I don't know what your house parties were like. I have spun at parties for friends where nobody danced, i was just providing background music. That's totally cool too, but then the key is to play tracks that make people say "I love this one!" they don't necessarily need to dance.

    Good luck on your college quest, you have much to learn young one.
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  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dripstep View Post
    Being a dj is more than standing behind the music and getting girls. Its more than mixing perfectly. Djing is about reading the crowd, knowing what you should and shouldn't play, and keeping the dancing bears happy. You can't just throw on some top 40 and think it will pack the floor, especially in college. These kids have a bigger taste in music than highschool kids, and a lot turn down top40 because it's "generic".

    You need more music than top40 and house unless you are spinning just that, and know that people want that. If you are playing and you have gotten the floor down to one person, you already were playing the wrong music too long. Now, there's a flip side to this, because I don't know what your house parties were like. I have spun at parties for friends where nobody danced, i was just providing background music. That's totally cool too, but then the key is to play tracks that make people say "I love this one!" they don't necessarily need to dance.

    Good luck on your college quest, you have much to learn young one.
    +1

    "It's not about the skill of DJing, it's about the music you play and how you put it in order"

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru dripstep's Avatar
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    Oh, if you're a terrible dj, i won't listen. Skill plays a part, as does the music you play, but it's about research. Who's going to be there, what do they expect, what kind of party, etc. You will start to know which people like what (I assume you will play a bunch of college parties) and you will get tomorrow know certain people and what they like. Get the party thrower on the dancefloor, and more will follow. Get the girls on the dancefloor and everyone follows.
    2 x gemini PT 1000 . Gemini PS-525 . X1
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mighty FV View Post
    manners don't cost a thing dude - never forget that, it'll help you in all walks of life.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru ImNotDedYet's Avatar
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    Every night has the potential to be different, so you can't DJ the same place two different times and expect to play the same tunes, getting the same response. At a college party, your first goal should be to get a number of girls on the floor. Dudes typically aren't going to be the first/only people on the floor. Your job as a DJ is to see what's going to get them out on the floor. If you're getting requests for trap, explore the genre and buy a few tunes. Learn how to mix them into what you'd normally play. Don't "blow your load" early in the night playing the hot songs while people are still getting drunk. Play some more obscure stuff and slowly build into the stuff that people will dance their asses off to later when everyone's hammered. Certainly you've been to weddings/parties/clubs. The big "banger" tunes don't get played right after dinner at a wedding or at 9 or 10 PM at a party/club. They come when everyone has been well lubed up.

    As far as how long to play, depends on the remixes...are they 6 or 7 minute remixes? All you need to play is the part that's "familiar" to people. Usually the first 32 - 64 and last 32 - 64 bars are just taking instruments in/out of the song to make it easier to mix for remixes/progressive/electro. Know your songs and where the "real song" starts and ends. You want to mix in and out anywhere between those spots that sounds good.

    You're going to have nights where masses of people just aren't going to dance. Don't be discouraged. If you've gone through everything you've got and can't find what they want to dance to, at least try to get some phone numbers or whatever you kids do these days.

  8. #8

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    I've only been out of college 2 years and i DJed those parties for 3 years. The parties can be a total blast when things go right, but every once in a while the crowd reacts to nothing. I've come to notice is that there was a nice pattern at every party, and we picked up on the habits of our guests.

    You have to understand that a lot of these parties are shorter than a night out at a club, and the students have to pack in as much fun in small amount of time. I would always play high energy, top 40 remixes early in the night. Stuff with lots of bounce, 125-130bpm stuff, because when they all first arrive their first mission is to drink as much as possible before the booze runs out (only if their 21 of course, underage drinking is illegal).

    After about an hour or so, your mission becomes to get the girls on the dance floor. By now they've had a few drinks, have socialized with their friends, and are ready to dance. But no one wants to be the first person to awkwardly dance by themselves, so you need to have a slammer of a top 40 track (not a remix, and yes, I sound so lame calling it that, but its true). Hopefully they will swarm the floor and sing along and hold hands and such. The men will follow once they see the opportunity to join the girls. Now you can mix in something different and unique and let it go for an hour, but nothing too obscure that they wouldn't recognize.

    At around 1am or so they start to get tired and you need to slow it down to some hiphop/trap, something they can bump and grind too. The mood changes very quickly and hiphop is great to get the groups to split up into couples.

    One thing to always remember is to not get stressed if it doesn't go well at first, don't panic and switch styles too frantically. Breathe, relax, and just groove. Most of these parties were at my house and I had a lot of trial and error (a lot of error the first few months), but after a few events we figured out how it worked. Good luck and be safe

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    They come when everyone has been well lubed up.
    This

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor Daily Crisis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDude8547 View Post
    I've only been out of college 2 years and i DJed those parties for 3 years. The parties can be a total blast when things go right, but every once in a while the crowd reacts to nothing. I've come to notice is that there was a nice pattern at every party, and we picked up on the habits of our guests.

    You have to understand that a lot of these parties are shorter than a night out at a club, and the students have to pack in as much fun in small amount of time. I would always play high energy, top 40 remixes early in the night. Stuff with lots of bounce, 125-130bpm stuff, because when they all first arrive their first mission is to drink as much as possible before the booze runs out (only if their 21 of course, underage drinking is illegal).

    After about an hour or so, your mission becomes to get the girls on the dance floor. By now they've had a few drinks, have socialized with their friends, and are ready to dance. But no one wants to be the first person to awkwardly dance by themselves, so you need to have a slammer of a top 40 track (not a remix, and yes, I sound so lame calling it that, but its true). Hopefully they will swarm the floor and sing along and hold hands and such. The men will follow once they see the opportunity to join the girls. Now you can mix in something different and unique and let it go for an hour, but nothing too obscure that they wouldn't recognize.

    At around 1am or so they start to get tired and you need to slow it down to some hiphop/trap, something they can bump and grind too. The mood changes very quickly and hiphop is great to get the groups to split up into couples.

    One thing to always remember is to not get stressed if it doesn't go well at first, don't panic and switch styles too frantically. Breathe, relax, and just groove. Most of these parties were at my house and I had a lot of trial and error (a lot of error the first few months), but after a few events we figured out how it worked. Good luck and be safe
    Good advice here, this guy knows what he's talking about

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Have a large glass of water and a wank. Problem solved.

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