School & Teen Events My first School / Teen event

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LittleTreeGuy

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Jul 30, 2021
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So I did look around the forum a little but didn't find anything real recent. Hoping maybe someone might be willing to point me in the right direction. As school is winding down, I may have a chance to play at a local middle school's "play day". Basically it will be 7th & 8th graders outdoors on an astro turf field with different "stations/activities" going on for several hours. The kids can pretty much do whatever they want.

My delima... I've only really played at bars, private parties (for adults), and co-dj'd a couple of weddings. I feel like I have a pretty good music library for the bars in my area, the private parties I've done, and most weddings. The more I dig into my music, the harder it seems to be to find music I feel comfortable playing for these kids. Obviously, I'll go with "radio" versions where I can (no explicit lyrics) and due to their ages, I'm not going to play anything "suggestive". I've sat here for the last couple of hours and I've only got about 65 songs so far. lol. I've even googled "top middle school dance songs" and the like. I have a BPM Supreme basic membership, but they don't really seem to have a huge selection of what's current.... which maybe like other things, current songs aren't the greatest. Anyone have any suggestions?
 

sawdust123

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This age group is tough. The girls tend to like whatever pop is current. My niece and her friends are this age and they really love BTS right now. But she is cool, she also loves 80s punk/ska and Johnny Cash (good parenting on my brother-in-laws part).

The boys at that age will request all the songs their parents don't let them listen to at home. They can be a pain with their no-play requests. I had a few gags to put them in their place. I had Richard Cheese versions of songs and even some pop and rap done polka style. I would ask the kid his name and give him a shout out for requesting this song. The embarrassment would stop the requests for a while.

I should also point out that the attention span for this age group is just 7.2 seconds (give or take). Expect to need to change songs quickly.
 

adj2ent

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Oct 20, 2006
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I’d said the best thing is to get it from the horse’s mouth. Ask some of the kids what they listen to behind. I’m sure it will be stuff on Tik Tok, other mixes off of YouTube,. I know my kids didn’t listen to the radio at all when they were in school. Hopefully someone here can giv3 you some guidance. When I was playing for Junior high I kept the music squeaky clean.and played a combination of new stuff & older stuff I knew they would dance too. Now they want everything quick mixed, really only the hook, 30 - 60 seconds then off to the next song.
 

rickryan.com

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Some friendly advice, put out a notepad/pen for the kids to make requests. Then, DO NOT PLAY THEM! The kids will always want current/explicit material and it's the quickest route to never be called again. Stick with Disney re-makes and ultra-G-rated material. You're playing for the staff/principal. That is who will be calling you back (or not).
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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My advice is if you don't feel you can pull it off and get things done right, then pass the gig by and let them find another DJ to do it. In other words if you're not feeling comfortable about doing the gig then don't do it. One thing you have down pat is the music must all be clean. The problem with that even if it say a clean version, some songs even if it's the clean version it still maybe only so clean. So not much difference in either version.
 
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LittleTreeGuy

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Jul 30, 2021
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My advice is if you don't feel you can pull it off and get things done right, then pass the gig by and let them find another DJ to do it. In other words if you're not feeling comfortable about doing the gig then don't do it. One thing you have down pat is the music must all be clean. The problem with that even if it say a clean version, some songs even if it's the clean version it still maybe only so clean. So not much difference in either version.
While I don't disagree with you, they can't find anyone to play music for them. The DJ's in the area all want $500+ to do any event. I enjoy being around students (I was almost a teacher, I've coached, helped with scouting, our church youth, and other school activities). I have the equipment, the time, and the willingness to ensure the kids have fun. I know our local school systems fairly well, and they just don't have the money to do much. I'd rather play a little gig for free than have those kids take home fundraisers for their parents to take to work and sell candy bars. LOL They may try to pay me a little, but I'll most likely just volunteer my time and services a few times a year. It's good publicity for me, practice time, and maybe an adult will keep me in mind for a gig down the road.

I'm going to work on polling some more students in that age group and see what I get back. I asked my son right after I posted this last night, and was a little surprised... it was a lot of 80's-90's pop/rock. I'm listening to every song from start to end that I put in my crates for this age group. It's going to be clean, and not leave any question whether it's appropriate or not. It's not worth taking a chance these days.

I appreciate everyone's feedback so far. I guess it's just going to take a little more work to prep and prepare than what I had originally thought. It's all good though.
 

djtaso

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While I don't disagree with you, they can't find anyone to play music for them. The DJ's in the area all want $500+ to do any event. I enjoy being around students (I was almost a teacher, I've coached, helped with scouting, our church youth, and other school activities). I have the equipment, the time, and the willingness to ensure the kids have fun. I know our local school systems fairly well, and they just don't have the money to do much. I'd rather play a little gig for free than have those kids take home fundraisers for their parents to take to work and sell candy bars. LOL They may try to pay me a little, but I'll most likely just volunteer my time and services a few times a year. It's good publicity for me, practice time, and maybe an adult will keep me in mind for a gig down the road.

I'm going to work on polling some more students in that age group and see what I get back. I asked my son right after I posted this last night, and was a little surprised... it was a lot of 80's-90's pop/rock. I'm listening to every song from start to end that I put in my crates for this age group. It's going to be clean, and not leave any question whether it's appropriate or not. It's not worth taking a chance these days.

I appreciate everyone's feedback so far. I guess it's just going to take a little more work to prep and prepare than what I had originally thought. It's all good though.
Just be careful… you don’t wanna be the DJ that bombs on this and has their reputation tarnished with this group, especially if it’s a small town. The last thing you need is to give those $500+ guys more ammo as to why they should go with them.

with that said, your library needs to be massive. It can need everything from ymca/I will survive, to mr bright side and sk8r boi, to bodak yellow and way2sexy. The key is to know the best parts of the songs. Most sweet 16’s I do, I’m only playing one verse… max 2 before moving on. It is extremely easy to lose momentum with kids, as they only react to one part.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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You did say they don't have the money to spend to book one of the other DJs in the area and that's why they are looking for you to do it. I'll bet they really do have the money but just don't want to pay it because they can get you to do it. I worked for a school system before retiring and I would get paid something. I'm talking about in the 80's when I first started. I worked in a school where I would take the day off, get paid for the day and get paid to be the DJ. I would use a sick day or personal day so that I got paid from the job. Now not to beat you up so don't take this personally. You said you're willing to do it in hopes of having the adults contact you about doing something for them or someone you know. We had that happen twice. First one was in a park and it was for a one year old birthday celebration. A clerk working in the office in the school I worked at got us to do it. The other was a teacher that we became friends and he had us do his GF's 50th birthday celebration. We did do a few events for the school where I worked at outside of the school at a venue. Just saying.

Now to be honest I worked in a super small school where I volunteered to play for them. It was a school that went from pre-K to first grade. I was just helping out because I really liked working there. I hated the lady that was in charge. Actually nobody in the whole building liked her. I won't go into why we didn't like her. I will just say the rest of the staff was crazy about me.
 

sonic-vision

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Is that the school where you got your name the mixmaster?? Bleach & ammonia !
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Is that the school where you got your name the mixmaster?? Bleach & ammonia !
I'm what I call a master mixologist. I consider myself like a bartender who is great at mixing drinks.

Now one thing I forgot to mention. When I did work for the schools they would pay in a check. They didn't pay in cash. The reason is they had to show what the money they were spending was for. There was a guy on the other forum that did big productions for schools who lived in Florida and got paid $1,000's of dollars. I don't remember his name. I just remember he would make Taso's setups look like nothing compared to what he did. He had a team like Taso to help with his setups and was getting paid much more than Taso. Not saying that's where you're headed. Just pointing out the schools do have some money to spend. Maybe not a lot but they can pay some money. Maybe not as much as those other DJs wanted and that's why they didn't book one of them. If you do the event please do a gig log of the event with some pictures. Wishing yo well if you do the event.
 

sawdust123

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You are referring to Arnoldo Offermann (DJ Crazy Ace) and his company 4SO Productions (4SO = For Schools Only). He is a prom specialist. He also designs the trade show booths for lighting vendors. His setups are over the top and are designed to make teens feel they are at a posh nightclub. Here is an old promo video I found of his
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkBC1i1czlg
. They are impressive set ups but not appropriate for weddings. His more recent videos are even better.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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You are referring to Arnoldo Offermann (DJ Crazy Ace) and his company 4SO Productions (4SO = For Schools Only). He is a prom specialist. He also designs the trade show booths for lighting vendors. His setups are over the top and are designed to make teens feel they are at a posh nightclub. Here is an old promo video I found of his
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkBC1i1czlg
. They are impressive set ups but not appropriate for weddings. His more recent videos are even better.
Thanks. You mentioned his setups were not good for a wedding. What I remember is what he was getting paid to do such events 99.9% of brides wouldn't pay that much for a DJ to perform at their wedding. I wonder how he's doing these days?
 

adj2ent

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they can't find anyone to play music for them
At first I was wondering why you’d want to put yourself through it all. But now it makes sense. I’ll let you in on a little secret, occasionally I help out my kids school, I don’t talk about, don’t even really handout cards. Sometimes you want to give a little back. As you are right every school isn’t like the 70K per year prep school which can afford to bring me in, some schools don’t have the budget or the parents groups which fund activities.
Proms are a different animal now, schools are bring in the type of systems used at colleges and colleges have moved to concerts level stuff. Most of it goes all the way back to the 1990s when a company called BWI (Brian Winthrop international) which did the large corporate events started bring to college campus their very large setups with truss over the floor when Video Dance Parties were the big thing.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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One thing for sure. If you do the event quick mixes or transitions from one song to the next. Scratching is good with that crowd if you know how. I couldn't do it because my brain can't think that fast to find the next song to play that quickly. Lol.
 

sonic-vision

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One thing for sure. If you do the event quick mixes or transitions from one song to the next. Scratching is good with that crowd if you know how. I couldn't do it because my brain can't think that fast to find the next song to play that quickly. Lol.
Practice & enjoy .
 

Ausumm

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Oct 21, 2008
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your library needs to be massive. Most sweet 16’s I do, I’m only playing one verse… max 2 before moving on. It is extremely easy to lose momentum with kids, as they only react to one part.
I agree if it were a sweet 16, or a school dance.
But remember, the DJ at these "Fun Day" type events is strictly background music.
It is a big outdoor picnic that also happens to have music.
There will be SO much going on to distract them, the kids may OR may NOT have any interest in requests.
We're having one this Thursday for the 1st and 2nd graders at my school.
I offered to DJ, but the gym teacher is just gonna hook up a powered speaker
and put music on auto-pilot. (he plays music for gym class every day)

Of course, I don't know the details of THIS particular gig,
and I could be wrong.
In which case, you are correct...
you will need a HUGE library, and the song need to be clean.
(in lyrics and content)
 

djtaso

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I agree if it were a sweet 16, or a school dance.
But remember, the DJ at these "Fun Day" type events is strictly background music.
It is a big outdoor picnic that also happens to have music.
There will be SO much going on to distract them, the kids may OR may NOT have any interest in requests.
We're having one this Thursday for the 1st and 2nd graders at my school.
I offered to DJ, but the gym teacher is just gonna hook up a powered speaker
and put music on auto-pilot. (he plays music for gym class every day)

Of course, I don't know the details of THIS particular gig,
and I could be wrong.
In which case, you are correct...
you will need a HUGE library, and the song need to be clean.
(in lyrics and content)
Yeah I was referring more to the original posters event, not a “fun day” where it’s more laid back. I was under the impression it was a school dance… but upon further reading… it’s a laid back event. Just have a large library for random requests and just stick to fun main stream upbeat songs. Nothing too difficult in this case.
 
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