- Oct 16, 2011
What is the date of the event?
Kid shows are tough. Their likes in music can change in a heartbeat.
This was a free event for me. I'm looking to maybe get into the school events around here, as I know most other DJ's aren't interested so I offered to play for free. I know the school dances/events don't pay more than a couple hundred bucks at best, but I enjoy it and the money is just a little bonus perk for me anyways.
I just did a joint teen dance (6, 7, & 8 graders) that was a joint event between two private country clubs. I hadn't done this age group in quite while but it's always EASY and FUN. My library is up to date - so, I started with a list of about 60 songs (3 hours worth) that I know generally work well, or are current radio hits. But that list is really just a backup and to cover the first 30 minutes while everyone is arriving and getting comfortable.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.
Asking for requests isn't the issue, as I welcome them and take them (no note pad... just take em verbally)... it's knowing if they're going to be effective, that separates the skilled dj from the inexperienced one. I get requests from guys at Sweet 16's and teen dances all the time and their the most random songs that no one's really heard of... how do I know... well at Sweet 16's I'll ask the girl during a break, "hey I got this request, you cool with it"... she has no idea what song that is, and usually she's in a group with other girls and they all look at you confused with what that song is and who asked for it.I just did a joint teen dance (6, 7, & 8 graders) that was a joint event between two private country clubs. I hadn't done this age group in quite while but it's always EASY and FUN. My library is up to date - so, I started with a list of about 60 songs (3 hours worth) that I know generally work well, or are current radio hits. But that list is really just a backup and to cover the first 30 minutes while everyone is arriving and getting comfortable.
I OPENLY ASK FOR AND TAKE REQUESTS FROM THE KIDS.
Fully two-thirds of what I played were songs requested by the kids. Sure, there's some stuff I don't have (usually for good reason) or will pass over - but not a lot. The kids WANT to hear the songs they request and they are generally very good choices if you have the talent to put them together into a great sequence. They are the best resource available for finding out what is popular, or trending with them. The remaining third of the music were my selections based on experience and what was needed to transition between requests and keep the dance floor pumped up.
I don't generally use request pads - I talk directly with everyone who approaches me. On this night the hostess brought out some pads and pencils and the kids made good use of them. I continually refer back to these pages and IT MATTERS THAT THE KIDS CAN SEE ME CHECKING THE PAGES and ACTUALLY PLAYING THE SONGS.
The kids are cooperative and helpful when it is clear to them that we TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY and VALUE THEIR INPUT. If you're at all dismissive or fail to respect that this is THEIR event - you'll get the same disrespect and rebellion in return. Arrogance will only encourage them to play you for a fool every way they can.
I also charged them just under $500 and now have a regular house arrangement with the clubs displacing other DJs who have been over-charging and under-performing. (Their words, not mine.) What the clubs want is performance rather than excuses, and both facilities are just 15 minutes from my home. The dance was on a Tuesday night, semi-formal, from 7-9:30 pm, no lights, just two speakers on sticks, and a rocking dance floor.
The best part of these gigs is not the money - it's being forced to stay relevant - and then being able to take that fresh experience with me into other more significant events including weddings, galas, and more where other DJs sit in their comfort zone growing more stale and boring with every passing year.
If you can deal with the attitudes, and the hassles...
it can lead to regular, although low paying gigs.
... if you're overperforming and exceeding their expectations... you're not charging at minimum what the other dj's were charging. You charge what you believe you and your time are worth (up to others to decide if it's worth it).
What threshold needs to be met to constitute something as a career? Is it a certain income, longevity, ability to retire from it, etc? The person that's a teacher considers their job a career, yet they make less than most full time dj's, and in my opinion work much much harder with way more stress. Just curious how you're defining it.It's not realistic in this day and age to think of DJing as a career, that was the 80's and 90's and a lot has changed since then. Being a capable DJ has to lead to something else or you're not growing vocationally or personally.