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How To Make The Perfect Music Plan For Your DJ
When it comes to hiring a professional mobile DJ, communication is the key to getting the music you want played at your special event. Therefore regardless of the DJ you choose, without clear and concise instructions written down in your music plan for your DJ you will likely not be satisfied with the service you receive. As DJs we have a good understanding of many different genres of music and how they work with different event types, age groups and crowds, however we are not mind readers. Letting us know exactly what you want greatly minimizes the chance of any miscommunications and unnecessary disappointments. Today, I am going to tell you how to write up a simple and easy to follow music plan, and some important things you need to lay out in thea music plan so that your DJ doesn’t miss a single beat.
The Party Demographics
Before the DJ even arrives to your event, it’s good for the DJ to know about the demographics expected so they can anticipate the type of crowd they will be playing to. For example, if it’s a work function, it may be mostly made up of work colleagues between the ages of 25 to 60. At netball club event, it may be mostly made up of girls between ages of 16 to 17 accompanied by their parents and siblings. At a wedding celebration, it may be made up of kids, family and friends from ages 5 to 70. Having a good idea of the demographics before arriving to an event can help us DJs to know what to expect when we arrive.
Here are some useful demographics that DJs would like to know:
1. Types of people:
- Work Colleagues
2. Male or Female:
- Mostly Female
- Mostly Male
3. Age Group
- 0 – 10
- 11 – 18
- 18 – 25
- 25 – 40
- 40 – 60
- 60 and over
4. Ethnic Background:
- If the group is predominantly of a specific nationality
Your Taste In Music
The next thing your DJ should be well aware of is your personal taste in music. This does not need to be a huge list but some of your favourite songs and artists from the last 70 decades. I would suggest writing up about 5 to 10 songs and artists that really resonate with you as a person and give the DJ a good idea of the type of person you are musically.
Artists or Songs You Don’t Like
Once the DJ knows some of your favourites, it will likewise help if he or she knows some songs or artists that really get on your nerves. For some people this could be mainstream pop artists like Beyonce or Lady Gaga, or the old cheesie classic line dancing songs like The Nutbush, The Bus Stop or The Macarena.
The Background Music
Okay now the DJ knows some of the background info, event demographics, dos and don’ts, now is time to make the actual music plan. Now for most event types which include a 3 course meal, or even a cocktail party, there are two main parts to the music plan. The background music, and the dancing music. The background music is the first part of the evening while people are arriving, having finger foods and cocktails, or seated at their tables enjoying a meal. For this segment the DJ needs to set the mood with various styles of background music that elicit different emotions. You could choose for a laid back selection of contemporary music, the sophisticated sounds of jazz, acoustic guitar covers or love songs, the choice is yours. All you need to do really is make a list of two or three genres that you would like people to hear when they arrive and are mingling with others at your event. If you want to be more in control, then you can write up a list of 20 or 30 songs that you really like and let the DJ choose the rest.
Now at some point for most private events there will be some kind of speeches or announcements to make. This usually happens about 90 minutes to 2 hours into an event and will break things up a bit and lead into the dancing segment of your event. You may not need to make a complete time schedule for your event however it’s a good idea to let the DJ know ahead of time when will be the speeches or awards taking place.
CLASSIC HITS OR NEW, WHERE TO START WHEN THE DANCING KICKS OFF
There is no such thing as a hit party without throwing in some classics. This of course depends on the type of event you are holding, however for most private functions one thing that has proven to work on the dance floor time and time again is the old classic hits from the 50s to the 90s. So before we move into the dancing music first you must make a decision about the direction of the music. You need to decide whether you would like the DJ to kick off with the oldies and end with the new music, or start with the new music and end with the classics. What’s the difference? Well if your event is made up of mostly older people, family, friends, work associates, then you will want to start with the classics so they can have a bit of the dance while the night is young, and end with the newer music because the younger generation will dance to both anyways, whereas the older generation will dance to the oldies, but not necessarily stick around to the end for the new music. Alternatively if the event is made up of mostly younger people then it’s sometimes a good idea to start off with the latest hits to get the dance floor going, and when everyone is a little drunk and having a good time blast back to the past.
So here are your choices. After the speeches, what would you like the DJ to do?
- Start with the classic oldies and end with the new
- Start with the new and end with the classic oldies
Once you have decided that write it down into your music plan.
The Dancing Music
So after the speeches the dancing segment of the night takes off. Once again, as you did for the background music you will make a list of genres to stick to, and if you want to be more specific make a list of songs. You can keep it simple with genres and artists or you could make a list of songs to play too.
One important thing you will want to let your DJ know is if you want them to take requests from your guests or not. Generally it is a good idea to allow request so that people at your event can participate in the song selection and have even more fun on the dance floor. It also helps the DJ to get an idea of the type of people in the crowd. You may however decide that you don’t want the DJ to stray too far from the song list and that requests are not allowed, that is fine also. Make a note on your music plan so the DJ knows the rules.
Making Time Schedule
Not every event needs to have a time schedule or run sheet. Usually however they are recommended for corporate events with multiple awards or weddings. The time schedule will keep the DJ informed of everything that will be happening in the order that they happen. You can even include specific songs to be played at specific times. A time schedule is also very helpful when your event will have a dedicated MC. You can also include meal times, names of people people being introduced and doing speeches, and anything else that may be on the agenda.