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What makes a top DJ?

This list of skills is based on our BIG FOUR learning strategy. The BIG FOUR is created from the experiences of our coaches and their colleagues, combined with the input of hundreds of talents visiting our school.

The BIG FOUR and this list answer the question:
What are the skills of a top-dj?

If you have all these qualities, you are amongst the few dj’s who can move an audience, keep everybody dancing all night long and give their fans the feeling time stood still for a few hours.

1: TRACK (Develop your selection)

– You have developed your own, distinctive sound
– You spend most of the time looking for tracks that are unique
– Those unique tracks fit your style
– You can find the right balance between playing commercial or not
– You can surprise a dancefloor with unknown but great tracks
– You know which songs are familiar to the majority of your audience
– You know how to ‘bring’ a hit within your set
– Every song you play has a reason
– You know when to shift to tracks from different genres or eras
– You know when certain hits are ‘over’
– You know which tracks are credible and which are not
– You can anticipate requests and judge if those are playable
– You can improvise within your own style
– You can aticipate the audience’s reactions

2: TIMING (Create flow)

– You have a very well organised track collection
– You can find any track quickly
– You can find out quickly, what will work for your audience
– You can play a set of an hour, with a clear (energetic) development
– You can play a set that satisfies the majority of the people hearing it
– You can play a whole night (4 to 6 hours) without sounding boring, and without unnessesary style changes
– You can play a whole night (4 to 6 hours) in an energy curve, that keeps people ‘in the house’ as long as possible
– You are constantly in communication with your audience and sensitive to their behaviour and reactions to your tracks
– You can anticipate energy changes on the dancefloor without changing your style
– Based on the reactions to your tracks, you can decide quickly what would be the best choice for the next one
– Based on the reactions to your tracks, you can plan on how your set should develop
– You know when to make tempo changes
– You can anticipate people (groups) coming and going on your dancefloor

3: MIXING (Apply musicality)

– You can make a tight beatmix, with or without a BPM indication
– Every mix, you choose to make a dropmix, beatmix or effectmix, depending on the track you chose
– You can predict which track will sound best, being mixed with the track that is playing
– You are aware of the volume on the dancefloor and other spaces where your music is being heard
– You never play too loud
– You adjust your Master Volume based on the mixer LED’s and your ears
– You know how to spin using most of the common dj-mixers
– You know how to spin using most of the common CDJ/USB-players
– You are able to connect any dj-gear
– You can fix inaccurate connected dj-gear
– You can hear, detect and fix common problems in the sound coming from your speakers
– You can anticipate different dj-gear then you expected
– You can anticipate the failing of dj-gear
– You can anticipate a track that suddenly stops playing

4: IMAGE (Build engagement)

– You have an open and positive appeal
– You come across like you are enjoying what you do
– You look proper and you are dressed to the occasion
– You respond polite to requests
– You are ‘in control’ when unexpected things occur
– You are never late
– You arrive at your gig in time to make contact with your booker, the people organising the gig and fellow dj’s
– You know what your booker expects from you at a specific gig
– You can handle comments and critisism
– If you can’t make it to a booking, you let it know in time
– You always try to exceed the expectations of your booker
– Your social media is up-to-date and looks professional
– You use your social media to keep your audience posted and invite them to parties
– You only post relevant, high quality and shareable things
– You have a well written and multi-purpose profile/biography
– You work on a growing network of colleagues, bookers, labels etc.

You have all the above mentioned skills and you are still openminded, developing and social.