Over To You: Why Does My Gig Preparation Always Go Out The Window?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
preparation set planning
Last updated 26 November, 2017



Set planning used to involve putting 80 records into one of these...
Set planning used to involve putting 80 records into one of these…

Reader Grant Johnson writes with a problem that we hear in some shape or form pretty regularly, especially from DJs who don’t gig frequently. Here’s his question: “I’m a college student and up and coming DJ. I’ve played three gigs now and I really enjoy getting the dancefloor pumped up. However, I come to you with an interesting problem. I usually spend 20 full hours getting ready for a gig before the night of the event, which is quite a long time I think. Worse than that, however, is that most of this preparation goes out the window when it comes time to perform! Any tips?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

I guess you’re “starting from scratch” each time you prepare for a gig. I’d say you should build on previous gigs each time. Start with a tight, lean tune collection (if you have more than 500 tunes in your current set, you’re making work for yourself), then review what you played at the last gig, add in any new tunes you simply know you have to play, and go from there. That’ll cut down your prep time. It’s OK to deviate from what you’ve planned – indeed, you wouldn’t be DJing properly if you didn’t every now and then – but throwing all your preparation out of the window is a sign that you’re not starting from a position based on what you usually play at your gigs.

Beginning your planning with the history of what you actually played last time should help you to solve that. Luckily, most DJ software will show you what you played at your last gig – a great thing about digital!

Over to you. How can Grant prepare more effectively for his gigs? What kind of planning should he be doing to sensure it doesn’t all go out the window when he starts DJing? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.

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