Every DJ can get it from time to time – nervousness, self-doubt, and uncertainty before a gig. A DJ can also lack the confidence needed while playing on stage in front of an audience. This blog will reveal some ways you can maximize your confidence both before a set, and during a set.
“Confidence - The belief and feeling that things will turn out well.”
The key to confidently going into a DJ set lies in great preparation. How we can go about this is to know what music will work in the night club, and in our time slot. Having a good understanding of what will keep the punters happy - and I am not saying play what all the other DJ’s play – but rather, knowing what has the potential to work musically and energetically is the key. So when you do play later on, and may get a little stuck on what to select, you will be better at improvising.
Researching and planning a set:
Watching what other DJ’s play in the same genre and in time slots similar to the one you will be playing is a great way to take most of the guess work out of planning a DJ set. This will also show you what will work and not work in a club when it comes to music selection. This can save you time when planning a set, to make you more confident in your selection process. I am not saying pre-program an entire set, but it is good to have that inner knowledge of what could work.
No matter how good of a DJ you are, it is always a great idea to practice your set, to ensure that it flows energetically and musically, and to make sure it can work in front of an audience. This can be especially great for warmup DJ’s. Another great key is to visualize your set being played; put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and think about how they would react to the set you plan on playing. Always visualize a positive outcome and the set doing well, never focus on the negative or the “what if I….” This can help take the nervous edge off, the more you do it.
This also can help with the nervousness issue. Getting to a set an hour early can do a world of good - talking to people before you jump on and getting to know them, as well as getting used to the club, equipment, sound and the surroundings. This can take your focus off of the set and help you loosen up, to get out of your shell, and build social confidence, as much as confidence in general.
Moving on stage:
This is a big one, and there is a science behind it – when you move your body, it creates more energy within the body, which triggers the endorphins to make more positive emotional responses, which, in turn, makes you feel great. This increases the more you move your body. Also, engaging more with the audience will help take your focus off yourself; as DJ’s, we can tend to be very self-conscious when we are up there, so make sure you are active onstage in order to feel good and look good. Take note that the crowd can also tell if you are uncomfortable while DJing onstage, as you will not properly engage with the audience. When they are uncomfortable, you will feel it the most up there, so remember to move. Plus, no one likes a statue DJ.
Just play to gain more confidence:
The more you put yourself in situations where you may have some fear and feel uncomfortable, the more experience you gain, hence the more confident you will be when you have your next gig. The very thing you may have feared, yet had the courage to do anyway, despite the fear, makes you more competent in your ability for next time, and in turn gives you more confidence each time.
Gaining confidence comes down to great preparation (like planning and researching), movement onstage, having a positive attitude about your gig, and gaining experience by doing gigs that you may be fearful or a little doubtful about doing. This, in turn, builds experience, and the more experience you build, the more confidence you will gain.