Today we’re going to go through ways to prepare for your next DJ set or your next live performance in any capacity.
Your gear should be setup as close to what you’d be doing live as humanly possible, the closer the setup you practice on to the setup you perform on the more comfortable you’ll be and appear to the audience.
We all know and understand that having your material down is a no brainer but we often undervalue how important it is to know your gear inside and out. This defeats the possibility of an error happening and actually allows the music to possibly reach an even higher place with your mind now being able to focus more on the performance and at a high level of understanding improvisation.
In the moment when you’re performing, having to worry about poorly positioned synths, how to use something properly, why something may not be working like you thought it would or expected – these things are a waste of time and energy and detract from your performance and confidence. Gear is an amazing advantage that we have currently, but only if you know it well does it become an actual tool.
Song Order/Song Structure
To ensure the smoothest setlist and live experience possible, you should be playing the songs you’re going to play, from start-to-finish, in the order that they’ll be played at the performance. This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this when they show up to play.
The big thing to focus on here is that you want to not be thinking about any element that doesn’t relate to performing or playing to the highest level possible while live. “Is the 2nd verse the same as the first?” “Does this song have a bridge”, these are questions you don’t want to be going through when you’re trying to do something as demanding as performing to an audience.
The last element related to song structure is to make sure you’re playing your songs all the way to the end!! It’s a common mistake to be like “Well the last chorus is just repeated over and over again and it’s the same, so i’m just going to move on to the next track”. If you practice that way you’ll perform with that in mind, it’s better to do EXACTLY what you’re going to do on stage.
The same principle applies here. Will you be sitting or standing at this gig? Are you performing in a costume or is there specific clothing requirements? Are you going to be sweating? Do you need to get a hair elastic cause of your long ass hair? Whatever your answers to these questions are, make sure you’re asking yourself now and dealing with them prior than dealing with this stuff on stage.
If anything you can come up with here for physical problems in practice, is definitely going to be two-fold when you’re performing. The second thing about this is that you don’t want to be learning to fix these issues on the fly. Nothing feels worse than something going wrong at a gig and you having to fix it while performing (trust me).
Plan For Problems/Issues
If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. It’s the classic thing when someone comes over to check or listen to your new song, how many times has it not played or something randomly goes wrong, but when you’re working on it for hours not a single issue.
Now don’t go pulling knobs off your DJ console, or start replacing keys on your synth. But it is useful to have extra replaceable gear with you, say you use a specific knob or button all the time – it’s good to prepare a replacement for ease of mind.
It’s also good to practice playing with ailments, imagine you need to DJ a set and only one deck is working. You can’t just tell the crowd that your setup isn’t working, it’s best to try and do stuff that takes you out of your comfort zone, because that’s what playing live is all about.
With all these tips and tricks in mind, the main purpose here is that you’re comfortable, confident and prepared. This should allow you to leave all your stresses at the door and just focus on absolutely killing your set. Hope this was helpful!
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