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January 26, 2010


DJ 101

With the recent increase in milonga venues locally, I foresee a demand for more DJ’s who can arrange decent and danceable music. Now, drawing on my personal experiences and from reading sources online, here’s a basic list of skills I consider necessary for anyone starting out*:

  1. Understand the role of a DJ.
  2. Awareness of pros and cons of softwares available for the job.
  3. Basic approaches on how to a) “pace” for a milonga, b) plan the flow of tandas.
  4. Start to build up a collection: where, how of acquiring music.
  5. See/hear some sample tandas to understand the reasons for their construction.
  6. Develop a ear for danceable music**.

Finally, I think a part of DJ’s responsibility is to get to know your dancers so that you can cater to the right audience!

* Naturally this is not meant to be exhaustive or it won’t be 101 anymore!

** Given that some of the budding DJs may be inexperienced dancers themselves (e.g. as in the case for our community), this may be tough to begin with. One suggestion is to simply watch dance floor to see whether it is chaotic or not, i.e. lots of confused faces that is different to the “not-dancing-to-music” phenomena… 😉

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