Readers, as you may very well know, I’ve been bit by the jitterbug. I’m crazy about swing dancing. To be specific, I’m “jazzed” about Lindy Hop.
It’s pretty darn great. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest it.
Lately, all I’ve listened to is swing music. I’ve even been DJ-ing at different events. It’s pretty fun.
Different things I’ve learned along the way:
1) Be aware of yourself
Pick out songs that YOU personally love! If you like it, it’s highly suspect that other people will like it too. It may also be something that someone hasn’t heard before, and you will have introduced them to a new artist or band.
2) Be aware of your audience
If you’re playing for a beginner crowd or a more advanced crowd, your set list will change a lot. I’ve found that a comfortable bpm range for beginners averages around 130 – 140 bpm. I always try listening to a song with the thought, “if I haven’t heard this song before, would I be able to dance to it?”. Things that might make me answer “no” to this question would include sudden tempo changes or pauses in music that are hard to anticipate.
3) Always strive to explore and find new music
It’s easy to get in a musical rut. I know you really love that version of “Fine Brown Frame”. But if you start to play it every week, I assure you your dancers will get sick of it. Try looking into different versions of your favorite song, or other songs by that artist. I try and challenge myself to repeat songs minimally, and also refrain from playing songs that I hear played a lot at swing venues. I want my dancers to be surprised by the music! The music should differ with each DJ, not be the same every venue you go to.
Have you ever tried DJ-ing music before? Doesn’t have to be specifically swing. If so, what are your experiences? Please share them below.