School jocks, look out!

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Old_Goat

Senior LDJC Member
"Interning". There's ALWAYS at least one "bedroom jock" in the crowd. How about interning the kid? He can talk it all up all week. Maybe?

"P-R". Meeting with the "committee". Do the committees still include the students? If so, can they be "pepped" for the show? Or, is it a principal, a guidance counselor and the prez of the PTA?
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
I still can't dance. You see me dancing,call 911 because there is an epileptic emergency happening:(

I guess I'd be dating myself, but...

A) Since when don't kids know how to dance and B) Since when did that matter?

I guess growing up in the day of "American Bandstand", "Shindig" and "Soul Train" had its advantages.

That leaves all the rest of the issues. Oh, well. Time marches on.
 

NickyB

Gear and Equipment Moderator
Great post Jodi ...... and I keep seeing a common denominator ..... "Kids just don't know how to dance!" To this day, I simply don't understand that BUT not everyone has a natural feel for rhythm and many are embarrassed to get out there for fear of someone's watching. I've always advocated "Dance like you're the only one in the room." I did that while instructing line dances then, and still do today .... for seniors no less. Just this past Saturday, I DJ'd a season opening POOL PARTY in Boynton Beach, FL at a retirement community. All the talk at the end of the evening was the line dances I taught and when was I coming back?

If I may offer a solution to them not knowing how to dance ...... take it upon yourself as a DJ and Entertainer to TEACH them how to dance and just maybe we can eliminate the need for such harsh regulatory rules! Kids have to learn respect, not just for their elders but more importantly, for each other!
 

Old_Goat

Senior LDJC Member
Great post Jodi ...... and I keep seeing a common denominator ..... "Kids just don't know how to dance!"

Kids have to learn respect, not just for their elders but more importantly, for each other!

It should start, though, Nicky, with themselves. Precious little of that around, for sure.

After all, you can't respect any one or any thing else until you respect yourself. Didn't Bruno make a song about just that? Might be a keeper for the playlists.
 

Chris Wagner

School Dance Moderator
Grinding is their dance. It's a far cry from a formal fox trot, but that is the recent generation's form of dance. So, when you tell a kid they can't dance, it's no wonder they won't go to event where they then just stand around.

That's the simple principle.

Now, there is the whole morality issue of whether grinding is an acceptable form of dance. However, a school would have to be pretty influential to change what a generation considers "the way to dance."

The schools that can navigate the balance of the two are the ones with successful dances. The ones that threaten Chicken Dance, turn on all the lights, and make threats, you might as well just shut down the dances while you're ahead. I've witnessed first hand a school that did this and their attendance has shrank by almost 50%. If you go from 3000 to 1500 to even 1000 because the school threatens to play 80s music for inappropriate dancing, there's not a whole lot the DJ can do to be successful (no matter how good). The students, those that come, already have a negative vibe for the school dance. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
 

Ausumm

Active Member
May favorite line from that article...

“Technology definitely allows the kids to find easier and faster ways to interact with one another,”

I'm sorry, but tapping on a keyboard is NOT interaction. I't not even a replacement for interaction.
It's AVOIDING interaction.
 

djgulfcoast

Mobile DJ Alabama
Interaction. If it isn't texting, or social sites, it ain't cool. Did a dance with 400 students (High School graduation) a few weeks back. Most got into groups and text. They would dance to the Wop, Cupid Shuffle, and Hip Hop (if they could do a slutty dance). The one funny moment of the night.... a group of guys sang Call Me Maybe to the girls. Slow dancing forget it. At the end of the night I got the "DJ DJ" chant, and they (the school) wanted me back for future dances. Dances are very different now, the music better cater to the whole collective. Kinda like the Borg on Star Trek LOL.
 

oldschooldj

Member
I dissagree, when they come to dances they all stand around in circles, moving a little, and texting each other :) I will say the average teen in my area can't dance a lick.
 

djgulfcoast

Mobile DJ Alabama
In a phrase. Short attention span. I'll have one kid come up and request a song, and 15 seconds later (same kid) what are you going to play next. They show up and sit around in a group, and text (the dance is secondary). Interaction = texting. I did do a dance for international students the other night, they danced. (group, slow, etc). They were a great crowd.
 

Drewbdo

New Member
Supply and demand, folks. ... If the dances suck, they're poorly attended. Most DJs will deny this fact, especially if they're the DJ in question.

Yep! I, for one, purchased Arnoldo's "Mastering School Dances" set of videos a year ago, and implemented several of his tips. I believe the price of the course is well worth the money. When I DJ'd back in the 90's, I was probably one of those "DJ's in question". ;)

I think A.O. is the most influential person to me (other than myself ;) ) on how I do it now. I was on the edge of buying the education until my county pulled a bogus regulatory red tape poop stain of a stunt. A.O. knows that story it's a little long winded but basically locked out all DJs except 2 or 3.

"bogus regulatory red tape poop stain of a stunt" :D I don't know what happened to you, but that description made me LOL. :) Anyway, I think if I was in your shoes, I would consider getting A.O.'s education, and then marketing to school outside of your county... where there is no "red tape poo stain". lol

Anyone consider that the school they are writing about hiring a crappy DJ a few years ago, so kids stopped showing up? ... We all know some DJs who would be the antithesis of this story - they show up and revitalize a school's dances.

Let's see what we can do to lure all of you that "DO" schools. ... Issues such as attendance break out to more than just numbers. It has to do with the demo of the numbers. Participation by admin / PTA counts, as well. issues including, (but in no way limited to), playlist issues, sound issues, lighting, effects, interactivity and of course. $$$.

Put the "shoulda-woulda-coulda" and egos aside, (hahaha! Among DJs! HAHAHA)...straight up numbers. Bookings up? Down? Tighter controls? Looser? Ticket prices? All of the issues that you can base it all on, especially as they affect YOUR show and/or YOUR market. As facts. In a row. Editorialize later.

I was a DJ for five years back in Texas in the mid-late 1990's and did a ton of proms, formals, homecomings, etc. We did not mix, had never heard of mixing or beat matching, and we rarely used lights, but we stayed busy. I got married, got a "real job", moved to Georgia in 2001, and got out of the business for over a decade. I only started my company in 2011, so I'm still new to the game over here.

How I got into schools.... In March 2013, I saw an ad on Craigslist from the hometown high school, let's call them "School A". The ad asked for a DJ to donate lights for their prom, less than a week away. I wasn't booked, and less than a week away, wasn't expecting to. I called the number in the ad.

The prom committee had hired a graduate to come back and DJ their prom, paying him $500... only problem? The graduate/DJ had no equipment; he hired an 11th grader (the guy who posted the Craigslist ad), who is also "a DJ", $100 to bring his equipment, which consisted of two 15" 3-way home audio speakers (one with a blown tweeter), and a powered mixing board. The student also borrowed two 4-par-can-on-tripods light rigs, a UV cannon, and a huge fogger from the school Drama department. The graduate/DJ was bringing his laptop and an iPad for "making beats live" (finger drumming with Launchpad, etc). This was the setup for a prom expecting ~500 students.

I had just bought a second KW181 sub, and a second pair of tops (QSC K12's) two weeks earlier. I wanted an opportunity to put everything together and TURN IT UP, DUDE! :cool: I donated the use of my equipment and my labor setting up to School A, with the understanding that I could DJ the initial part of prom, while all the parents (people my age) came in for Senior Walk, and that I could use the photos I took for Facebook. During the dance, after they kicked out the parents, I went around taking crowd photos. I got plenty of OJT that night... setting up bigger events, doing it more quickly, what kinds of cabling I needed, some time saving ideas, I realized I needed a better camera for low-light photography, I heard what songs from YouTube (what their graduate/DJ used) sound like over a big system, etc.

That prom is what lead me to get A.O.'s videos. I thought, "there has to be a better way".

The photos weren't great, but we used them to market for fall 2013 Homecoming. We got three 2013 Homecoming events. That got our foot in the door for the 2014 prom season. We approached high schools A, B, and C (at the time, I forgot we had a fourth high school in our county :rolleyes: oops) and got hired to do prom at Schools B & C for $1500 each. School A (where I originally donated my equipment), if not the wealthiest school in our county, then the second wealthiest, said we were way too expensive, and decided to hire a different $500 DJ.

I know students who had attended School A's prom in March, who then came to School B or School C's prom in April. Everyone of them told us that A's prom stunk, especially in comparison to ours.

The other DJ's had plenty of audio. However, they had no real interaction, very basic lighting, and old, unpopular music. In fact, one teacher told me, "I graduated with the DJ in the late 90's, and last year, he played the same songs that we heard at our prom ." Another administrator complained about the previous DJ (the guy is about 30 y.o.) and their dancers grinding with female students. o_O

Based on A.O.'s videos, and based on the comments of the prom facilitators, we decided to "go big". One of my DJ's knows a guy who owns a concert production company, and he gave us a sweetheart rental price, so we rented 4 sticks of vertical truss, 8 - moving heads, a bunch of uplighting, a hazer, and an X-Laser. For both proms, I hired a dancer/MC, who has been teaching dance professionally for well over a decade. I had him teach line dances, get students to take selfies, and interact with them in a wholesome manner.

For the first prom, I also hired a guy who is a much better DJ than I am. I have two years experience live mixing, and do basic scratching and simple beat juggling, but this guy has 20+ years and totally blows my skills away. While he DJ'd, I ran DMX and took photos with our new camera for marketing. The second prom, I mixed, had the 16 y.o. son of another DJ run DMX, and I took snapshot photos as I had time.

The students loved it because it was loud, exciting, and flashy; they also loved the DJ's turntable tricks and mixing skills. The parent chaperons liked all the uplighting and moving heads, because it wasn't dark, and the kids weren't trying to grind/twerk. Also, with the music mixing, the songs changed often enough to discourage grinding. The administrators liked it because the students and parents were happy.

The "going rate" for prom has been $500-$750 in our county. We charged $1500 each for the proms. After prom, the administrator at School B told me she had been nervous about "spending so much money on a prom DJ". She also said that her principal had been giving her a hard time about the cost compared with previous DJ's. However, after the prom, her principal told her it was "absolutely worth it!", and was "SO glad" she had hired us. The principal from C emailed me the following Monday, saying that several parents and teachers told her it "was the best prom EVER!". Schools B & C have already asked us to return for Prom 2015.

I am not trying to make this a brag fest. These proms, while they were big dances for me, are small potatoes for guys like A.O. I'm just a little guy in a with roughly 100,000 population in the entire county. However, I want you to realize, there is money to be made in school dances. Students have money. Don't believe me? Look at the expensive cars sitting in the student parking lot. Look at how much they blow on iPhones, movies, and video games. Sure, that money may come from Mom & Dad, but regardless, they have money for prom tickets... and equally as important in my mind, for hiring a great DJ in the future!

Graduation parties, pool parties, end-of-school parties, back-to-school parties, Sweet 16's, Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins dance, pep rallies, events for the teachers, parties for the parent chaperons, reunions for past graduating classes, weddings for older siblings, and in a few years, weddings for the students. Get in front of the curve. Like them or not, these are your future clients. :)

Grinding is their dance. It's a far cry from a formal fox trot, but that is the recent generation's form of dance. So, when you tell a kid they can't dance, it's no wonder they won't go to event where they then just stand around. ... The schools that can navigate the balance of the two are the ones with successful dances. The ones that threaten Chicken Dance, turn on all the lights, and make threats, you might as well just shut down the dances while you're ahead. I've witnessed first hand a school that did this and their attendance has shrank by almost 50%.

If you have a bunch of uplighting, and moving heads, the room is bright, without "looking bright". Instead, it looks "beast"... which is apparently today's version of "totally awesome, dude". :D The adults can see what they need to see, while the students don't feel like they are totally exposed.

We didn't do the Chicken Dance, but we played everything from a remix of Johnny Cash, the Electric Slide, 80's rock, some 90's hip-hop, and a remix of Crazy Train, to Pitbull, Deadmau5, Taylor Swift, and a remix of Elsa's song from the movie Frozen. Like A.O. says, once you have their respect, you can get away with playing anything, and they will think it is cool.

In a phrase. Short attention span. I'll have one kid come up and request a song, and 15 seconds later (same kid) what are you going to play next. They show up and sit around in a group, and text (the dance is secondary). Interaction = texting. I did do a dance for international students the other night, they danced. (group, slow, etc). They were a great crowd.

They were texting, and we played "Selfie". We played it up by telling them to get their cameras out and "take selfies for all those students who weren't at prom. Show them what they missed". They went nuts!

Short attention spans are one nice thing about having/being a live mix DJ... as one song chorus finishes, you mix in the intro of the next song, jump to the chorus to get them singing along, jump to the 1st verse, and as it goes into the chorus again, you are mixing in the next song. They don't have too long to get bored with the song. :p
 

NickyB

Gear and Equipment Moderator
Being an ex-ECM tech, I wonder how they'd react to me firing up a jamming device to their smart phones say within 300 ft or so? I totally agree that texting and social media has hindered the "personal interaction" aspect within the "tweens" world. That stuff is good to a point but unfortunately it sometimes gets out of control.
 
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