If you’re a DJ, chances are there have been times where you’ve felt less than 100% confident. Whether it’s because of problems going on outside of your venue at home, too many (terrible)  requests, or even first-time jitters, nervousness as a DJ is more common than we’re willing to admit. There will be nights where every set isn’t your best, and that’s okay. Those are the nights we take as a learning experience. Today I bring you some of my own tips for getting over your nervousness as a DJ, combined with the tips from the British gents of DigitalDJTips.com

1. Record your practice mixes…even if you suck. Sucking at something is the first step towards being sort of good at something. Use this step when you’re in your bedroom or studio just practicing with no audience. When you record your mixes and play them back to yourself, it might make you cringe, but you’re able to hear all your mistakes and know where you need to improve. Aside from the negative, you’re also able to hear what you do really well and know if you can do that same trick again at your next party.

2. Practice your show mix. Think of songs that would fit at your gig, and try mixing them together. Write them down if you need to. This isn’t cheating. In fact, some DJs write down a list of relevant songs and bring it with them to their gigs when their nerves get the best of them, and they forget to check that oh so convenient “Current Hits” folder. The mix you practice won’t necessarily be in the order you perform at your mix, but it’s good to know how they all would or wouldn’t blend together.

3. Don’t practice your show mix. That’s right. Make it a habit to just listen to a few songs you would want in your gig. Just listen to the whole songs and see how they move you. You might even trick yourself into practicing a new mix because you’ve trained yourself to calm down and REALLY listen to all of your music without wondering what else you can blend into it.

4. Learn your music. If you’re like me, then you have an almost endless playlist of music. It’s possible that you don’t even know all the songs that are in your catalog. It’s a good idea to play all the songs you don’t know to yourself, and see where they can fit into your gig. Do this while you’re cleaning or doing your homework, so it catches you by surprise. Then focus on those songs, and remember those beats for your next gig. You might find that you had a couple bangers in your crate that COULD HAVE made your party pop last week…and you ain’t even know it! Your gig goes a lot easier when you know what you have to wake the party up and bring those dancers back onto the floor.

5. Listen to & watch your crowd. If this is your first time at a particular venue, you’ve already messed up. Never play a gig at a venue you’ve never been to as a customer yourself. How do you know what the regular customers want to hear? This tip is especially important for bedroom DJs. Not everyone has the same taste as you, so before you take the gig, ask the manager (or a couple regulars if you know them) what the normal type of music for the venue is. Go to the club yourself to hear the regular house DJ and see how you would mix it if that were you.

6. Don’t (ALWAYS) listen to your crowd. There’s a reason why you’re the DJ and they’re not. You obviously have a good ear for music and what will make people move. Customers will give you corny requests. That’s just the truth of it. People have bad tastes in music. Don’t let some customer hound you for a Miley Cyrus song if you don’t want to play it, then don’t play it. Just tell them you’ll try to mix it in for them later. If they’re really bothering you, it’s good to have a friend in the DJ booth act as a liason so you can focus on your mixing. My venue at a skating rink has a request list people write on, so I don’t really have to talk to them if I can avoid it. Besides if it get’s THAT bad…just make them tip you for the song. Get your money.