How do you plan a DJ mix? An Easy Guide

People think DJs just show up and hit play on their consoles. Most people don’t realize that planning songs and transitions takes longer than performing.

DJing is more about creating a seamless flow of music that doesn’t disrupt the mood of the room. It’s not just pushing buttons and turning dials.

There’s a lot more going on in the studio than meets the eye. Djs are producers who perform live, whereas music producers work in studios.

A DJ’s work is comparable to that of a producer. In order for a DJ mix to be cohesive, it must contain the same songs. It should feel like one song.

There’s always debate over whether a DJ is a music producer or not, and whether anyone can be a DJ. DJing, like any other profession, requires a lot of skill and patience to master. It’s impossible to fake it in front of a crowd.

A DJ mix is usually planned around a song’s tempo, time signature, and genre. Each DJ session will be a single song rather than a mix. The session’s flow is more important than the songs used. This is what sets a good DJ apart.

DJing is difficult to learn due to the nuances that can only be learned through practice. Knowing something isn’t enough for a DJ mix. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know when planning a DJ set.

Time signature based

A set’s time signature is vital. When planning a DJ mix, you must consider the time signature of the songs, as well as the genres.

The genre you choose will determine the time signature in which you play your set.

Having multiple time signatures may appear to be a good thing, but keeping it simple is best. It’s more important to mix songs than time signatures. Changing a 34 to a 2/4 destroys the set’s energy.

For this reason, many DJs only play 2/4 and 4/4. This is also why you won’t find 344 time signatures in EDM.

The “four to the floor” time signature concept arose from the dominance of electronic dance music on dance floors. It introduced a new style of DJing and increased production of trance and house music, which later spawned sub-genres.


People start moving when they hear a song with rhythm in any language. Our heartbeat has a beat. If you don’t work on your set’s rhythm, you’ll destroy its energy. This is something I learned as I began performing on stage.

The basic components of rhythm are time signature and tempo. As stated previously, keeping time signature simple is best. 127 bpm is the sweet spot for the soul to move, as it elevates the spirit of a human brain. Audio stimulation above 127 bpm increases brain activity.

This is why all modern electronic dance music is 120+ bpm. This gives DJs more freedom to play these songs at festivals. Don’t mix songs with tempo differences of more than 10. It will sap the set’s energy.

The songs used in the set must always be within a certain range. For a 2/4 set, choose between 120 and 135 Bpm, as people can’t tell the difference.


When planning a DJ set, the most important thing to consider is the music genres that will be performed. Adding multiple genres will disrupt the mood and vibe of the audience.

You must be very specific when selecting genres. Sub-genres cannot be mixed because they convey distinct emotions. This is one of the things that sets a good DJ apart. Knowing which songs go well together.

If you want to make a set in dance music, know that there are over ten sub-genres. You must know your genre. You can make a better set by knowing the sub-genres.

This is why many DJs produce their own songs. Their songs all have the same theme and flow well together. Another technique is to break down a DJ’s set and see how they mix different genres of music.

How to begin a DJ mix?

A DJ mix begins with the intended audience. Instead of going all-in on the mix, start with a small loop or a small element in the drums. This allows you to easily turn on the build-up and transitions later.

How long is a DJ mix?

DJ mixes are usually around an hour long, sometimes longer for special requests. In a one-hour session, you’ll play 30-40 songs. Spend your time preparing for these sessions with multiple mix types. This gives you more options when DJing.

What programs do DJs use?

Ableton and Pro Tools are two professional software programs used by DJs to mix music. They are also used in music production and arrangement. DJs use Ableton Live to perform live. They can produce and perform simultaneously with Ableton.

What is the best DJ gear for beginners?

Midi controllers are the best DJ equipment to learn on. DJing, like music production, takes practice to master. Midi controllers can be used both live and in the studio.

How many songs are in a 2-hour DJ set?

A 2 hour DJ set will usually have 40-60 songs, and if the DJ wants to repeat songs, he may even repeat the first set. It depends on the crowd and the venue. Professional music festivals don’t allow it.


It’s more important to think of DJing as an art than a skill that can be learned. Even though 50% of DJing is a learned skill, you can’t master it unless you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.

Knowing music production will also help a DJ perform well. This will help you choose songs for a set and how each song flows rhythmically.

In large venues, not understanding a song’s musical depth will leave you hanging, unable to match the crowd’s energy with your prepared set.


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