A question that comes up frequently when people seek advice about planning proms is should you invite or allow a student to act as DJ? There are pros and cons to offering this important role to a student, and you should consider both carefully before making a final decision.
On the pro side, inviting a talented student DJ to take the musical helm at your prom can be empowering. Perhaps you have access to someone who plans to make DJ’ing a career. Opening up an opportunity to do a high-profile event like a prom can help launch the future profession of a student who could go on to make a lucrative living by emceeing and providing the music for special events.
Additionally, high school students are certainly some of the most gifted users of technology anywhere. You know if you can’t get something techy in a classroom working, the best thing to do is ask a student for help. There is no doubt that there are many high school students out there who have superior skills setting up and calibrating audio equipment who could be very useful to your prom committee.
Student DJs are also most likely to be “in the know” about the latest dance music and what other high school students really want to hear at prom.
Further, a student DJ is more likely to charge a lower fee and thus save money on the overall prom expenses, resulting in a lower ticket price. Renting tuxedoes, buying prom dresses, having hair and makeup services done – all of these things cost money and students appreciate a break.
On the negative side of the argument, not all student DJs have the maturity to guarantee a fully clean and appropriate music menu. They might be tempted to honor requests for music that was not “approved” before prom, or to gain attention by stretching the limits of decency. Clearly, you need to weigh this carefully before making your final decision, and if you do choose to allow a student to DJ, make sure you choose the right candidate. Establish parameters before prom and agree on a non-negotiable “Don’t Play” list to be safe.
Also, a student DJ might not own the same quality equipment as a professional DJ and may not necessarily know what it takes to play a big venue. You can either grill your prospective student DJ in advance or work together to rent the equipment you need to fill your chosen space with great tunes.
Finally, a student DJ runs the greatest risk of being generally unreliable, although this is certainly only true of some. Counteract this uncertainty by being very selective if you choose to hire a student DJ. Know who you are working with and whether or not he or she can be trusted with such an important responsibility.
You never know – your prom may inspire the next big-name DJ career! Student ownership of school events is great when it is accompanied by strong adult guidance and healthy expectations.
So, what do you think? Would you ever hire a student to act as DJ at your prom?