A DJ’s work involves entertaining often large groups of people in one main, specific way – encouraging and facilitating dance. Many research projects over time have scientifically studied the effects of music and dancing, but could it be that great DJs have a tacit understanding of scientific process which they are able to deliver in a natural way?
The Science Bit
Dancing and even watching other people dance is thought to be linked to the some reward-related areas of the brain.
Music itself is thought to stimulate pleasure areas of the brain such as the orbitofrontal cortex (just behind the eyes), the mid brain area (ventral striatum), and the cerebellum at the base of the brain involved with co-ordination and movement.
Dancing is believed to be so enjoyable because motor areas of our brains are activated and stimulated by the pleasure response to the music, by the dance moves we make, and also by us observing the dance moves that other people make. The reward from watching other people dance is thought to come from us seeing actions that our own motor system can’t predict i.e. when we watch someone who we believe is a good dancer. (Scientific American Sept 2008).
The Choice of Music Matters
The science also tells us that the choice of songs is of course very important in having the desired effect. A recent study *published at confused.com for example showed that music with a beat at heartbeat pace is less likely to stimulate the kinds of recklessness that faster songs may bring about (while driving). It doesn’t take a scientist to know however that playing a faster, upbeat and widely recognised song has a good chance of getting people on their feet – or does it?
DJs Could Be Naturally ‘Scientific’ Entertainers
DJs are entertainers, and good DJs are very aware of how to judge the mood and the dynamics of a room full of people, and how to use the known similarities in their behaviour to generate the right response. Good entertainers are able to draw upon a range of tacit skills and knowledge to create the activity that holds the interest of an audience by appealing to the pleasure centres of the brain.
The DJ either by reputation, demonstration or both is able to a win the trust and attention of a group of people and is temporarily accepted as a kind of leader. The DJ is then allowed and encouraged by the group to facilitate and help create a shared group experience among the dancers. This experience can include expressions and sharing of creativity and positive emotions, positive feelings of acceptance by and belonging to a group, the positive physical and emotional effects of physical exercise and endorphin release, and the use of senses and socialising.
London based professional DJ and owner of DJ and Disco Hire Company Platinum DJs Jason Dupuy comments;
“Experience, frequency and repetition of being in that role as a DJ does of course help in being able to create a positive experience for any given collection of people. I suppose you do develop skills over time of being able to judge a situation, what to play next and how to keep collective energy levels up in a venue. I know there must be scientific explanations for what is going on when a DJ is at work but I see it as actually quite a natural, rather than a scientific process. The goal really is to create a really positive, inc