Make Middle School Events FUN!

by Matt Ryan

We all remember our own awkward middle school years – you’re growing faster than you can keep up with and you’re just trying to fit in, not really sure who your friends are and what you’re good at.

Middle school affords you a lot of sudden freedom and something kind of scary – dances. Who is going? Who will you hang out with? What will you do there?

For many of us adults, this is what we remember about our first middle school – then probably called junior high – dance.

More Than Just a “Dance”

Today’s most successful middle school dances are so much more than just a “dance,” and rightfully so.

Kids between 11 and 14 may or may not be ready for a real school dance, but they are certainly always ready for a fun time with their friends. In addition to the dance itself, many middle school dances (they often aren’t even called “dances” anymore) feature things like open gym for basketball, bingo, video games, a room with a movie playing, ping-pong, and more.

These opportunities are great for schools to increase attendance at their events by attracting students that aren’t interested in attending a “dance.”

Advise the Advisers

As a DJ working with middle schools, you can help inform the advisers you are working with about ways they can expand their offerings and increase their attendance.

Most advisers never have the opportunity to see what other schools are doing with the dances, so you are most likely the best resource they have!

Use your monthly client newsletter or your marketing materials to list new ideas on ways schools can enhance their dances. Establish yourself as the “school dance expert” in your market!!

What do you do to “up the fun factor” at Middle School events?

Matt Ryan – School Dance Pro

Matt Ryan is a multi-op DJ business owner, radio personality, developer of School Dance Pros and educator. He has been entertaining at school and many other types of functions since 1996. Matt Ryan Mobile DJ Entertainment performs at approximately 250 events per year, nearly half of which are school and teen dances and proms. Matt is a well-known on-air personality at WNCI 97.9, a Top 40 radio station in Columbus, OH. He is also a middle school teacher and coach. Matt is able to provide unprecedented insight to other DJs about how school dances are organized. His “School Dance DJ Marketing Toolkit” is available at To contact Matt, email

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