DJ for a day

Mixing music using Windows Media Player

By Jean White

Ah, weddings! The romance, the attire, the abundance of food and drink, the socializing with friends and family in such a celebratory setting—what’s not to love?

I recently attended the wedding of a friend. It was a great event, but the wedding raised my stress level. You see, a few weeks before the celebration, the bride-to-be told me that she’d be playing music on her laptop during the reception and asked me if I could keep an eye on it. Her laptop was running Windows Vista, and I was familiar with Windows Media Player, so I didn’t hesitate. “No problem,” I told her. But when I arrived, I quickly found out that the job was bigger than I thought.

Of all the songs in the world

To prepare the music for the wedding reception, the bride and groom had chosen their favorite songs from the library in Windows Media Player and created a couple of playlists. Creating a playlist is a great way to group specific types of songs together. To learn more about playlists, see Create or change a regular playlist in Windows Media Player.

Picture of a playlist in Windows Media Player
By creating playlists in advance, you can have appropriate music for any event
“Great,” I thought. “I know how to use Windows Media Player.” I figured all I had to do was click the playlist, click the Play button Picture of the Play button, and go back to my table to eat dinner. But I soon realized that in between songs, family members would be giving speeches and the music should be turned down.

Fading in and out

Windows Media Player has a great crossfade feature, so you can create smooth transitions between songs. I made sure that feature was turned on. But, there isn’t a feature to fade the music out in the middle of a song. Fortunately, I found a way to make the experience work.

The laptop at the wedding was connected to an external DJ mixer and a set of speakers. To create a good sound, and eliminate distortion, I turned up the Windows Vista volume, turned up the Windows Media Player volume, and used the volume control on the mixer to adjust the sound. If you set up your laptop and don’t hear anything, make sure Windows Media Player or Windows Vista itself isn’t muted.

When it was time for a speech, I slowly slid the volume lever on the mixer down until the music couldn’t be heard. After the speech, I slowly slid the lever back up so the music could resume. This approach didn’t stop the music—Windows Media Player was still running—but the effect was subtler than if I simply clicked the Stop button Picture of the Stop button in the middle of a song.
Illustration of an external DJ mixer
You can connect your laptop to an external mixer to control the volume and other settings

Mix it up

When everyone finished eating and the speeches were over, it was time for dancing. I found another playlist on my friend’s laptop. It contained all the faster-paced dance songs, as well as the song they chose for their first dance: Endless Love.

I selected Endless Love, clicked the Play button Picture of the Play button, and watched the couple dance through the fog and lights on the dance floor. After the first dance, everyone was invited to join the fun. The playlist was organized alphabetically. However, I wanted to mix things up a bit. I clicked the Turn shuffle on button so the music from the playlist would play in random order.
Picture of the Turn shuffle on button
The Turn shuffle on button randomly selects songs from your playlist

My friends had a long playlist. So finally, I could let Windows Media Player do its thing and join the party. After being a DJ for a day, I realized the experience doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little bit of planning, being a DJ at any event—a barbeque, birthday, or wedding—can be fun.

About the author

Picture of columnist Jean White

Jean White is an editor on the Windows team at Microsoft, where she edits user interface text, Help content, and videos. In 2000, she left the publishing industry in her hometown of Toronto, Canada to join Microsoft. During her career at the company, she has worked at MSN, Office, and Microsoft Press.

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