Music is an integral part of our lives. New technologies allow us to enjoy favorite rhythms any time, anywhere. And big award shows such as the Grammy’s have mastered the art of featuring music brilliantly. How can you follow suit and assure that the ‘sounds’ of your corporate event leave a lasting impression?
The good news: It’s not as complex as one may think. The key is to make music a major part of the entire event planning process – from the very first brainstorming meeting. Why? The more ‘in tune’ your musical entertainment is with the rest of the event, the better. Handing over a set of CDs or your MP3 player to the A/V representative on site just won’t do.
Here are some of the key points that should be deliberated during the planning process. Consider them, and then prioritize which criteria are most important to your event in order to make it a full-fledged success:
1. Type of event and formality level
Since different genres of music have differing associations – classical piano music often is a natural fit for a formal VIP dinner – select the genre of music that will fit your style of event. Also be aware of the time of day your event takes place. You may choose lighter background music for a business luncheon than you would for a formal evening reception, where classical music might be appropriate.
2. Demographics, and respective likes and dislikes of the audience
When contemplating entertainment for your corporate event, it is vital to put your audience first. Music has to be a good fit with the attendees, not necessarily with senior management. Consider the cultural and geographic background of your audience, as well as age, and gender preferences. Go the extra mile to make your audience feel at home: work with the DJ, musician(s), or band(s) of your choice to put together a customized playlist. Consider a mix of genres, or musical periods – the better the fit with your audience’s preferences, the bigger the success!
Different goals can be fulfilled with differing styles of music. Therefore, determine the purpose you would like music to fulfill at your corporate event, prior to selecting the genre. You may consider switching styles of music for the different stages of your event. A harpist during the welcome cocktail, a jazz band during the networking part of the evening, and a DJ spinning dance tunes for after hour celebrations. Also, adapt the volume of the music to the different stages or your event: low background music so your guests can communicate during dinner, vs. louder tunes during the more informal parts of the evening.
4. Live vs. recorded music
Live music – since we can literally ‘feel’ it – has a different effect on us than recorded music. Naturally, it also comes with some restrictions: Sound should be crystal clear, so assure the location set-up and the A/V equipment can make it happen. There is nothing worse than live tunes being ‘swallowed’ by plush carpets, or a lack of speakers. Certainly, a budget is a concern when weighing your options for musical entertainment. But with subscriptions to music libraries, and a well thought through a selection of playlists, entertainment doesn’t have to break your bank anymore!
Music also needs to be a fit with the location of your corporate event – in grandeur and ambiance, as well as in terms of technical capabilities. Assure that the surroundings fit the genre and presentation of the music you are leaning towards. A jazz saxophonist might seem lost in a huge conference hall, but might be the perfect fit for an intimate dinner at a winery for your best clients. Assure your event location makes brilliant sound quality possible, and allows for set-up of all technical equipment as needed. There is nothing worse than finding out during event set-up that the band doesn’t have enough outlets to power their equipment, or that acoustics won’t be up to par.
As always, when selecting your perfect fit, don’t rely on references alone but also go and see potential contenders in action. Once you get a feel for the performers, it’s an easy feat to determine which one will help you take your corporate event over the top. Communication and preparations is the key: go over every detail ahead of time, rely on your artist’s expertise, and insist on a rehearsal to put both yourself and your performers at ease.