Party Pointer: Perfecting a Playlist

Perfecting a playlist is important to the ambience of your gathering, whether it is a formal affair or a country hoedown. Check out these tips about making musical selections to set the tone for your party:

  • Complement a formal dinner party with musical selections that will not disturb conversation and will blend into the background. Music should not be too loud or chaotic. Studies have shown that low, classical music played while dining helps diners take smaller bites and chew more slowly, which assists with  digestion. Conversely, listening to fast-paced music may cause people to eat more quickly and overeat.
  • If classical music is not to your taste, choose instrumental songs or adult contemporary and standards. Such music tends to appeal to people of all ages and is calm enough to make for pleasant background noise.
  • If your party follows a specific theme, choose music that ties into the established theme. For example, steel drum music could accompany a party that has a tropical feel. A party that commemorates a certain time period should include music of that era. Big bands would fit for a 1940s-inspired party, while disco fits a 1970s evening bash.
  • Soundtracks of movies, Broadway plays and television shows can serve as inspiration for musical selections as well.
  • A dance party that is designed to get everyone up out of their chairs and enjoying themselves benefit from some upbeat music and a well-crafted playlist. You can hire a disc jockey to play tunes, but anyone with access to digital music files or even a set of extensive CDs can put together an adequate playlist.
  • Guided dances or those with set footwork also allow a group of people to dance without necessarily dancing together.
  • Once the scope of the party has been established, it is time to build your song catalog.
  • Choose popular songs people will recognize. Now is not the time to impress with your extensive knowledge of obscure music. Such music may adversely guest participation and enjoyment.
  • Create peaks and lulls in the music so there will be times for socializing, dancing, and relaxing. Time musical interludes to coincide with these moments in the party schedule.
  • Be aware of the volume of the music. If the music is too low, no one will hear it. If is too loud, guests will not be able to hear themselves or their fellow guests speak.
  • Encourage musical input from your guests. Some guests may want to bring their own songs or make requests. Make others feel comfortable by honoring these requests.
  • Avoid downloading music illegally.  To avoid fines and possible prosecution, use legal means to create party playlists.
  • Invest in good equipment, such as hidden outdoor speakers if you have a number of backyard events. A decent stereo system or an mp3 player dock also may be enough to get the job done.
  • Check with the venue to confirm rules regarding music. If you’re hosting a party at a restaurant or catering hall, make sure they allow outside music or performers, and check if they are wired for sound.

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