How do I choose the band’s best promotion photos?

Are these some of our best promotion photos?

What features do I want in the pictures?

What would YOU want?

Here’s a clue to what I prefer.

Magnolia Jazz Band How I Choose Our Best Promotion Photos for Wedding and Party MusicRecently my friend Eli Pitta gave me this picture of us he took at a wedding at the Palmdale Estates, in Fremont.  CLICK to enlarge photo.

Eli is a wonderful photographer, and he caught exactly what feature I think makes the best promotion photos.

Can you guess the crucial feature?

Here’s another clue:  Some Realtors tell me they like to “stage” a house so their prospective buyers will visualize the place decorated with their own furnishings.

Magnolia Jazz Band How I Choose Our Best Promotion Photos for Wedding and Party MusicStill another clue:  Some time ago my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Peninsula Grill, in Charleston, SC.  Since then I’ve subscribed to their email newsletter, mainly to remember that evening and to see beautiful examples of their best promotion photos.  Here’s a recent one:

Got it?

I think your best promotion photos show people enjoying whatever you provide.

In my case, I like photos that show people enjoying the upbeat, elegant mood we create.  Wherever we are — at a lively party, business reception, formal banquet, or romantic wedding ceremony.

Browse around this blog to see more pictures of people celebrating with our music.

It kills me to see a hotel or a restaurant advertise their facility with a photo showing a quiet room full of tables and chairs, but no people.  Imagine you’re searching for a room to hold your next celebration.  Wouldn’t you want to visualize your festivities in a room filled with people happy to be there?

Don’t get me wrong. I like our “studio” portraits, because they show who we are.  Of course, people want to see what we look like.

But I think our most effective promotion pictures show what we DO.  How our music helps people have a good time celebrating.

So whatever YOU do, let me give you a simple tip for selecting your own best promotion photos:  Include people enjoying what you provide.

YOUR turn:  Do me a favor.  Tell me about your best promotion photos.  Show me your favorite.  What makes it special?


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Use History to Choose Party Music

by Robbie Schlosser

Last Thursday I used history to choose party music.

Choosing the right music for a party or a wedding can be a challenge.  I often let history guide my selections.  

Of course, you can use many strategies to search for a party’s music.  You can research Broadway shows, movies, flowers, Disney characters, colors, locations, people, food, literature, animals, to name a few.

But whenever you choose party music, and it suits the party’s theme, you might find using history very helpful, too.

How?  Why?  More in a minute.  First, some background:

The San Francisco Bay Area boasts hundreds of very elegant mansions built around a hundred years ago.  The area’s wealthiest businessmen built gorgeous homes and summer homes.

Rich and elaborate, enormous and opulent.  These homes allowed a lifestyle where pleasure and entertaining were essential social and business functions.

(By the way, there must have been successful women in business, right?  But I haven’t heard about them.  Somebody please tell me about them and the homes they built.)

Well nowadays many of these mansions, and their estates, are preserved as historic treasures.  They serve a great many worthwhile social purposes, including hosting banquets, weddings, charity fund-raisers, and other special events.

Magnolia Jazz Band Use History to Choose Party MusicLast Thursday we entertained at a wonderful garden party in Woodside, hosted by “Filoli“, one of the most beautiful of  these mansions.  Here’s a photo of the band in action.  Click to enlarge.  Thanks to my friend Nancy Patten, for these wonderful photos.

Step Back in Time” was the theme of this Downton Abbey / Great Gatsby / Roaring 20s party.  We performed on a bandstand on the tennis court, and our vintage music helped create the perfect mood for this garden party.  

Magnolia Jazz Band Use History to Choose Party MusicMany of the guests wore stunning period dress, and created a dazzling picture as they strolled through the mansion and the gardens. 

Eventually they came to our bandstand for light refreshments, some dancing, and an elegant musical background for their conversations. 

Magnolia Jazz Band Use History to Choose Party MusicLooking out over the crowd, I tried to imagine what music the guests might have heard at a similar party during the “Jazz Age” about a hundred years ago.  Except for our microphone and amps, the band might have been identical — same instruments, tuxedos, and facial hair.  So I’m glad I’d done a little research several weeks earlier.

I’d spent a few happy hours at the library and searching through my own books, CD’s, and records (remember LP’s?  how about 78’s?).  And I found a wealth of great historical information on the internet.  Searching Google, of course, and also YouTube and iTunes.  Even a bit on Pinterest.

I was looking for the most popular songs of the 1920’s, and enough details about these songs to make an interesting, entertaining program.  Songs the guests would recognize and enjoy hearing and dancing to.

I’m happy to report the party, and our music, was a huge success.  

So let me give you a tip for your next celebration:

When it suits the theme, use history to choose party music.  Occasionally history will be the essential aspect of the party.  And if not, searching history will always contribute features to make your festivities memorable.

CLICK here to tweet this post, and join our Magnolia Jazz Band fans on Facebook.  You’ll receive daily tips for planning wedding and party music, and you’ll get reminders for our public events.


Selecting Garden Party Music

by Robbie Schlosser

There’s beautiful weather outside.  Are you planning a garden party?

What about your music?

In several important ways, selecting garden party music is just like selecting music for a wedding reception, Great Gatsby party, or a special business event.

Tell you what I mean.

Last month we entertained at Gayle and Bill’s 50th wedding anniversary party.  The happy couple love New Orleans — music, food, and traditions.  So they had us play traditional New Orleans music all afternoon.

Magnolia Jazz Band Selecting Garden Party MusicHere we are playing the first hour in the Saratoga Foothill Club’s lovely garden, while their guests enjoyed New Orleans appetizers and cocktails.

Then everyone moved into the festive banquet room.  Anniversary toasts, speeches, and a great New Orleans feast followed.

Midway during the afternoon, guests we’re treated to a lively half-hour program by a local New Orleans style parade band.  Toes were tapping, and everyone was “Second Lining” through the banquet room.

After that break, we resumed creating a lovely luncheon mood with everyone’s favorite tunes.  

A few days later, Gayle sent me this wonderful note:

Hi Robbie–

Well, it was absolutely “an afternoon to remember” for us!  It couldn’t have been more perfect — your trio added so much to the New Orleans ambiance that we wanted to create!  We had lots and lots of comments from our guests about the great music you played and what wonderful musicians you all are, and lots of people wanted to know where we “found” you!  Thank you for making the day so special for us and our friends and family.

I’ve written a Yelp review, and here’s a photo of you playing outside in the courtyard (unfortunately, the photographer didn’t get one of you inside on the stage).  If any potential client ever wants a reference, we’d be very happy to tell them what a great experience it was to work with you and to have the Magnolia Jazz Band trio play at our party–we’d do it again in a minute!

Thanks again for the wonderful memories,

Gayle and Bill

So what happened here?  And what made this garden party special?

For one thing, Gayle and Bill kept changing the scene to keep the afternoon constantly fresh and interesting.  From outside in the garden to inside the banquet room. From soft, lyrical New Orleans tunes, to speeches and toasts, to lively New Orleans parade music, back to standards and favorites.

We often entertain at garden parties like this one, where we relocate to different areas of the garden as the party progresses.  And frequently at wedding receptions and company banquets, too, we guide “traffic” by relocating from ceremony, to cocktail party, to banquet room, to dance floor.

So when you’re selecting garden party music, of course you’ll want to personalize your choices, perhaps coordinate with a theme, and go with selections and styles you know your guests will enjoy. 

Let me recommend another tip for selecting garden party music. Keep the afternoon interesting by occasionally relocating your music.  You can also use your music to vary the mood of your party.  Keep it interesting and your guests will enjoy a memorable time.


CLICK here to tweet this post, and join our Magnolia Jazz Band fans on Facebook.  You’ll receive daily tips for planning wedding and party music, and you’ll get reminders for our public events.


Selecting Party Music? Don’t Sabotage Yourself.

May 10, 2014

Are you selecting party music or wedding music?  Planning should be easy and fun. Occasionally, however, small planning puzzles get out of hand and become big obstacles.  And usually they’re all avoidable. In a minute I’ll tell you why.  First, some background. Nearly every day I help people selecting party music or wedding music.  And then my […]

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Does Planning Party Music Depend on Good Luck?

April 1, 2014

Nearly every day, I help people planning party music and wedding music.  And then my band creates the perfect music at these celebrations. I’m so lucky to make a living this way! Recently I got lucky a different way.  Here I am, winning a bottle of wine at a networking meeting for special event pros.  […]

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Planning My Garden and Planning Wedding Music

March 25, 2014

I’m planning my garden already!  It’s been a mild winter around here, and I’ll be planting several weeks earlier than usual.  I love gardening, and I’m already thinking about what should go where, and when, for the results I want. Just like planning wedding music.  More about that in a minute. My garden always boasts […]

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I Help People Celebrate

March 9, 2014

What will you celebrate today?  I hope it’s memorable.  Will you include music? On her birthday, a friend recently posted on Facebook: “THANK YOU one and all for the Bday luv.   I’m a firm believer in the idea that the older you get the more you should celebrate, so thanks so much for adding […]

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Feelings About Music for Weddings and Parties

March 2, 2014

Feelings about music dominate many of my business conversations.   Nearly every day I help people select music for their weddings and parties. If I do my job right, their choices reflect their feelings about music.  I frequently write about feelings in music, because they’re the foundation for what I love and how I make […]

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How is Preparing Wedding Music like Preparing Your Tax Return?

February 23, 2014

I’m always helping people preparing wedding music. Here we are entertaining at a lovely wedding ceremony in Sonoma back in 2009.  Congrats Kim and Chris! I think about wedding and party music often, but not always. For example, I just asked a professional tax preparer about possible changes to the IRS. And this expert advised […]

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The Band in Action Makes Your Party Memorable.

February 19, 2014

Gaaah!  I’ve done it again! I just got back from a swinging party, and realized I’d forgotten to take a single photo. Without pictures or videos, how can you ever see the band in action? This was our fourth party in four days.  And I had no pictures from any of them. I’ve done this […]

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