Include Music in Your Dinner Party Ideas

by Robbie Schlosser · 23 comments

Thanks in advance for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas. I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation. Tell me what you think, and I'll reply. Promise.
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Dinner Party Ideas, particularly ones about including music, spring to my mind every time we’re playing.   Talking about ANY music here — not just the elegant live jazz that I play.

I’m always noticing that music is a remarkable “social lubricant”, to coin a phrase.  For example, last Friday night the trio entertained at a fancy dinner party at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay.

As I always do, I watched as everyone eased into their conversations and enjoyed the mood with great company, wonderful food, and soft music.

It was a lively group of about 50 people in a small ballroom, and we were positioned in the center of a long wall, just a few feet away from the nearest table.  The room’s acoustics were splendid.

Our music was restrained and carried nicely throughout the room, without intruding on any conversations.  People smiled at us when they recognized a familiar tune, so we selected familiar tunes all evening.

The party atmosphere developed so quickly and smoothly!  What a dramatic reminder that our music helps people get “into the swing of things”, as I like to say.

So it’s a smart planner who includes music prominently in her dinner party ideas.  Certainly the menu, flowers, and other decor are important — and so is the music.

Magnolia Jazz Band in Richmond  2010Here we are last October, enjoying a light moment when we entertained at a casual dinner party at the Craneway Pavilion, in Richmond, CA.

I recently wrote about planning music for parties.  Same with planning music for weddings.  In my experience, including our music at parties always helps people celebrate these special events.

Often the occasions are happy times, like weddings or TGIF company parties.  Occasionally the occasion is mixed with some sadness, like funerals or retirement parties.

Either way, I’ve always found that music helps people “tap into” their feelings, so they enjoy the spirit of the occasion more fully.  In other words, with music they feel better, whether the occasion is happy or sad.

Why is this so?  That is a long story, and it’s not entirely clear.  Very little is known for certain about that, and I’ll comment on it in a future article.

In the meantime, whenever a planner asks me for a few dinner party ideas, particularly about including music, I focus on what I’ve learned that works.

So here are three tips about wedding music and party music that I encounter nearly every day:

    1. Have the music start at the beginning of your party and play throughout, except for announcements, toasts, and other special landmarks.
    2. Whatever the occasion of your party, be sure that most (if not all) of the music will be “familiar” to the party’s guests.
    3. If your party will feature several different moods at various times, carefully prepare your musicians to play the appropriate music for each mood.

Most of us host SOME kind of party from time to time.  When you plan your next one, let me urge you to include music.  Give some thought to the benefits you’ll get, and use your music wisely.

Looking for ideas about including music?  You have many options, and you can always search online for dinner party ideas — the internet is a wonderful resource.

Or do like me.  I keep my eyes and ears open whenever I attend a dinner party, and like Friday night, I always come home with a few new dinner party ideas.

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Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.

By the way, does a friend need help selecting wedding or party music? Do them a favor: EMAIL this article, or SHARE it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.

How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Robbie@MagnoliaJazz.com. Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Darcie Newton

Great tips Robbie…I especially like the one about planning the music to fit the mood or moods of the party.  I think live music at an event really can make it a better event all around.

Darcie
Devoted to finding all things delicious.
http://discoveringdelicious.com

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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Darcie.  Glad you enjoyed these three tips.  I’ve learned that live music — ANY music, really — energizes every event and makes it special.  How do you ever include music at a party? (I’m always looking for more tips.)
Robbie

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Darcie Newton

We’ve only ever used the CD player at our small home parties…it really does make a difference though…no matter how small or large the party.

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Louise Edington

I’ve said it before, I’m not a big event type of person (unless it’s a rock concert) but I can see that live music can help the mood if chosen carefully. Thanks for the tips.
Louise Edington
Breaking Through Online Frontiers
http://louiseedington.com

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Kerry Hargraves

I love to have music in the background when I’m entertaining. As you so rightly point out, it really sets a mood and when everyone recognizes and enjoys what’s playing it pulls the group together.  I aspire to throwing a party with live music. Someday. . . .

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Jaspreet K. Mundeir

Music is crucial to set the tone for parties, it helps people unwind and relax and get them on the dancefloor!  I think familiar songs are important, because they bring us back to memories of how that song relates to us and can help strike up conversations.  Thank you for this post, will keep it in mind when I plan my next party!

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Vicki Dello Joio

I think live music at an event or party is such an essential ingredient. I just got back from a conference where we had canned music one evening and live music the next. NO comparison. The whole conference crowd was animated, dancing and even had an impromptu game of limbo during it. I think there is something actually vibrational about live music that raises the Energy Up! Glad to know these tips, Robbie.

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Pat Zahn

Couldn’t agree more Robbie – a party w/o music is well, not a party. Equally important is being on the same wavelength as the musicians or in the case of a recent friend’s party, the DJs. My friend asked for a mix of music from different genres, but the DJs kept playing songs from the same era and style. As his wife pointed out to me later, they weren’t very responsive to the crowd either. When people start walking away from the dance floor, that’s a clear sign you need to change it up. I have to say that music is a point of contention at the scrapbooking events I hold. Even when we have a variety, people seem to only remember the songs they hated…

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Kirk Zacharda

For sure Robbie, music always helps with the mood. Whats a party with a Mood probably not much fun.  There is nothing like a live Jazz band playing while the Wine is flowing, man this can get the crowd wound up and moving. Emotions sure do play a part in music, I still here songs that are anchors of my childhood and it takes me right back.

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Julieanne Case

Another interesting blog, Robbie.  I love that the music did not overpower the conversation. And instead brought out more party feel. That is a little bit of heaven for me. 

Julieanne Case
Always from the heart! Blog: http://www.julieannecasefromtheheart.com

Reconnecting you to your essence, joy, vitality, youth.| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | AgeLoc Skin Care | Pharmanex Supplements
http://www.thereconnectivehighway.com

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Anonymous

Great tips about planning music that your guests will know and enjoy. And music definitely play a huge part in setting the mood for an event or wedding. I always encourage my clients to create their favorite “playlist” for the event but to also let the musicians/band or DJ have some flexibility depending on the mood of the guests. You can’t always predict what music will get people moving and excited, some things you just have to wait until the day of.  

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Yvonne Hall

AGREE music does enhance a soothing and happy party time. Thanks for the tips.
Yvonne Elm Hall
http://www.yvonneelmhall.wordpress.com

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Laurie Hurley

My husband turns on music when he cooks. Usually rock ‘n roll!  When we have people over I actually find the music distracting – but maybe that’s because I have trouble hearing people even with no music on – have to get those hearing aids!  Good tips to keep in mind, though. We have music on other times – can’t mention them here! hee hee

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Judy Stone-Goldman

What I liked was your description of the music being “restrained”–not intruding on people’s conversations. I went to a recent wedding where I thought the music drowned out everything. I saw one man who had put tissues in his ears to function as ear plugs. I wondered if it was a generational thing (the young people liking to be blasted out). Not only is music like that unpleasant to me and an interference with the dinner, but it can be damaging to our ears!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
http://www.thereflectivewriter.com/blog/
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

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Anonymous

The term “mood music’ comes to mind after reading your post, Robbie, which in the past was used to set the stage for a romantic dinner/evening for two, and episodes that occur after dining. Music is such an important part of our lives, from exercising to driving to relaxing at home. Sharing our style of music with others when we’re entertaining is showing another piece of who we are.  Thanks for that dimension!  PS-The HMB Ritz is one of the most amazing properties in California!

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Susan Berland

I agree that live music is much better than “canned” music. Sometimes a DJ can be overbearing and the way you describe your music interacting at a dinner party sounds marvelous.

Susan Berland
A Picture’s Worth
http://www.susan-berland.com

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Rita Brennan Freay

Couldn’t agree more!  A party isn’t a party without music.  It really can and does set the mood…if its familiar to most of the guests (great point!).  I think we all find ourselves a little more light and free with music as the backdrop.  Guess it really is important to make sure the musicians are prepared for the different moods coming their way so they can prepare and help the mood along:)

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Jennifer Duchene

Live music definitely adds a certain magic to an event.  Even when I am at a street fair or shopping, and there is live music it makes me feel so good.

Jennifer DucheneThe Home Makeover Mixtress blending lifestyle, laughter and Chic Cocoons™http://LYShome.com

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Brandy Mychals

I’m not music savvy but I know whether or not I like a song…My “parties” involve weekend workshops and music plays a big role. We carefully select songs for breaks, activities and exercises. No doubt that music helps to set the mood! Brandy :-)

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chris arcucci

Robbie,

It sounds like a splendid event, I wish I was there! I recently collaborated with musicians during a yoga class I was teaching and it definitely create a powerful experience for all the students. I plan to do this more often since music is a wonderful addition to any event!

Blessings of health,

chris arcucci

Who says a woman can’t cultivate her super powers in a dress?!

http://www.MindfulLivingArts.com

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Tanya Boggs

Wow!  I wouldn’t have thought of including music at some of my events, but what a great idea!  I’ve been to plenty of events where the music was such a big hit and often my favorite part.  Thanks for the tips.  I will definitely put this on my list of things to try. 

Tanya Boggs
http://Blog.TanyaBoggsPhotography.com

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tennis world

Thanks for this informative post.Keep in touch with us in future too.

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NYC mixology classes

Great tips. Gonna think of them the next time i plan a party. Really helpful. Probably took you a long time and a lot of parties planned to figure them all out right? lol. Great article. Thanks. Bookmark!

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