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Cocktail Party Music at a Wedding, Banquet, or Soiree

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.

Magnolia Jazz Band in Mountain View,  2013Last Friday we entertained about 300 guests at this cocktail party.

Music filled upstairs at the Computer History Museum, in Mountain View.  Our cocktail party music accompanied the silent auction in a wonderful dinner party to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

We’ve played at this annual event at least five years now.  The organizers didn’t ask to select the music we’ll play.  Instead they suggested we play like we did in previous years, since their guests loved our cocktail party music.

So what songs we played, and how to pace them, was up to us.  I’ve written about playing at cocktail parties before.  I recently wrote a guest blog post about how to plan cocktail party music.  At most of these events, the hosts usually ask us to select the perfect cocktail party music.

Select the perfect music?  Put yourself in our shoes.  What would you do here?

Suppose you’re planning cocktail party music — say, for a wedding, a banquet, or a private soirée.  It might help if you could get into our head, as they say.  What questions do we ask ourselves?

Here’s how we usually proceed, when selecting the cocktail party music is up to us.  First, the party’s host always gives us a clear idea of the atmosphere she’s hoping for.  Then our experience tells us what kinds of cocktail party music will create the mood she wants.

We understand that our job is to help the guests enjoy being there.  So we select cocktail party music to help make whatever they’re doing easier and more pleasant.  Usually this means keeping them in a happy mood.  How?

Naturally, the specific songs we choose always depends on who’s in the crowd.  Who are the guests?  What songs will be familiar?  What songs might be favorites?  What songs might be pleasant surprises?

We can glance at the group for a minute and make some good guesses about what songs will be sure-fire hits for dancing, or singing, or a soft background for conversations.

Throughout every party we’re always talking with the guests, especially when they approach us to request their personal favorite songs.  Big clue there!

Frequently guests like to chat with us about their own experiences playing music.  Or their son who is learning to play guitar and loves the Beatles’ music.  Another big clue!

In fact, a bride and groom-to-be who just reserved us for their wedding this July came by Friday’s party to preview us again, and they requested a few of THEIR favorites.  Another big clue — now we know what we’ll surely include at their wedding reception!

So here is a tip for helping you select your own cocktail party music.  Decide what mood you want and ask what music your guests will enjoy.

And if musicians will be involved in your party, give them this background information and let their professional experience guide them.

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.

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.

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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 Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

Posted by on March 3, 2013.

Categories: Planning Party Music

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