San Francisco Reception Music — How to Choose

by Robbie Schlosser · 11 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.

San Francisco reception music filled my thoughts last Friday evening.

Magnolia Jazz Band in San Francisco, 2013There I stood in San Francisco’s magnificent City Hall rotunda, setting up the band’s place on the dais.  In an hour we’d be entertaining about a hundred people attending a wonderful cocktail party.

Meanwhile, my fabulous colleagues were busy preparing, too.  Melons Catering & Events, Impact Lighting & Production, Hartmann Studios, and my friend, Jim Block, of Jim Block Photography.

Magnolia Jazz Band in San Francisco, 2013Jim and I chatted about the light and sound challenges the rotunda presents.  Which are considerable, but, as they say, the show must go on.  If he sends me a nice photo of the guests enjoying our music, I’ll add it to this article.

I’m always thrilled to play in the rotunda’s vaulted expanses.  So after setting up, I walked to the rotunda’s entrance, turned around, and took an iPhone photo of my string bass.  Then I climbed those impressive stairs and took another photo.

Before the guests arrived, I was thinking about what San Francisco reception music we ought to prepare.

Before any event, I’m always asking the same dozen-or-so questions — whether we’ll be playing San Francisco reception music, San Jose banquet music, or Livermore wedding ceremony music.  Here are a few of these questions:

Early on I ask about the purpose of this event.  What atmosphere would set the right mood to make it successful?

Another question:  What music would create that mood?

Another question:  What music would the guests enjoy hearing?

Another question:  What songs are especially well suited to the particular instruments in the band?

Soon I’ll write another article about some of the other questions I ask.

What about last Friday’s music?  The guests were students of a local university, meeting to attend a special presentation.  The atmosphere needed to be upbeat, informal, and conducive to casual conversations.

The room’s reverberating acoustics required soft volume.  The trio (clarinet, guitar, and string bass) played essentially acoustic — very low volume, with controlled amplification to help the music carry.

We provided a wide mix of tempos, to keep the mood low-key, but bright and dynamic.  Ensembles, guitar solos, clarinet solos.  Swing, ballads, waltzes, bossa novas, early jazz, and early rock (Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Roy Orbison).

So here’s a tip to help you select YOUR San Francisco reception music.  ANY celebration’s music.  Before you get specific, ask broad questions about the role the music will play in your event.  The more questions, the better.


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.

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+.

And if you find my blog useful, please LIKE it, TWEET it, and SUBSCRIBE for more ideas. Use those cute little icons below.

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.

If you like this post...

| More
Loralee Hutton

I always find your blog posts interesting, even though I’m not near SF or in the market to hire music. Your questions in this post (the ones you ask about each event) can be transposed into anything in life, I would think. What is the feeling we would like to create? What is the desired outcome? What would make this {fill in the blank} successful?
Loralee Hutton recently posted..Tools I use to make blog challenges more fun & rewardingMy Profile


Thanks, Loralee,
Glad you find good reasons to enjoy my blog. I enjoy reading yours as well. Though we’re not in each other’s target group, there’s plenty of good sense and handy tips we can learn from each other.
Robbie recently posted..What Stubby Kaye Taught Me about Wedding Music and Party MusicMy Profile

Cheryl Foss McDaniel

Very enjoyable and informative post! Great blog.
Cheryl Foss McDaniel recently posted..An Introduction To “Beautiful You”My Profile

Caterers Malaysia

Really like the post, I am big fond of music; love to hear all sort of music, Reception music is the Best ,Can u let me know where to find best catering service provider for all arrangement to be made at the time of celebration so that no fuzz is made ,everything goes smooth and happening, from start till end…

Ashley F

Hey Robbie,
What a great venue! Looks like an awesome place to listen to some classical music. I must say it has been a while since I managed to do that, and I have less excuses as I live near Zurich in Switzerland. We have a great Opera house that kind of looks similar to your photos.
Acoustics are also an interesting thing, and it is quite hard to get that right in any room I am sure!
thanks for the interesting post
Ashley F recently posted..Playing Cards for Magicians – So Many ChoicesMy Profile

Bento Food Delivery

I think everyone likes music specially the music in wedding or reception. Music is the only thing which can fresh mood of any body at any time.Many people love to dance on nice music.I think nobody can survive without music in this world.Music is present everywhere in this world. Without music every occasion is boring and colorless, so all people hire DJ on weddings and receptions.

Catering Singapore

Music is like soul of a nature’s voice. You cannot separate music from nature. According to me, music is like all voices and rythms that we enjoy in this world. Music is not just a song sung by any singer. You can hear music in forests area. Music makes you feel happy when you are tensed because of some problem. Music is just for enjoyment. You can feel music inside you too. Thanks for sharing this post with us………….

Tea Reception Catering

In my view points music is the backbone of any wedding. Your blog elaborates the meaning of music in wonderful meanings and I like it very much. There are so many forms of music like rock, pop,jazz etc. Thanks for sharing this blog..

Kristi Klemm

Great post! It’s so important to know a room’s acoustics before choosing music, as well as the mood you’d like.

Food Processing

Great post!! Music is everything, It can change everyone’s mood. By choosing good music depends on our mood will give good satisfaction. Thanks for sharing it keep sharing such a nice and informative posts.

Riley Bass

Very helpful post, thank you for taking the time to walk through how to decide what music is best for a given situation!

Previous post:

Next post: