Top Tips

5 questions to ask yourself when choosing songs

Picking songs can feel daunting, here are a few things to think about when choosing them.

1. Are they suitable?

Make sure that you make decisions based on the age you’re catering for, the tastes of the people going to the event and if the lyrics send the message you want. For example, going down the aisle to I Will Survive may not be totally appropriate. Same for having a teenager’s birthday party with songs from Cbeebies as the main feature, unless that teenager happens to want them, of course.

2. Live or recorded?

Depending on the space you have available to you for the event, as well as the budget, live music may not be possible. While it gives a great atmosphere, if everyone’s cramped with no room to move, the music won’t be at the musicians’ best and the audience won’t be able to enjoy it as much. Going back to a birthday party idea, do you really need live musicians for playing ‘pass the parcel’? Of course there are some events that work very well with a combination of live and recorded music.

3. What do you and your guests like to listen to?

Assuming it’s your event, you need to make sure that you choose music that you enjoy. Make a playlist (or several) of music that you and your guests like. From this, you could request some of these songs for your live music, if that’s the route you’ve chosen.

4. What reaction do you want?

Would you like people to sit and chat? Dance wildly? We all know about the connection between dance music and dancing, sad music and crying, classical music and concentration. Think about what you would like your guests to do. If you’re having a big party with dancing, make sure that there is music in there that gets people moving.

5. Do you have everything you need?

If you have a list of songs, now you need to make sure that you have everything you need to play them on or have found the right musicians for you. If you’re at home, you’ll probably have all of the necessary equipment there, if not, you’ll want to check what kind of sound system there is and if you’re allowed to use it. If a sound system isn’t available, make a note of where the plug sockets are to plug your own music devices in, whether that’s a laptop and speakers or a CD player.

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