I was shopping at a department store right before the holidays. It was early in the evening, and there were other shoppers around, yet the store had a lonely, end-of-the-night, closing-time atmosphere that seemed to put a damper on things. Then I realized the customary background music that we’ve all become used to was absent. Without it, the store seemed to lack vitality and warmth. Which set me to thinking about background music…
“Canned” music is totally inappropriate for a noteworthy wedding, social or business event, of course, but the fact remains: music is a key – often subliminal—component in setting the tone in social settings.
Planning a moderate or large-scale event, a client will occasionally suggest dispensing with live music for cocktails or dinner, thinking that since it’s background music no one will “hear” it. That’s correct, if coming from ceiling speakers in a busy room. But well-played live music adds a subtle, positive ambience in these social settings—an effect that you will notice when it’s there and would miss if absent, like my department store visit. Its organic energy with an alluring quality only live music has the ability to provide.
Your guests’ mood will be enhanced by the right live music as they first arrive and throughout the early part of the evening, in the same way that a delightful appetizer primes your palate for the main course to come- Its vibrant, colorful, feels good. It’s part of the wonderful mystery of live music, draws you in. Whether a romantic Cole Porter song or upbeat Jason Mraz tune, played in the early stages of a party plays as important of a part as the rockin’, off-the-hook dance music coming later.
And the presence of “real” performers gives the music a sense of immediacy-Yes Its on! An energy that simply fills the room magically. Even if not elevated on a stage. Your guests will take in the musicians, interact with body language, energy is contagious – and all will appreciate the thoughtfulness of their host in providing live music for their enjoyment.
Music doesn’t have to be “in your face” start to end to work its magic—setting the desired mood for what’s to come is one of its most elegant, subtle, and profound charms.