5 Ways You Should Be Using Music At Your Events [Video]
How To Use Music At Events
Today, we’re going to look at 5 ways you can use music at your next event that won’t cost you a cent, and will help you achieve your event objectives.
This video is brought to you by EventMB, the number one blog for event professionals, in partnership with SongDivision.
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Music can have a positive impact on your events, in terms of participation, engagement and making your event memorable. Here are five free and low-cost ideas to incorporate music from Andy Sharpe, CEO of SongDivision.
Get Them Singing
I know, the idea of getting your group to sing can sound very ‘kumbaya’ and cheesy. But it doesn’t have to be.
First, let me give you the scientific reason why singing is great for your event toolkit. A German study in 2014 showed that singing with other people releases twice the normal amounts of oxytocin into our system. Oxytocin is the powerful ‘cuddle’ chemical that is responsible for creating social bonds.
So, if one of the objectives of your next meeting or event is to strengthen bonds amongst your attendees, wouldn’t you love to legally pump an extra dose of oxytocin through everyone’s veins?
To quote Professor Robin Dunbar, an Evolutionary Psychologist from Oxford University, “Music is fundamental to our ability to hold together large communities of individuals. Our pre-human ancestors bonded by grooming each other (e.g. picking fleas off each other), which released endorphins and oxytocin, hormonally cementing social bonds. But there are only so many monkeys you can groom in a day. To reach the large group sizes that made humanity so successful, we needed to evolve something bigger and better. Something that would create oxytocin on a mass scale.” And five hundred thousand years ago that, according to Professor Dunbar, was music.
So music evolved as a way of sharing emotions, which increased our oxytocin levels and in turn forged powerful social bonds.
Now, how do you get your group to sing together without it being cheesy? Here are a few tricks:
– Find out who’s having a birthday during your event, and get everyone to sing them happy birthday! It’s a great excuse for a collective sing along, and everyone knows the words.
– If someone is being recognized with a special award, find out who some of their favorite artists or songs are and play it or have a singalong. Chances are they’ll be very fond of a classic that everyone knows – like Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way.”
– Or, if part of your event is celebrating a recent success, get everyone to join in with Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’.
– If you’ve got a skilled MC with some musical talent, they can actually ‘play’ the audience as a musical instrument. To see this done by the maestro himself, Google Bobby Mcferrin, who you know from the song ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, playing the audience at the World Science Festival.
Select an Event Theme Song
Why is music so much more potent at evoking memories than just words? Why do we remember a song much more than a speech?
There are two reasons:
1) Music is a ‘super-stimulus’ and unlike any other input, it arouses almost every area of your brain.
2) Music is itself emotional, designed to directly stir our feelings. Many studies have proven that ‘emotional memories’ form a permanent record in our brain.
So if a memory (or memories) are associated with a certain piece of music from our past, then every time we hear that music those ‘emotional memories’ will come flooding back from the corners of our long-term memory banks. When we hear a favorite song from our teenage years, we instantly recall that first kiss, summer break or the smell of our grandparents’ rose garden.
If one of your event objectives is for people to think about their experience long after the event itself is over, then tie that memory to a song! Pick a song to be your ‘Event Anthem’ – something that fits the theme of your event and suits the demographic of your audience.
Avoid those massive top 40 hits that are used for every sports promo and highlights reel – those songs are already tied to a thousand other memories. Pick something that hasn’t been overplayed, there’s no shortage of great songs out there, and play that song throughout your event – as walk-in music for plenary sessions, and playing speakers on and off the stage.
If you’ve got the in-house music talent or budget for a music producer, write and record your very own original song, so that your song is uniquely tied to your event.
Whatever song you choose, consistency here is the key. Make sure it’s played regularly at key moments, just like a theme song on a TV show. Then whenever people hear that song in the future, they’re going to think of your event!
Identify In-House Talent
Audiences LOVE seeing one of their own up on stage. There is always someone — either from your team or one of your attendees — with some real musical talent who can help you connect with your audience in a personal way.
Every day I work with some of the best musicians on the planet, who play with the biggest stars, and I see how much joy they bring corporate audiences around the world. But the highlight of the events we’re involved in isn’t about these professional musicians – it’s always about one or more of the attendees up on stage, rocking the audience, revealing hidden talents, elevating the group above the day-to-day emails and chaos, and creating a shared, emotional experience that everyone will remember.
If you’re throwing a themed party, let’s say for Halloween or the Oscars, ask people to submit their favorite scary song or movie soundtrack as part of the invitation.
If you are using Facebook or an event app, this doubles as a fun social media campaign and gives your guests a personal involvement in your event. On the night of the party, it won’t be just any music creating the atmosphere, it will be songs that your attendees love to get the party started!
Get Background Music Right!
Now that you’ve decided to use music to bring your next event to life, don’t blow it by playing the wrong music at the wrong time. Music sets the mood and can make or break an event. Just like topics, venue, and food, make music a part of your planning process and align it with event objectives.
If networking is the goal, make sure that the volume is right. For a party, you definitely want to play upbeat tunes. However, you want to make sure that the sound is loud enough to create the right atmosphere, but low enough to allow people to speak without shouting. Remember, even if you test the sound with the AV team ahead of time, an empty room sounds different than one packed with people and full of chatter. It’s important to find the right balance between hearing the music and having it overpower the event.
Background music isn’t just for parties. It can set the tone for educational sessions too. You can pick different music depending on the type of session. For a motivational program, choose something that is high-energy. If it’s a meeting where tough topics are being discussed, consider something soothing.
During sessions where people are working together in groups, music can be a nice addition as long as it’s not distracting. Adding zen-like music can stimulate creativity and increase productivity. If your meeting requires attendees to use a lot of brainpower, background music can serve as brain food.
Whether it’s in the general session, opening party or during a breakout, always make sure everyone, including the AV crew, understands the role music is playing so that they get the timing and volume just right.
So there you have it – 5 ways you can use music that won’t cost you a cent – and will have a positive impact on your next event.
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