Music has a tremendous ability to invoke feelings and trigger memories, which is why it’s important to consider the nature of your event when choosing the music you ask your DJ to play. In my blog, “Choosing the Right Music for Your Event,” I talked about issues you should think about as you put together your playlist. Let’s take that further and talk about the types of music that work best for various events.
You want the music to evoke positive memories and emotions, not to drag up unpleasant feelings. You also want the music to be appropriate for the situation. For example, a lot of contemporary music contains profanity, violence and sexually-explicit references—the beat may be great, but do you want those lyrics at your wedding reception or a corporate event?
Wedding receptions are probably the most sensitive event when it comes to choosing music. Typically, you’ll see every age group, from youngsters (especially if your wedding party includes a flower girl and/or ring bearer) to seniors (grandparents and even great-grandparents) and every generation in between. It’s okay to skip the Sesame Street songs the children listen to, but otherwise your music selections should span all generations. In addition to being romantic, the melodies and lyrics should be positive and uplifting—after all, do you really want to dance to a song about heartbreak and misery at your wedding?
You also want to be sensitive to how the music will affect your guests. You certainly can’t be aware of everyone’s special songs, but if your parents are divorced and will be attending your wedding with new partners, you probably don’t want to play “their song” at your reception.
Mitzvahs are interesting events and bring their own special challenges when it comes to choosing music. Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs are Jewish coming of age rituals; it makes sense that the music should appeal to the kids who are being celebrated. But it’s important to keep the adults happy as well. I’ve already mentioned the special challenge of contemporary youth-oriented songs, yet a good disc jockey will be able to play music that the kids will enjoy but that won’t give Grandma a heart attack. At Marc Burgess Productions, we get our new music from a reputable subscription service that provides us with cleaned-up versions of current songs (it’s the same service that provides Ryan Seacrest with music for his radio program).
When it comes to corporate events, the issue of appropriateness is critical. If your goal is to motivate your sales team to hit some new quotas, you don’t want to play a bunch of sappy love songs or slow dance music that could lead to some inappropriate behavior (and possibly damage some careers). Consider your program, the various presentations, and how the music and lyrics can positively contribute to the mood. When people get pumped, they’re likely to start singing along, so be sure the words reflect the results you want.
As you interview prospective DJs in Central Florida, ask what they recommend in terms of music that is appropriate for your event. Their answers will help you choose the right DJ.