5 Tips for Playing Live Music at Your Corporate Event


Live music may not seem like an important part of the corporate event planning process, but music is such a great addition when you want to execute a corporate event successfully. Music is a proven method to lighten an event’s mood, add a visual element to your event, and make guests feel comfortable. If your main objectives are for guests to network with each other and get your company’s message across, music can be a great way to reach these goals. Outside of music being the universal language, the type of music you choose can be the difference in your ability to add class and sophistication to your event or encourage guests to let their hair down and have a good time. 

Most corporate event planners will recommend hiring some type of music-based entertainment act. If you’re in the process of hiring live musicians, here are five tips for playing live music at your corporate event. 

Hire a Professional and Diverse Band

It is important to hire a professional band that is diverse enough to handle the different ebbs and flows of a corporate event. Since a corporate event usually centers around giving guests the opportunity to network, playing the wrong music at the wrong level or wrong time will discourage guests from chatting and possibly closing deals. There are times when the band should only play light background tunes so that the music doesn’t become a distraction to attendees. There are other times when the band should take the opportunity to engage with guests and play popular tunes to get the party started. 

An experienced band can decipher the difference between when to play light background music and instrumentals and when to turn up the energy! With proper planning and direction from you, a professional band and bandleader can navigate through any element of a corporate event. 

Accommodate the Different Moods And Activities Of The Night

Hiring a diverse band is a great move; however, there are instances when you may have to take a more tailored approach to choose the type of musicians hired to perform at the event. There may be different moods and activities throughout the night, and you want the music and atmosphere to align with said mood. 

Instead of a full-blown band, you may want to consider hiring a jazz trio or string quartet during the cocktail hour or opening ceremony. Hiring a smaller musical act gives you the ability to have light music playing in the background while guests mix and mingle because they can keep the mood lively without being overwhelming. Choosing a jazz trio or pianist is also perfect during the night’s dinner portion for those same reasons. In some cases, if you hire a full band, your booking agent will allow you to hire smaller segments of the band for different times of the night. Many Entertainment Exchange clients opt to book a full band and take advantage of “add-on” services by using some of the same musicians from the full band to play for the various segments of the entire event. Using add-on services not only offers versatility and saves on budget, but you won’t have to worry about having to keep track of multiple musicians — they will already be present for both segments of the night. 

Hire Additional Entertainment Acts
Madonna - Entertainer

Another way to accommodate the activities of the night is to hire additional entertainers. You can employ fun acts like dancers and impersonators or go another route and hire a culture-focused performance act like Chinese Dragon Dancers. If your budget leaves room for additional entertainers, we highly recommend taking advantage of adding another level of entertainment that will surely be a pleasant surprise for guests. Your live music booking agent should be able to make recommendations and offer referrals so you can connect with other entertainers of their caliber. 

Consider the Different Employee Groups corporate Event

If you’re lucky enough to get an idea of your guests’ demographics, this could assist you in choosing the best live musicians for your event. For instance, if your company is launching a new, cutting-edge product catered to Gen Z customers, the music should reflect their preferences. If your organization or the event caters to young professionals, it would be wise to choose a band that plays current mainstream hits. If your guest list consists of older, more seasoned professionals, you may want to hire a live band that plays a variety of music that performs classics from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. A mixed crowd will appreciate a nice variety of music that features Stevie Wonder and Bruno Mars, and a professional band will ensure they highlight a mix of artists like this.

Choose Music That’s Appropriate For A Professional Setting

Choosing appropriate music is essential when you think about your organization’s brand and making guests feel comfortable. Your entire event should stay on brand, and music is no exception to the rule. For instance, if your event has a theme, you can go the extra mile to find tunes that align with your theme. Think Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” playing during your Halloween-themed cocktail hour. 

Outside of theme, discuss using “clean” versions of songs with the bandleader and try to avoid super offensive songs so you can be respectful and inclusive of all guests. While music should lighten the mood, a corporate event is still considered an extension of the workplace. 

Match The Attire Of The Band To The Attire Of The Attendees

Appropriateness should not only be a consideration when it comes to choosing music- but the look of your live musicians should also be appropriate and match the theme and look of the event as well. A professional band will likely blend in with your crowd because most corporate entertainment acts understand the importance of their attire, matching the attendees’ dress. If your event has a theme, you can also ask the band to wear attire that goes along with your theme or provide additional costumes and props for them to wear upon arrival. For example, in the past, we’ve seen planners who had a Mardi Gras theme offer masks to guests and vendors, including the band. It is always a nice touch to make everything look and feel intentional and cohesive. Be prepared to discuss attire with the bandleader or booking agent, so the musicians have time to prepare. 

Choosing to play live music at your corporate event is a great way to receive and entertain guests while achieving high-level organizational goals. Be sure to start the booking process early and if you have enough time, request to see the musicians live so you can get a better idea of their flow and expertise. Finally, remember that although you are hiring musicians for a corporate event, this is an opportunity to have fun and enjoy yourself. If you are having fun, your guests will likely enjoy themselves as well. Collaborate with a professional agency like Entertainment Exchange and let them do the work for you! 

Last Minute Musicians 
Midlothian Center


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