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Making an effective and suitable music compilation for your party

Updated on July 26, 2013
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What do you consider when compiling a music playlist

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You have plans for a party, have come up with an excellent guest list and have ideas for fabulous, mouth watering recipes. So what’s missing?

The music!

The music that is chosen, or in some cases, not chosen, can make or break a party. Though always in the background at parties, it has subtle but far reaching effects.

So why is music so needed at parties and how do we compile that much needed playlist?

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Why is music so important at parties?

Music is truly a vital element of parties. Without it, there will be a strong sense that something is missing or a feeling of discomfort and emptiness.

Music sets the mood at parties.

Whether the mood of the party is rousing, sentimental, or simply relaxed is determined by the music that the host of the party decides to play.

A relaxed party is not so relaxed when head splitting heavy metal music is being played. That might cause some of the guests to start leaving early!

Music indicates the theme of the party.

Music serves to remind party goers of what the party is about and what its purpose is.

It would not be appropriate to play songs about break ups, for example, at an engagement party. Nor would it be done to play sad, emotionally draining music at a high school reunion.

I once attended a wedding engagement where the person who compiled the playlist unwittingly or otherwise added the song “Changing Partners” by Patti Page to the list. Although the lyrics of the song end with “Oh my darlin I will never change partners again,” hearing this at an engagement or wedding nettled a few guests.

Music contributes to the atmosphere of the party.

Imagine that you are attending a party with lots of people where there is no music. Doesn’t it seem like walking into a vacuum?

Having no music at all at a party would certainly create a huge gap that must be filled before uncomfortable guests start to leave.

Music averts boredom.

Music creates an opportunity for an activity at parties. Whether for dancing or simply for people to sit down, listen to and chit chat, It certainly gives guests something to do.

If guests need a break from the socializing at a party, they may simply choose to sit back, relax and listen.

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Consider the sound system

The efficiency of the sound system contributes greatly to the success or failure of a party, so it should be thoroughly tested before it is put to use then. Some considerations come to mind with regard to ensuring a healthy sound system at a party.

The system should be in a well-ventilated location.

Electronic appliances, when overheated, have a tendency to shut down. I, and so would many, have experienced this happening to computers that have been over used or not ventilated for long periods of time.

At a party that is going to last for a few hours with music being played for that long, locating the sound system in an airy area will help to ensure that it does not break down and leave you in a musical quandary.

Limit accessibility to the sound system.

You might have some guests on the list (even if you would rather not invite them) whose fingers are a tad itchy and like to switch CDs or prod the sound system. Of course, this can be a hazard.

Limit accessibility to the system by making sure it is in a place where only you can get to it. The music must be heard, but somewhere too near the party area is not a good idea because milling guests or their children might decide to toggle with it.

Make sure it is fully tested the day before.

To make sure that it is running efficiently, make sure that it is fully tested the day before so that any repairs or changes can be made. Though this is a trivial matter, the system breaking down is one of the little things that can send the host into a fluster if it happens at the time of the party.

At a party a colleague organized on our behalf, the sound system broke down on the day itself because no time had been spared for testing it. Though the guests were nice enough to assure her that it would be alright, they certainly appeared bored and made it a point to leave rather early.

Can it loop?

If possible, use a sound system that enables tracks to return to the beginning once the entire playlist has been played. This is useful especially if there is no time in between to change CDs or tracks. Having to do so contributes to the stress of the host!

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What are the things to consider when building a party playlist?

Putting a music playlist for a party together may seem easy, but the success of the party depends on the thought that is put into building it. Here are somwe things that should be considered when putting that playlist together.

Tempo

Songs chosen should have an upbeat feel and tempo without being too loud. Try not to include to many soft of moody tunes to the playlist, save perhaps one or two to suit the tastes of certain guests on the list.

Consider the guests on the list.

This, of course, pertains mainly to their ages and tastes. As a teacher who organized many year end beach parties for teens, including music from One Direction or Justin Bieber rather than playing music by the Beatles and Eagles gave these youngsters a sense of fun.

I would do the opposite at a cocktail party for adults.

Try to include music from as many genres as possible.

There may be older guests who prefer easy listening at the party, while a few youngsters might have a taste for hip hop music. Some might have a big band liking while others prefer hard rock.

If you have a guest list of people of varying tastes and ages, compile a list that includes as many genres as possible.

Contrast artists

All of us have been to parties where the host plays the entire album of songs from one artist, then, if at all, merely switches to another.

That, of course, leads to infinite boredom. It does not point to the talent of the artist concerned. The same songs, over played, are jarring on the ears no matter how good they may be.

Inject a little humor in between the list.

Balance is the key and this should definitely not be over done. Playing a song that will tickle the guests a little contributes to the atmosphere. Humorous songs include parodies by Weird Al Yankovic (please do not over play these, though.)

Remember the theme of the party.

In planning a music playlist, you would have to consider the theme of your party. If your party has a 1960’s theme, search for music from that era. If it is a reunion. you might want to search for songs with lyrics pertaining to unity.

You might want to include in the list one or two unrelated songs to break the routine.

List of songs based on the theme of family

Song Title
Artist
Category
Family Affair
Mary J Blige
R and B
Family Man
Fleetwood Mac
Rock
Family
Amy Grant
Easy listening/inspirational
We are a family
Jamie Foxx/Beyonce
R and B
We are family
Jennifer Lopez
Pop/Techno/Dance
Family
Dolly Parton
Country/Inspirational
Family Song
Bruce Springsteen
Rock
Family Tradition
Hank WIlliams Jr
Country
A song for Momma
Boys to Men
R & B/Easy Listening
My Little Girl
Tim McGraw
Country

We are family Sister Sledge

Songs for a family reunion

I have put together a list of 10 songs that can be played during a family reunion. Family gatherings are occasions that we experience relatively often, and are sometimes find ourselves in the position of having to organize.

We are family by Sister Sledge

This version of the song by Sister Sledge can serve as an upbeat introduction to a family reunion. Composed by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards, it was originally rejected by Atlantic Records but quickly gained more airtime and became the number 2 song on the US charts in 1979. It also reached number one on the disco charts and served as a theme for the movie, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It certainly fits in well with the theme of family.

Homeward Bound Simon and Garfunkel

Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel)

This song was written by Paul Simon, performed by both himself and Art Garfunkel and produced by Bob Johnston. It debuted on the Billboard Hot !00 on February 12, 1966 and peaked at number 5. Simon wrote it at a railway station while on a long wait for a train and describes Simon’s longing to return home.

Simon has also performed the song with other artists like George Harrison and Willie Nelson. Other artistes like Glen Campbell and Petula Clark have also covered the song. This is a suitable number that reminds everyone of the theme of family reunions.

Homeward Bound/Home Glee

Homeward Bound/Home (Glee Cast Version)

This is an enjoyable listen if there are any teens or younger people attending the family reunion. Performed for an episode of Glee, its eclectic harmonies and outstanding vocals (and matching eye candy, of course) will serve as a draw for the younger members of the family.

Addams Family Theme Song

Addams Family Theme Song

This is a good song to interject a little humor to the family gathering, so I put this in the playlist for a touch of cheekiness. Originally arranged by Vic Mizzy, the arrangement was dominated by a harpsichord. Actor Ted Cassidy, as Lurch, reprised his Lurch voice with words like “neat”, “sweet”, and “petite.” Just for a little fun.

Everyday Chaka Khan

Everyday (Chaka Khan/Gerald Levert)

A collaboration between Khan and Levert, this song is a cool R and B number that fits in well with the theme of a family reunions. It was featured in the soundtrack of the 2008 film, Madea’s Family Reunion.

Song for Dad Keith Urban

Song for Dad Keith Urban

From the album Golden Road, released in 2002 via Capitol Records, the suave, smoldering Keith Urban of Country Music fame sings a touching tribute to his father. The album also includes singles like Someone Like You, Raining on Sunday and Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me.

With inspirational lyrics, it is a song that is a fitting tribute to all fathers.

Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Summertime DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Taken from the duo's fourth studio album, Home base, this is an excellent song if your guest list includes a few hip hop lovers. It is a fitting song if your family reunion i also a summer reunion!

A replay of Kool and the Gang's Summer Madness, the song was featured in a series of commercials for supermarket chain Walmart. It reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot Hundred Charts.

Love Me Colin Raye

Love Me, Colin Raye

Sung touchingly by Colin Raye about the love between a child's grandmother and grandfather, this song, easy listening and sweet, is bound to touch hearts.It climbed the charts and became a number one hit for him in 2007.

Dance with my father Luther Vandross

Dance with my Father by Luther Vandross

Another Loving Tribute to a father, Luther Vandross' poignant lyrics touch on childhood memories of his father, who used to dance with his mother.

Vandross was hospitalized when this song was released in 2003, and despite the lack of promotion was a hotly requested humber. It is certainly a song to play during family reunions.

I hope you dance

I hope you dance by Leann Womack

A major cross over country hit for Leann Womack from her album MCA Nashville, this is a song of hope that a mother dedicates to her daughter as she watches her grow. Other songs from the album like Why they call it falling" and "Does my ring burn your finger"also made it to the Billboard Top 40.

Conclusion

Compiling a playlist takes a lot of effort and consideration of many factors. It is well worth it if the music is enjoyed by all!


Copyright (C) by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All RIghts Reserved

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      On how to compile a music playlist for a party and a few songs for a family reunion.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Michelle, loved your tips and the songs you picked here. Totally agree that music does make or even break the party. Have of course voted and shared all over, too!!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      what an AWESOME idea to collect songs that coincide with the theme of the party!

      this hub made me want to dance, Michelle!

      Party ON - Yee Haw!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that song by Keith Urban. As for parties, we never have any. Having said that, this is a great game plan for those who actually have people over for a party.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for all your suggestions Michelle!

      We don't often have parties and usually I would choose the music with the theme of the party.

      At one time, we organized Murder Mystery parties... that was fun to find special music that would match the theme!

      Another time, with two other friends we organized a special party for the 45th wedding anniversary of my neighbours...the music was provided by their son who plays the violin and their daughter in law who plays the cello.... that was very special!

      As to organize a playlist, I would do it depending of my guests....or the theme of the party.

      Thanks for making us think at those moment who seem maybe not essentials but they are important when you really want to take good care of your guests!

      Have a great Easter!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I'm over that part of life where I throw parties. We used to have a big New Year's Party when Hubby was alive. We'd invite friends and clients and have a great time!

      You did a great job with your choice of music. I see some of my favorites here and I enjoyed listening to them.

      Voted UP, and will share.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant hub Michelle so interesting and beautifuly presented. Voted up and shared too.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Beautiful hub! I have friends of all sorts, and therefor also music of all sorts. (Except Heavy Metal.)

      Lovely hub about suitable music for parties!

      Thank you, midget :)

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      What a great hub! You made a good choice of music and your tips are very useful.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is a wonderful hub with a great selection of music and just the planning that is so important. We don't have parties anymore, except for big family gatherings. Of course, music is part of that too. Great tips.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Loved this hub, Michelle.

      Music is imp and to compile it needs effort and knowledge. I am glad you gave a couple of choices.

      Voted up as awesome!!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, tips and ideas. Music is the spirit and soul of a party. Homeward Bound is my favorite. Voted up.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Janine!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Let's party, Leslie!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Yup, this is for the occasions when we might be in the position to throw one, though yes, parties are troublesome! Thanks Bill.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Those murder mystery parties sound like fun. Cluedo comes to mind! And I can imagine that the 45th anniversary was a true success. Thanks for sharing, Kidscrafts!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Mary! I wouldn't want to organize a party unless I have to as well, because they can be a hassle. But can be fun if done well. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Eddy!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I am not a heavy metal fan too, Martie, and we can shake hands on that! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Janet!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Pamela! Yes, I targeted this hub for that. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Yes. And a little research sometimes because we can't know all songs! Thanks for sharing, Ruchira!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Mine too, Nithya! Thanks for commenting!

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Wow, I want to come to your party! Great hub.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      You are most certainly welcome, Sheri!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This is a great idea for a hub and a great idea for a party. Shared.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Glim!

    • ryanjhoe profile image

      ryanjhoe 3 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      This is very useful for me since I love having a party and you give pretty complete advice to provide music during party. Nice hub, voted up!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Ryan!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

      Michelle, great hub with lots of good ideas. I am thinking about a shindig for my 50th - I may just include songs from 1963 :o)

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That'd be a cool idea, Julie!! Would rock that party!!!

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      dreamseeker2 3 years ago

      Full of great choices and advice. : ) Very useful and informative. Had to be voted up!!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Gwen!!!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      Very useful and awesome! Thank you for sharing and caring :) God bless you! Voted up and awesome!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you rdsparrowriter!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Great hub Michelle.

      Eddy.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Eddy!

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