In high school there were always assignments for parties. You know what I mean. The one guy in your class who could grow a beard usually had to get the beer. The girls mostly took charge of the pre-social media era of getting the word out on the where and when. Certain people had transportation duties and then there were the music guys. Their ever most important job was providing the tunes.
This used to be a very challenging job. Nowadays even my mother carries around a blue tooth enable speaker system that can broadcast her playlist. But that doesn’t make her a curator or worthy of title -Tune Provider. And that is what we are left with. In an era when everyone can bring music and usually do, it’s time for the curators to rise up and take charge of the music again.
People think it’s easy. “Oh wait,” they yell. “I can just touch this button and listen my music is playing through this awesome speaker.”
Only a few things wrong with that. Number one -what they are playing can hardly be considered music and number two their definition of ‘awesome speaker” is far from accurate. True, these music on-the-go systems are ample for some situations, but providing music for a party is not one of them, I’m sorry.
Just because you carry a speaker in your purse doesn’t grant you music director status. So I offer a few rules for proper music playing at a party that I will define as a gathering of four or more.
The Speakers- Heavier usually means better and if they have a plug they are certainly superior to battery or solar powered options. This of course limits your choices but for the true purveyor of the trade of music curator at a party, it is a key element. That means that the ‘box’ you must carry to the beach is going to be heavy mostly because it should need 4-8 ‘D’ batteries at the minimum to garner enough volume to even be considered. Those pocket cubes are fine when you and your date are going to sit and watch the stars from your deck, but if you need to overcome wind and conversation, you better have power. And keep in mind that volume strains batteries more than time on.
Playlists- This is crucial. All these nouveau music coordinators bring their ‘latest and greatest’ music with them unfiltered. The problem with this is at parties people don’t want to hear new music. They want to hear familiar music properly chosen for the situation. Music they love. Yes, you can throw in an occasional new track but it better be surrounded by classic tunes a majority of the revelers are going to relate to. The key to being a great provider of ‘zee tunes’ is having people ask you who this or that band is not you telling them and forcing them to listen. That rarely works. Therefore preplanning is a must.
One must anticipate the mood and be prepared to go deep into the night with numerous options and enough songs to prevent repeats as well. If you can’t have a minimum of three playlists each with 150-250 songs don’t bother.
In a Genesis song there is a line “All are not huntsmen who blow the huntsmen’s horn.” I suggest all are not in charge of the music just because you have a speaker. Please leave it to the professionals in the group and go buy some beer.