Conference organisers often overlook the importance of music choices at their conferences but we consider it to be as important as the choice of venue and speaker. Without the right music at the right time, your delegates can feel awkward or be distracted from the content of the event. Here are our thoughts on conference music based on our years of experience working in the conference production industry.
Background music on arrival
Whether your delegates are going straight into the conference room or waiting in a networking or registration area, you will want to have background music playing. The background music at this point in the conference sets the tone of the event as delegates arrive and ensures that the early birds don’t feel awkward walking into a silent room and striking up a conversation.
Is it a motivational sales conference? Then make sure your background music reflects this with up to date pop tracks. Are you about to deliver some bad news? Probably best not to go with the upbeat background music but you could consider something instrumental and calming like Tosca or Einaudi.
When planning your delegate's journey through the conference venue you might consider having some more generic instrumental background music in the networking / reception area and then louder more up-beat tracks as the delegates enter the main conference space. This will set the scene for a change of tone and help your delegates settle in whilst bringing conversations to a close.
Music stings are short pieces of music, often used in conjunction with voice of God announcements, to signal the start of a new section of the conference or to welcome someone to the stage.
Music stings prevent the risk of an awkward silent moment between the person being announced and arriving on the stage.
Good music stings are high-impact (often edited to start at the chorus of well known songs) and reflect something of the event, presenter or award winner. If is usual to ask your presenters if they have a preferred piece of music and then ask your audio visual company to edit this into a sting for your conference.
But be careful. We heard a story of a conference organiser selecting a track with the lyric “What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster?" as a sting. Then the award winner stood up and they had more than a passing resemblance to the ogre from Shrek.
Background music during breaks
Unless your conference is very short, you will almost certainly have some breaks. It’s important to ensure that you have background music planned for these breaks. As soon as the final presenter leaves the stage it is usual to begin playing background music. This is really important because it encourages your delegates to start moving and prevents any awkward silences. Background music during breaks is usually fairly quiet and is often instrumental.
Background music during group exercises
We’ve all been at a conference where the speaker introduces a group exercise, walks off stage and then nobody moves. It’s awkward. Nobody wants to be the first person to speak. Just like background music during conference breaks it’s important to use background music during group exercises or break out sessions to make delegates feel less self-conscious especially at the beginning of the session. It’s really important that the choice of music is not overwhelming and doesn’t just end up increasing the overall noise level in the room which impairs group communication. We always suggest instrumental music during group exercises.
Conference Background Music Inspiration
Here are some great artists to consider for instrumental background music at your next conference:
Escala Upbeat covers from a modern string quartet
Tosca Electronic background music
Raven Upbeat covers from a modern string quartet
Ludic Einaudi Modern classical piano
The Piano Guys Upbeat piano covers including strings