Hosting a listening party is an opportunity to combine the elements of a good party with some good music. The event may be as simple as children performing a few songs they have learned on the piano or having a impromptu rock concert in the back yard -- or as formal as hiring a quartet to perform at a black-tie event. The type of music you are listening to at the party will dictate the other elements. A recital by 6-year-old children requires a different type of party than a performance by a professional chamber orchestra.
Deciding where to host the music appreciation party is a major consideration. If it is summer and the weather is warm, you may want to select an outdoor venue, with a contingency plan in case of rain. Also, calculate how many guests will attend. Your living room may be large enough for the musical performance, or you may have to rent a larger facility. Consider the importance of acoustics as well; the more formal the music, the more important the sound quality. You also don't want a loud band blasting in a tiny room. Finally, consider the requirements of the musicians. Will a humid outdoor venue cause havoc to a classical quartet's string instruments? Are there enough accessible electrical hookups to support a rock band's guitars and amplifiers?
To add a special touch to the festivities, you may want to ask the guests to wear outfits consistent with the music being played at the listening party. If it is country and western music, for example, cowboy boots and hats would be appropriate for the men and the women can wear square-dance type dresses and flat shoes. For New Age music listening, guests might wear "Star Wars"-type costumes.
Decorating your venue appropriately adds to the atmosphere. If, for example, you are going to be listening to Chinese opera, adorn the venue with red -- the lucky color in China -- lanterns and calligraphy posters.
Coordinate the refreshments to go with the type of music you will be listening to at the party. If it is French chamber music, you can serve Champagne and caviar. If the local high school band is performing, however, hot dogs and hamburgers are a better choice.
Design and decorate programs for your music party. Guests will appreciate knowing the names of the pieces to which they will be listening. If it is a casual party, you may want to invite guests to sing along or to do impromptu performances.
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