How to include music in a Corporate Conference

Behind the scenes of our fantastic band, MIB, working away is our office team. For every event the band perform at, there is a lot of preparation and thought/planning that goes in to it. The office is operated by Sera, Francesca and Rachael who also work in the band as vocalists, and have done for 10+ years so their ideas of how live music can fit in to an event is very much based on first hand experience. Just as much fun and love is put into the organisation of the events, as is on stage whilst performing.

We love working with our clients to bring their ideas to life and we have written about our process before, however this week we wanted to talk about a brief we have had for a conference.

How can we incorporate live music into a conference?

For this event the guests arrive on the evening of day 1, and are invited for a drink in the bar followed by an evening of wine tasting and tapas. The brief for this part of the event is to be very much background, and to not peak too early. So for this, we will provide our pianist and vocalist to perform for the evening. They will perform 3 x 40 minute sets spread out over the evening. The style of music will be very laid back, performing jazz and pop ballards.

Day 2 involves an all day conference and this is where our challenge (and excitement!) begun. How can we involve music, and how can we make this conference different to others? A lot of conferences do use music, but this is mostly pre-recorded clips. So we have decided to take inspiration from the award stings we have been doing this year and provide live musicians for this.

Due to space restrictions at this event this needed to be kept quite small, so we will use our DJ, percussionist and Saxophonist. Throughout the conference they will be on hand to perform short clips of music as people come up to take to the stage. They will perform over dance tracks (an Ibiza/thumping dance style) to create a fun and inspiring vibe. Our client is also going to team this up with their lighting engineer to create some great effects. The songs the DJ will play will be instrumental with the Saxophonist taking the lead lines and improvising over the top. Our client is providing us with a script which the musicians can follow and take their cue from.

This will take up the morning, and for over the lunch our client wants to keep the vibe going, so we will be providing a 4 piece line up (vocals, keyboards, double bass and cajon) to perform some up tempo pop music. As it is over lunch and people will be networking, this needs to not be too intrusive which is why we have chosen cajon, (a percussive box that the drummer sits on and plays) to provide a more laid back feel, rather then having a full kit.

For the afternoon, the client wants to do something a bit different, something that includes their guests. The guests are all from the same company, however are from all over the UK so in order to bring them together and do some team building, we will be spending an hour with them working on their theme song for the company!

Our client has chosen a well known pop song, and the guests will be split into groups and asked to re-write the lyrics to reflect their company. 8 of our band members will be on hand to work with them, either helping them with lyrical structures/phrasing or with an acoustic guitar helping them see how it can fit to music.

We have done this idea before however slightly different, in that the lyrics were written before the event and we were asked to record the track in advance, but we know this works really well and can definitely see this working in this situation.  Most people have a love for music whether it is dabbling in playing an instrument or just enjoying listening to music, and if they haven’t kept up their love of music over the years, hopefully this will take them back to their childhood memories of music at school. The main aim is to get people working together and bring a different element to their working relationship.

Once the song is ready, our band will take to the stage and they will sing their theme song as a group altogether. Our client’s production team will be projecting the lyrics on a large screen so everyone can join in.

After this, there are a couple of hours where they don’t need us, however the next thing we will do is the evening. Guests will be invited for drinks in the bar at 7pm and we will have our Jazz trio performing some background instrumental tunes.

In between the conference and the dinner, the main room will be completely transformed. As the guests re-enter the main room at 8pm, our 12 piece band will be on stage playing them in with some laid back beats. We love to see the look on people’s faces at this point of the night, as it can be quite surprising how different a room can look, in so little time.

Our band will stay on stage throughout the dinner performing in different line-ups, providing a dynamic performance. This will range from instrumental music with piano, percussion and trumpet, to a harmonic masterpiece with the 4 vocalists performing their beautiful rendition of Stand By Me with our guitarist accompanying them. After dinner there will be a couple of speeches for which we will provide the stings as a full band, as people take to the stage.

And then when all is finished, all that’s left to do is party! The MIB 12 piece will perform until midnight providing party music to keep people dancing.

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