Parties aren’t planned, fully, until the soundtrack is set. Music sets the pace for the party. We cringe to think of that party that dragged on, and regret the one that seemed to end too soon.

A playlist helps pace your party, and gives your guests cues about where the party is at. Picking perfect party music adds rhythm and style to any gathering.

Picking perfect party music can be tough, especially if you’re not up with current tunes or if you’re unsure about what the party calls for. Don’t sweat it. We have a few tips on picking perfect party music. Get ready to sync your iPod.

A guide to picking perfect party music

1. music sets the pace

To pace a party, it’s a good idea to create a playlist that will ideally fall in step with your evening’s plans. We like to start with energetic, fun music to inspire a playful mood. And, by the time dinner is served, tone it down. It allows for easy conversation and leads nicely to a more subdued portion of the evening.

2. cool, sexy jazz is a good way to wind the party down

And, if you’re not a jazz connoisseur, lean on sites such as Spotify and Grooveshark, where they allow you to download playlists other people have created. Or, visit Pandora and find a jazz station.

3. themed parties call for a taste of music from that genre

A Cinco de Mayo fiesta or a St. Patrick’s Day celebration should include tunes that reflect the cultural flavor of the event. But, don’t go overboard. Too much of one style may be a turnoff.

4. big events with live music are important to pace, too

One of the biggest party killers is when a band or performer isn’t choreographed with the rest of the party. Address it up front to avoid any dead spots. It’s a real bummer if they take a break at the wrong time. Stagger performers throughout the party, or ask if musicians can take breaks during a toast.

5. communicate with your band

We suggest a band break right after a popular song, and segue immediately into a hit song from an iPod to keep the mood high and people dancing. When the band returns from break, suggest another hit song to keep the party moving.

Cheryl Says

Music is a crucial, expressive backdrop to any party. Inspire your guests to groove.