Facilitating gatherings is far more than simply “hosting a meeting.” A lot of thought, care, and design goes into how to set up, run, and follow-up after a meeting. This level of thought is necessary because you want your gatherings to have impact as they are often the “stepping stones” for your collective’s progress.
One fun thing to consider when planning your next gathering is how music fits in. Whether you are gathering in-person or virtually, music can serve as a great tool to open the space, energize attendees, and set the mood for your time together.
We on the Forum team want to share some of our favorite music recommendations that we’ve used to kick-off our own gatherings as well as some tips when considering your meetings’ musical needs.
Our Favorite Go-To Songs
Whether we are kicking off a smaller meeting or a large convening, these are some of the songs we like to play (and replay) as folks enter the space. Often these songs have a lot of energy and may also be quite memorable. (We take it as a good sign when we see folks starting to either dance or visibly relax.)
Some of our favorites include:
- Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance with Somebody
- Dee-Light – Groove is in the Heart
- Beyonce – Energy
- Trombone Shorty – Hurricane Season
- Rodrigo y Gabriela – Tamacun
- Rusted Root – Send Me On My Way (Nice one to end a gathering on.)
Connecting to Current Events or Local Context
Music can also be a nice way to represent current events or local context. For instance, If your meeting is on Sept. 21, it’s a great excuse to kick off with Earth, Wind & Fire’s September or “may the fourth be with you” if you are gathering on May 4. Highlighting musicians local to your area is another fun approach.
Another nice practice can be honoring a much-loved artist who may have recently passed away. For example, we were holding a gathering around the time when Tina Turner passed away, and the team used our music time to honor her, as she’s simply the best.
Grooving to Your Group’s Playlist
If you are meeting regularly with a group, polling your group members about their favorite music can be a good activity to learn more about each other, and also share back what you’re learning into your meeting spaces.
Building a group playlist can be a fun activity to do together, with the extra bonus that you can use it to kick-off future meetings. It can also be something folks take with them after the meeting and listen to on their own.
Speaking of playlists, you are welcome to listen to our Youtube Playlist for meetings and gatherings. Visit our playlist on Youtube.
Opportunities for Discussion Starters
Music in general or your group playlist specifically can also provide nice opportunities for ice-breaker discussion prompts amongst your group members, such as:
- Why they picked a song for the group playlist
- What was their first concert experience or a favorite live music experience
- What is a song that they can listen to over and over and never get tired of
Sometimes during gatherings, you may incorporate time for quiet reflection. You can poll your attendees if they prefer silence or soft background music for these times.
One of our favorite reflection music sources is the Lo-Fi Hip Hop Girl channel that plays low key, ambient music 24/7.
Practice Your Music Tech
Whether it’s for in-person or virtual, it is helpful to practice your music technology ahead, especially if it’s more complex than just hitting play on your phone. If you are hooking up to a speaker, or sharing sound through your computer during a zoom meeting, we recommend practicing ahead to make sure things work the way you hope.
Building Your Collective “Culture”
Music has a special ability to create shared experiences and memories amongst your attendees. Considering how it can fit into your gathering can be helpful as you build the “culture” of your group and collectively work towards your goal.
Looking for more meeting tips?
Join us this February 13-14 for our online workshop Facilitating Collaborative Meetings.
In this workshop, you will learn about tools and strategies to help you more intentionally plan, design, and facilitate meetings that are results-driven and move your collaborative forward. This will be an active workshop including facilitation resources, small group discussion, and personal work.
We hope you will join us! Visit our workshop page to learn more. Registration closes February 9.