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Requests Vs. Set Lists

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I have touched on this topic before (see my previous note on “What REALLY Makes a Great Party”, but it’s worth addressing again.

There is a huge difference between a “request list” and a “set list”. A request list is a list of favorite songs that you want to hear at your party. A set list is a group of pre-chosen songs, in a specific order which is expected/attempted to be performed at your party.

At MOMENTUM TALENT GROUP, we want your request lists! We want to know what songs you love, and what you and your friends and family want to dance to, and what you want to hear! I say, “bring it on!” The more information you can give us, the better! And sitting down with your fiance, or your family and friends and coming up with songs you like is a fun way to get excited about your upcoming wedding or special event! It helps you anticipate what your great night is going to be like!

Set lists, on the other hand, almost never work. There are a few important reasons why. First, there are certain pivotal and transitional points at each party/event where the mood changes and builds. An example would be that at the beginning of the party, Momentum often plays songs that are “comfortable”…fun, easy to dance to, what I call “party starters”. Soon after, a song will be played which elevates the energy to the party for the first time. A song that automatically makes everyone want to dance to a higher energy. It could be going from “Let’s Get It On” by Al Green to “Locked Out of Heaven” by the Bruno Mars. The precise moment of when to make that change is simply impossible to predict in advance. That “right place” to change gear could happen 5 minutes into the party, or an hour into the party, depending on factors that are too numerous to list here. Just some of those factors are, the demographics of your guests, the lighting in the room, the size of the dance floor vs. the number of guests invited, the food service, planned toasts, special dances, requests by the client….the list goes on.

Now there are more than one such “pivotal/transitional” points in each party. There are usually 3-5 such places at each party. And trying to estimate where those places are is an exercise in futility! That is one major reason why developing set lists at home aren’t going to work.

Lets move on to the bandleader’s mindset. Since we don’t know where all of those pivotal points are at the party, the bandleader must identify with a huge degree of accuracy where those points are, as your party progresses. The best bandleaders know how to do this, and instinctively do it with ease. When those points happen, the bandleader must know the certain songs which are appropriate for those transitions. I know with THE MOMENTUM BAND certain songs that achieve the goals at those pivotal points. They are catagories of songs which I keep in my head at all times! And I have those request lists that my clients have given me on my stand. And I am always thinking, what is the next “perfect song” to fit in in this next slot? Is there anything my clients have requested that works here? If so, in it goes!

I hope this article ┬áhas been helpful. Come up with all of your favorite songs, favorite artists and favorite genres. Let Momentum know what they are! We’ll get them all in!

Larry Eckerling


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