Music has a powerful influence on our psyche. It has the capacity to set the mood, evoke a mood, and change the mood. It’s such a vibrant force that an entire credentialed branch of healthcare is devoted to music therapy. The film industry has soundtracks. Religious institutions have choirs. The President has “Hail To The Chief”. Schools have fight songs. And parties have DJs. Music is an integral part of life.

Setting the mood

When lovers coordinate a romantic evening, music sets the mood. Imagine the emotions that surface for someone walking into a dimly room with Marvin Gaye playing in the background versus the emotions surrounding the same scenario with death metal playing. Or consider the disrespect family member might feel if a funeral home played “Jock Jams” during a wake or a bugler played “Tapps” at a wedding. In these instances, music needs to match the mood.

Evoking emotion

It could be argued that many of the scary movies produced today wouldn’t be scary were it not for the music building a sense of anticipation or suspense before BOOM something jumps out of the closet. Test this theory. Have someone who has never seen the movie before watch a scary scene in mute and see if their response is as strong. Something in our minds connects movies and emotions.

Gerontologists and others who study those affected by Alzheimer’s disease have found that some of their patients show strong reactions to the music of their youth. Some who are otherwise non-verbal will sing along to lyrics of old hymns. Others who may have forgotten their own names remember the dance steps to a favorite tune. For these individuals, music restores life.

Changing moods

Music also serves as a means to change our moods—to motivate, soothe, and cheer. Many professional athletes choose a certain playlist to pump them up before the game. Baseball players have been known to have certain songs played when they set up to bat. Music pumps them up and energizes them to do their best.

The whole reason lullabies exist is because music soothes crying babies (and stressed out parents). Hospice workers often play soft music in the background of the room where a terminally ill patient rests to reduce their anxiety.

And after tragic events like the shooting in Orlando or the untimely death of a teenager in a car accident, music serves as a comfort. People use music as an escape, as something to distract them from the nastiness of the world for a little while. In some cases, music expresses the emotion words cannot.

When you invite a DJ to play music at your event, whether it be a graduation party, a frat party, a birthday party, a wedding, or a corporate event, you’re really asking someone to influence the moods of your guests. It’s about more than entertainment; it’s an environment, an atmosphere, a mood people will correlate to their time with you. Choose the DJ and the songs wisely.