I love playing private events with just guitar and voice. Intimacy, aside from its other connotations, is the only word that accurately describes what makes it magical for me and for guests & host of the party.
Private events are cherished moments that bring together friends, family, and loved ones for specific celebrations. To create an ambiance that touches the heart and soul, I carefully curate musical moments that can make all the difference. This can be done in a lot of ways and varies from party to party, but here are some of my favorites.
When I play a private party, I almost always circulate my song list for guests to choose their favorites from. The result is that a wide group of people with varying tastes will all hear songs they love, and that people tend to sing along and bond together. Group singing is actually a very therapeutic activity that goes back to ancient times. Here is a video that shows a bit of group singing on “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.
Most of the time I’ll set up a second mic for guests to use and sing along with. Even during Covid I did this at a safe distance, as shown in this video. Look how happy they are singing together. In modern times, we don’t get opportunities to do this like we used to, singing together around a piano or a campfire.
Sometimes people bring up their phones and look at the lyrics and sing karaoke-sytle as in this video. Sometimes they even do group dances such as this family party in Syracuse where they all danced around in a circle.
I was going to say ‘naked’ but that’s a very poor choice of words given that we’re trying to set the stage for musical ‘intimacy.’ 🙂 What I mean by ‘raw’ is that I used to bring a looper pedal (and I still bring a harmonizer pedal) to play the rhythm track while I could embellish on top of it, but using a looper can be restrictive and it’s, again, more intimate, to just have 6 strings and voice. Unlike piano where you can play the accompaniment in one hand and the improvised melody in the other, on guitar it’s more challenging to play solo sections without the looper, but not only do I enjoy the challenge, but it keeps me ‘mellow,’ as in, I’m not as tempted to over-strum or over-play as I am with a looper.