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Ideas for bringing the joy of live music to your virtual team social

Ideas for your virtual team social or company party online and things to consider when arranging.

Written BY

Simone Girardeau
Simone Girardeau

Co-founder, marketing & PR, can't sing to save my life

January 2021

Company events are going online

Now that so many office workers are working from home, and large scale gatherings are still restricted, many company socials have turned virtual. But without the cringe-but-secretly-loved organised fun of office sports days, team karaoke nights, or big company summer socials, how do you recreate the bonding and memories that come from these events?

Company social events, from regular team socials, to whole-company events help staff feel more connected to each other and create a break in the routine where we remember what we enjoy about work and come back feeling energised. With work invading our home spaces and home lives, we could all use some scheduled fun and a moment to stop, step back and bring some joy into our work. 

Live music is a great way to create a sense of occasion and inject some joy into any company event, and this continues to be true online! Here at Lockdown Presents, we do both personal concerts (birthday, anniversaries, get-togethers etc) as well as corporate gigs. We have sat in on a few of our company concerts, and I’m always amazed, and really energised by how special the feeling of live performance is, how engaging it is, and the power the music has to connect people even without being in the same room. 

Here are a few things to think about and ideas if you’re considering including some live music in your next virtual company event.

Style of performance

What style fits best with your company culture, and the event that you're trying to organise? Do you want to enjoy some culture, or get everyone dancing at home? Do you want to create a moment of reflection, or uplift everyone's spirits? The Lockdown Presents community covers many genres and styles, from classical and opera to jazz, pop and musical classics. Each performer can also cover a range of styles, e.g. our flautists can perform Debussy to Disney, so whoever you choose the performance can be varied to suit your needs.

If you have the time, having a couple of different acts works really nicely so that you can enjoy a variety of styles.

Solo or duo? Most solo artists perform with backing tracks so you still get a full music experience. The benefits of two (or more) performers together are that you get 'more' of the music played live, and you can benefit from the interaction between the artists. Bear in mind, a duo is twice the price, so your decision may also be driven by your budget.

A Manchester based company booked 30 minutes of live music with Lockdown Presents for their company summer social. The second half was all about fun and connecting as a team so after 45 minutes of breakout room fun sessions (quizzes, cooking classes, drawing and more) they had 30 minutes of music. Starting with a cello and viola duet who opened with a famous piece from Bizet’s Carmen to start, followed by a guess-the-movie soundtrack and some uplifting Beatles. Next they had singer-pianist duo 2Plo who performed some absolute classics from each decade since the 60s and had everyone dancing and singing along.

How does the music fit into your virtual event?

  • 'Spotlight' live performance: This is the most common type. Anywhere from 5-60 minutes (15-30 minutes we think works best) performing for the whole group to listen and enjoy. 
  • Musical interlude: Give participants a break between sessions, a chance to refill and recharge with a beautiful, but lower intensity musical interlude. 
  • Break-out rooms: Use the functionality in video conferences to break out into small groups. A live performer can create a private party with requests from participants, or use a musical prompt to facilitate a thought-provoking discussion that fits with a learning theme for the day.
  • 'Drinks reception' / Virtual Happy Hour: Use live music as a backdrop for some social time. Zoom and most other video conference software allows smaller groups to have break off chat windows so individuals can use this time for messaging and catching up with colleagues.
A Global consulting firm used several artists to join small breakout groups for a training day. The performers gave participants prompts to spark new ways of thinking and discussion, e.g. each participant shared their reaction to the performance and the group observed how individuals' reactions and perceptions are all unique and influenced by their own personal contexts.

Audience interaction

Make your performance more engaging by adding some level of interaction, this can be as simple as some chat between the host and the performer, or ask the musician to give the audience some voting options. Zoom and Teams both have lots of options for voting, chat and Q&A. Some examples of how to include interactivity for your virtual concert:

  • Multiple choice vote for which song you’d like to hear next
  • Guess the movie soundtrack 
  • Fastest person to guess the composer / name of the song
  • Best audience dancing 
  • Best audience air-guitar or miming 
  • Or play into a theme for the day e.g. Have a discussion/vote around different perspectives on a piece to highlight diversity of thought

How to introduce / MC an artist

Typically someone will take the role of ‘MC’ and introduce the different sections within a virtual event. The MC can give a short introduction to the live music section (we're happy to provide a few example lines if helpful) and the artist will introduce themselves. Our artists can also join as a surprise and introduce themselves too! Our artists are all experienced performing at large events and can tailor their intro and patter to suit your needs, you could keep it focused on the music for a musical interlude, or learn something new and have them tell you more about the pieces they are playing.

Why book Lockdown Presents?

Hopefully the above has inspired you to incorporate some live music in a future company event. We would love you to book one of our artists for your virtual stage!

Lockdown Presents' core purpose is to help the performing arts thrive, not just survive, during this period of change and provide paid performance opportunities to professional musicians and singers. By booking a Lockdown Presents gig, you not only get to delight your employees, but you know that you are supporting the arts and making a huge difference to individual musicians whose livelihoods have been turned upside down. For even more feel-good factor, we donate all our profits (and the team is entirely volunteer run) to three amazing charities; Mind, Refuge and Age UK.

"That was AMAZING! Thank you for arranging it, the acts were absolutely awesome! It was all really easy sound wise too."
Company summer social, July 2020
"We’ve really been inspired by the conversations we have had with you and the other creatives we’ve worked with over the last couple of weeks.  I think we’ve learned something very important about the potential for remote work like this, so I hope this is the beginning of a longer conversation."
Global consulting firm, July 2020

How to book

Browse our performers and see our FAQs on how to book. When you complete the booking form you will have the chance to provide more detail about what you are looking for. Corporate bookings for a virtual concert start at £75

About our technology: Our standard platform for bookings is Zoom and we find that Zoom works best for live music due to the sound settings available. You do not need to create a separate link for the music section, just share your existing Zoom link with your performer and they will join you there at the appointed time! We have also managed to crack Microsoft Teams for live music (although it doesn't work for all our artists as it requires specific recording devices) so we can join you on a Teams call too. If you need to use different video conferencing technology, get in touch with us and we'll see what's possible.

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