by Joann Buckley Collins

Music can make the mood. It can make you smile. It can make you cry. It can make drive you to dance or leap with joy.

While we aren’t gathering in crowds these days, music can still bring the spirit of your event to life, whether it’s as lead-in music for a virtual event or a playlist you email out to your participants to remind them of that event experience.

Get started creating that perfect playlist by first looking at the demographics of your participants. The music that’s most like to move them is from the era when your participants were in their late teens and early twenties, whether means picking top hits from today, the 80s, 90s, or the early aughts. It brings joy to hear a song you haven’t heard since your youth, and realize that you know all the words to sing along.

To avoid becoming too stuck in one era, mix it up with a few songs from contemporary radio and also reach back into the archives for those classic oldies that get everyone singing along.

Then, take a look at the emotional arc of your event. Are you building a playlist for an inspirational Opening Ceremony, a celebratory Closing Ceremony, or a moving memorial moment of silence? Craft a playlist that starts slower and quieter and builds to a crescendo, for maximum impact.

The last thing to consider is the type of activity. Match the BPM of the songs in your playlist to the pace of your activity. A warm-up is in the 90-115 BPM range, a walking pace is usually around 115-120. A jogging tempo is approximately 120-125 and running about 140-145. A good tempo for dancing varies from 100-140 BPM. You can find lists of songs listed by BPM at several online sites, including and

For the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, there are several “signature songs” that you’re likely to hear at the events. Since 3-Day participants often come back year after year, just hearing one of those songs can trigger fond memories, reminding them of that warm event experience. So we created two Spotify playlists for 3-Day participants to help get them in that 3-Day mood:

How are you using music on your virtual events, or to connect participants back to the live events of years past?

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