Dear Muse, How Do I Incorporate Sound Into My Design?

Dear Muse,
I want to incorporate the 5 senses into my next event I am planning, but I don’t really know where to start other then visual, obviously. How do I work in the sensory element of sound – other than having a DJ or band? 

Last but not least, the element of sound. How does one incorporate sound into the picture when designing an event or celebration? (If you are interested in using the other senses, just scroll back the last several weeks on the blog!) As for sound, it plays a fairly obvious role in events but if you approach it as part of the overall sensory experience, it takes on a life of its own and can be a lot of fun to work with.

We all have memories in our lives that pull from our sense of hearing – our mothers voice (scolding or praising), our father’s whistle, the first car we ever owned, the sound of the holidays at our sisters house, or the ambiance in the restaurant the day we proposed. Sound is a powerful memory trigger that locks us into a moment. Why not play with that as you craft your perfect party?

Sure, there’s the DJ or band.. that’s pretty obvious. But what about the music? Is it romantic or just background elevator music? Is it Jazz that pulls on your memories of times gone by, or a lively rhumba that pulls on passion? What mood are you hoping to set?sound

What about the venue – what sounds are inherent to that experience? Are their airplanes flying over, a train nearby? Or do you just hear waves lapping against a shoreline? Is it a busy space and you hear the clink of glasses, the low rumble of a crowd, or is it full of life? Is that what you want?

Can you control the experience of the guests by sound alone? Can you form and fashion their emotional response to particular moments during the unfolding event with the dinging of a calming bell, or the clanging of cymbals. Would the flutter of doves add to the experience or detract? Can you hear the chatter of children at your celebration and how does that make you feel? Sound is powerful – as a focusing point, as well as a detractor – so play with it wisely!

~Christina, Muse


For all of you reading this… what’s your design challenge? Have a question you would love to ask a designer to help you create your perfect space or event? Ask! Email me at with “Dear Muse” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you.

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