Encore Blog

9 live music ideas to make your Christmas party unforgettable

So you’re looking for music for your Christmas party? Whether it’s an office Christmas Party, a corporate Christmas extravaganza, or simply a small get-together with your family and friends at home, we’ve helped hundreds of customers book for all sorts of Christmas parties. Here, we’ve listed the top 10 types of music entertainment for your festivities.

Carol Singers

Estimated cost: £170 per singer (£720 for a Vocal Quartet)

Victorian Christmas Carollers
Image courtesy Christmas Matters Holiday Carolers

Top of the list is a Christmas classic – Carol Singers. Carol Singers are versatile and can perform at the beginning, during the middle, or at the end of your event.

You may want Carol Singers to entertain guests as they arrive at the venue. You could also bring them out during dessert, if you’re hosting a sit-down meal. Alternatively, you can have Carol Singers performing to guests in the early hours of the morning.

Carol Singers don’t need to stay in one place, and can roam around your venue entertaining different groups of guests.

If you’re going for a Dickensian vibe, many singers can provide “Victorian Carol Singers”, where they will dress up in period costumes. These groups usually come as a quartet (4 singers) and cost more than uncostumed singers.

Christmas Brass Ensemble

Estimated cost: £170 per player (£890 for a Brass Quintet)

The Salvation Army performing Christmas Carols in the snow. Image courtesy Chris Beckett, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjohnbeckett/5271519278

The sound of a brass ensemble playing some good old-fashioned Christmas carols is guaranteed to inspire nostalgia in even the biggest Scrooge of your guests.

Brass ensembles range in size, from a small trio all the way up to a large 12-piece brass ensemble. Typical instruments include trumpet, trombone, and tuba.

Brass players can dress smartly in black tie, or if you’re feeling really festive, you can ask them to wear Santa costumes. Alternatively, similar to carol singers, they may be able to offer period costumes from the Victorian era.

Singing Guitarist

Estimated cost: £240 – £350 (depending on experience)

Georgia Thursting, Christmas Singing GUitarist
Georgia Thursting, an outstanding singing guitarist available to hire through Encore

Looking to entertain your guests with a range of upbeat Christmas songs mixed in with well-known pop classics?

Hiring a singing guitarist is an affordable way to inject some live music into your festivities. Singing guitarists can perform acoustically, which means they’re able to roam around your venue entertaining guests in different locations. Alternatively, you can amplify the singing guitarist and provide some louder entertainment for the main room.

Looking for something bigger? Consider an acoustic duo or trio, such as Oh My Duo:

Singing Pianist

Estimated cost: £270 – £320 (depending on experience)

Cat Delphi, Singing Pianist available to hire for Christmas Parties through Encore

If you’re looking for something a little more laidback, look no further than a jazzy singing pianist.

If you’ve ever heard Michael Buble’s Christmas album, you’ll know that Christmas songs in a jazzy style can work extremely well.

Singing Pianists can either perform using a piano already at the venue, or they can bring their own portable stage piano. These stage pianos are extremely compact, so you don’t need to provide a huge space in order to hire a pianist.

As well as singing while accompanying themselves on the piano, singing pianists can also perform instrumentally, so you could entertain guests with some classy classical music while they eat dinner, then move onto the smooth jazz songs once the meal is over. It’s entirely up to you.

Jazz Band

Estimated cost: £180 per musician (£540 for a Jazz Trio)

Nouveau Lounge, a versatile jazz band available through Encore
Nouveau Lounge, a versatile jazz band available through Encore: https://encoremusicians.com/Nouveau-Lounge

A jazz band is an excellent way to add a cool, laid-back vibe to your party.

Jazz bands come in two flavours: with a singer, or as an instrumental group. A jazz band with a singer would typically involve a piano, double bass and drum kit. If you’re opting for an instrumental line-up, you would expect to have a saxophonist or trumpeter playing the melodies instead of a singer.

Jazz bands can be as small as two people performing in a duo, or you can splash out by hiring a huge 16-piece swing band to perform a headline performance during the middle of the evening. As you might imagine, a band like this isn’t cheap (roughly £3,200) but you’re guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on your guests.  

Find out more about hiring a Jazz Band in our Jazz Band Booking Guide – How to Hire.

Find out more about jazz band pricing here: How much does it cost to hire a live Jazz Band or Swing Band? UK 2018 Price Guide

Party Band

Estimated cost: £300 per musician (£1500 for a 5-piece band)

Kudos function band
Kudos band, available to hire through Encore: https://encoremusicians.com/Kudos

If you want your guests dancing until the early hours, there’s no better way to do it than by hiring a professional party band.

A party may also be known as a covers band, or a function band, but a band who bill themselves as a party band are usually experienced at getting guests up on their feet and having the time of their lives. The band will interact with guests and may sometimes even get guests up on stage singing with them. Don’t be surprised if you see your boss in amongst the band belting out some Slade after one too many drinks!

For more tips on booking a band for your Christmas party, click here: Function Band Booking Guide: How to hire

String Quartet

Estimated cost: £720

If you’re looking to create a sophisticated ambience at your Christmas party, look no further than a String Quartet.

String Quartets can perform Christmas carols and popular Christmas songs, as well as classical repertoire if it’s appropriate.

A String Quartet would be most suitable for a black-tie Christmas Ball, or perhaps a Christmas champagne reception, if that’s your cup of tea.

Learn everything you need to know about hiring a string quartet in our handy guide here: String Quartet Booking Guide: How to hire

Harpist

Estimated cost: £320

Amy Turk, available to hire through Encore: https://encoremusicians.com/Amy-Turk

A more affordable way to create that sophisticated ambience at your Christmas party is to hire a solo harpist to perform.

A harp isn’t the loudest of instruments, so we’d recommend having your harpist perform during a quiet period of the evening, such as the drinks reception or dinner, or perhaps in one of the smaller rooms in your venue.

Get the inside scoop on hiring a harpist here: Harpist Booking Guide: How to Hire

DJ

Estimated cost: £400

Santa DJ
Santa DJ. Image courtesy Digital DJ Tips

If you’re not fussed about the live aspect of your musical entertainment and you just want a solid playlist to ensure your guests stay until the end of the evening, then you’re best bet is a pro DJ.

There are lots of people who say they can DJ, but we would strongly recommend paying some money to hire a professional, rather than letting the intern loose on the decks for a night.

With a pro DJ, the transitions between tracks will be seamless, you’ll hear some interesting and rare mixes, and the DJ will be constantly gauging the vibe of the room and playing songs to match.


Ready to book some musicians for your Christmas party?

Simply click here to begin your Encore enquiry. We’ll quickly match you with available professional musicians based on your event date, music tastes and budget.

James McAulay

Encore Co-Founder & CEO. Cellist, pianist, singer and aspiring guitarist.

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