Concert Etiquette

During a “classical” music concert, it is customary for audience members to sit quietly and be respectful to the performers on stage. Audience members need to remember that the musicians on stage have practiced hard to be able to perform and musical ensembles have spent many hours rehearsing for a concert. Performers must remained focused on their task: to perform the music to the best of their ability. To have the most enjoyable experience at a concert, the following guidelines should be followed.

Guidelines for Audiences

  1. Enter and exit your seat only between musical selections. If possible, wait until the audience is applauding before moving. You should never move from your seat while music is being performed. Removing a restless or crying child would be the only exception. If you enter the performing arts center late, stand in the back until the piece is completed then find your seat once the audience applause has begun.
  1. Please don’t talk during a performance. Whispering is distracting to the performers and other audience members.
  1. Cell phones and all electronic devices should be turned off. Text messaging, though silent, is a distraction to the performers and other audience members.
  1. Please do not bring food, drinks, gum or candy into the performing arts center.
  1. It is customary to applaud when the conductor first comes out on the stage. He or she will bow to acknowledge the audience’s applause and the concert will begin.
  1. Some classical pieces of music are broken down into parts called “movements.” In between these movements the music will stop for a few seconds. Do not applaud until the conductor has dropped his hands and has turned around to acknowledge the audience.
  1. Whistling, yelling, shouting, screaming, or making other noises are generally not appropriate for classical music concerts. Applause (clapping) is the only form of appreciation that should be shown. If a piece deserves special recognition, the audience may choose to rise in the form of a “standing ovation.” Following these suggestions will always result in greater enjoyment for you, your fellow audience members, and the musicians on stage.

One more thing — if you see someone misbehaving, do your best to quietly and politely discourage the behavior. By demonstrating good etiquette, others will usually follow.

Notes For Performers

  1. All eyes should be on the conductor/leader at all times. Focus your attention to the task at hand – performing. Pay no attention to the audience. They are there to see you, not the other way around. We have all spent a lot of time practicing and rehearsing, so make it pay off by giving the best performance you can!
  1. At the end of the performance will stand face the audience and smile. Even if you are really afraid – SMILE!
  1. Enjoy the thunderous applause!! Do not change/adjust your sheet music until the applause has come to a complete stop. Enjoy the moment, and have fun!