Things you need to know about attending your first classical music concert
Updated: Aug 6
Do the Research!
Space, Location, and Company
First things first, before attending, do your research! In general concerts require long periods of sitting in silence and you want to make sure that it would be accomodating for you and the little ones. Orchestras and music orgs are starting to create more opportunities for young listeners, folks with special needs. There are outdoor concerts, sing-a-longs, and sensory -friendly concerts. You might have to do a bit of digging but it's worth it! It will absolutely enhance the experience of the concert and avoid any snafus.
The Music, Scores, & Genre
Personally, I like to do this because I like hearing the nuances in different performances of my favorite works. Getting to hear a real life orchestra in architecture built for this type of work versus a recording. For some
Plus it can put you at ease knowing when a song ends. My first time attending felt neverending. I just needed a little time to shift my mindset that I was going to be sandwiched between two strangers— and I desperately wanted to leave to get a second to process my surroundings (thanks claustrophobia. Anyways, there is a procedure to clapping, standing up or moving so knowing pieces can help with mindfulness. Looking up a little bit of information for the pieces that you're about to listen can give dimension on the music, especially if you are not an avid listener. Most concerts give reportorial list prior to you signing up and then usually they let you know what it is and sometimes they even have a short description of what this music is about. But it's always good to do a little research especially if it's not in your language. It just helps the overall understanding of the music that you're about to listen to.
I always, always think of attending these concerts as a date night even when I go by myself. Although dress codes are explicitly stated, it’s recommended. I personally think it adds to the experience. Put on your Sunday best and get dolled up. It's a concert. It's fun, it's a date night. You can wear super formal wear or something a little bit more subtle in general people do get dressed up to attend these concerts and I think it's just overall a nice thing to do for yourself.
Arrive on time
You wouldn’t want to be late to a date would you? You don’t want to be late or right on time because it is likely that they will not let you into the performance until the end of the first piece. It messes with the ambiance of the performance and to respect the other patrons, you will not be allowed to be seated. It doesn't have to be so heavy, not necessarily something you think you have to do but it is something nice to do. While you are planning on attending this concert, it is a good idea to get there early. The atmosphere of these types of concerts tend to be very very formal, to say the least. If you arrive early, if you do not arrive early it it is a possibility that they will lock you out of the concert, and you'll have to enter during intermission. They're very strict about this and you want to make sure that you don't miss out on anything. Those seats were expensive.
Clapping, Whistling and Hollering
Because you are in a room filled with people who want to be enveloped, the end of a work is the only time to clap and whistle and show your appreciation. It's usually, pretty straightforward
In terms of etiquette, there is a little bit of a standard going to these concerts. It's not like going to a rock concert or a pop concert. The first things first is that you are going to have to be silent throughout the performance. It and there are traditions where you should not be clapping in between movements of a symphony or a concerto. If you're unsure whether to applaud, just follow the audience. You know start clapping when everybody starts clapping. That's what I did when I first started attending.
Pro-tip: If you’re still unsure wait until the the conductor turns back around and bows… OR wait till everyone else claps
No Electronics and Definitely No Pictures
Make sure that your cell phone is silence and that you are not on your phone throughout the performance. Usually, as of recent I've been noticing that it's concerts go through a brief like statement where they just let everybody know like hey, no, this isn't that and what was actually kind of amusing to me is that larger symphonies are now starting to offer cough drops.
It's for a traditional concert, you will need to be silent and you will need to be still people aren't there to just experience the the orchestral concert these rules are strict because this type of music is usually performed in a very specific location like a concert hall or a church that uses its natural architecture to bounce off sound. None of this music is amplified usually. And the design of these types of halls are made so the tiniest tiniest sound can be as clear as possible in a distance. So if you're whispering in thinking that you are not loud, guess what the people who are 10 seats in front of you can hear you. It's kind of cool to be honest. But it sucks when you are listening to people crinkling their candy wrappers or you hear like a phone go off. Some of the concerts that I've attended I've actually seen the conductor turn around, Stop the Music Turn around and wait for the person to silence their phone. So it is not a good feeling to be in that situation. But it does disrupt everybody who is listening and the performers even even just
Lots of Rules
I know it sounds stuffy and stiff and it's not for everyone-- but we encourage you to experience a concert of this genre, especially as someone in the realm of music. If sitting in silence is a bit much, try to go to a concert less formal.