A guide to attending your first classical music concert by Emily Whittington
For some, the idea of going to a classical music concert is daunting; what do you wear?! When do you clap?! Isn’t it just for old people? Surely it’s out-dated right?
There are so many misconceptions surrounding classical music, which is a great shame for everyone!
So, I am here to tell you that classical music is, and has always been, written and performed so that it can be enjoyed by all. It has a vibrancy all of its own, a power beyond measure and anyone who is curious enough, has countless opportunities to hear it. So why not try it, and make your judgments after? You won’t believe what you’ve been missing.
For those classical first-timers out there, below are a few tips for achieving impressive classical concert etiquette!
1. Try not to talk during the performance and turn your mobile on to silent – much like at the cinema – it’s distracting, and you might make others envious of your popularity.
2. When it comes to clapping, you can follow the lead of others in the audience – it might save you from embarrassment as the lonely echo of your hearty clap reverberates across our world-class acoustics. Some performers prefer the audience to applaud only when the concert is over. However, others do appreciate your clapping after a particularly breath-taking movement. So, it’s a difficult one to call; and if you are unsure, just watch how others react. You should feel comfortable expressing your appreciation when you feel it! When the encores begin, be prepared to clap your heart out!
3. Sound quality is all-important at a classical concert. The tiniest disturbance can be a large distraction for performers, so if anyone arrives to a classical concert late, or leaves the auditorium during a concert, then they may have to forfeit the right to re-enter; and this is only right. If there is an interval, and guests leave the auditorium space, then of course you have an opportunity to enter the hall again and enjoy the second-half of the performance.
It is the quietness that surrounds the audience, and the concentration of the performers, that allows you to experience the power of classical music thoroughly. Voices and instruments are almost always unamplified, so being quiet is essential for the music to achieve its full potential.
4. Please, no pictures! Yep, no one will thank you for whipping out your smartphone and taking lots of photos and selfies during a classical concert. This is distraction at its worst.
One of the many points of a classical concert is that the music allows you to immerse yourself entirely in the moment; to appreciate the power of an entire orchestra, and be amazed with what they can achieve together. Each concert is unique, and you don’t want to miss it hiding behind your phone screen! Live it!
5. Again, food and drinks are noisy and can easily become a distraction, so will not be allowed in a classical concert. You will need to wait until the interval, and then treat yourself to something from the bar. Better still… head to our Laurent Perrier champagne gallery!
6. The dress code at classical concerts has changed dramatically over the years. There used to be a time when only formal dress would do. However, the dress code has relaxed a little; and whilst a lot of people still attend in relatively formal attire, customers are encouraged to wear whatever makes them comfortable. Perhaps leave the slippers at home though!
If you have never been to a classical concert before, then we encourage you to try something new. Yes, some of you may feel a little out of your comfort zone, but who knows; maybe a live classical concert will surprise you!
Try these out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR2JlDnT2l8 (Vaughan Williams ‘The Lark Ascending’)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQDoN40-_C4 (Gabriel Fauré ’Pavane’)