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Guide to Seeing a Live Orchestra for the First Time

  • Posted on: June 18, 2018
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When you’re first getting into classical music, sooner or later you’ll want to enjoy the live experience. Naturally, you’ll turn to a live orchestra concert. Though that’s your best option and you’ll definitely enjoy yourself, it can also be a bit nerve-wracking due to all the crazy myth people have spread about proper concert etiquette throughout the years.

All You Need to Enjoy the Show is Yourself

You’ve probably heard that you need to wear your fanciest tuxedo or evening gown if you want to fit in with other concert goers. But really, that’s completely unnecessary. While years ago, it was custom to go in your fanciest outfit, nowadays you’ll be fine with a casual or semi-formal outfit. There’s no need to bring a monocle and a top hat unless you really want to. Any clothes that make you feel comfortable will be fine.

Likewise, you don’t have to be a renowned classical music expert to enjoy the experience. Everyone can connect to a piece or performance on a personal level regardless of how much they know about it. Of course, you can study the story of a particular piece before it’s played, you can read the program before the presentation, or you can take advantage of the venues that offer short introductory talks before a performance. But even if you don’t, you’ll be perfectly fine.

Do Arrive Early

While you won’t need much in terms of preparation, you will need to arrive early. See, classical concerts start on time more often than not. So, to truly make the most out of your experience is best to arrive at least 30 minutes early. This gives you a chance to take in the atmosphere, read the program and turn off all your electronic devices. That last point is key. A cell phone going off in the middle of a performance is a distraction for everyone involved and it can really ruin the experience. So, make sure at the very least, you put your phone on vibrate. Likewise, make sure you turn in any cameras as most venues don’t allow recordings of any kind. And whatever you do, do not arrive late as chances are you’ll have to wait till the movement is over before you can be ushered it.

Be Aware of the Time

Most concerts are about two hours long and include an intermission (you’ll need to read your program for the specific duration), so there’s a couple of things you should be taking into account:

  • Make sure you’re wearing an outfit that fits comfortably while sitting down. You don’t want to be constantly shuffling in your sit while waiting for intermission. Not only will it keep you from enjoying the performance, but it will likely be a distraction for those around you as well.
  • Don’t forget about your bladder. The last thing you’ll want is to down a gallon of water right before the concert starts and then, later on, miss a wonderful movement while you go to the bathroom. It will be an inconvenience to you and anyone that sits near you.
  • Think it through before bringing your kids. Most kids have a hard time sitting still and quietly for an hour, so a live concert might be a little too much for them. Keep that in mind before bringing your kids. If you want to get your kids interested in classical music, there’s always the option of finding concerts specially designed for kids.