Attending the Symphony - Tip #31
We have tickets to attend a symphony performance, and lately we’ve been to so many rock concerts that we’ve forgotten our treasured ‘musical Ps and Qs’!
It’s fun to go to a casual Jazz club, be relaxed and listen to good music; or for some of us, it can even be fun to go to a Country or Rock Music concert with 20,000 other screaming fans. But our life has balance and attending the symphony gives us the opportunity to listen to beautiful classical music.
Usually we choose to attend a specific performance based on the composers and music that will be played, since we anticipate the musical selections will set the standard for our enjoyment.
But how we all behave while attending that performance can have just as much impact on everyone’s enjoyment, as the notes we hear. Because a symphonic piece of music builds ‘its story’ through the movements being played, unexpected distractions in the audience will be intrusive.
Because of this, a good rule of thumb is - When in doubt, don’t applaud, as you may be the only one in the audience clapping.
This doesn’t mean we don’t applaud at the appropriate time. It means that if we are not familiar with a particular piece of music, and there is a moment when no sound is coming from the stage, we don’t want to become enthusiastic and clap thinking the piece is over. As this may only be a short interlude of silence, or may be the few quiet seconds between movements within the piece. So if we’re not sure when the piece is actually completed, we need to pay attention to others in the audience; and hold our applause, until the majority of the audience starts applauding.
Our applause shows our appreciation for the orchestra and the conductor, and is an integral part of a lovely evening at the symphony. So let’s review!
We will applaud at the following times, when –
There may be times when we attend a symphony concert that includes a piece like the stirring Johann Strauss Sr.'s "Radetzky March” with its tradition for audience participation of clapping. These are wonderful traditions and the clapping adds to the enjoyment of the occasion, so we’ll certainly want to join in.
Besides knowing when to applaud, we also need to know to be quiet – which is any time the music is playing. Symphony theaters are acoustically designed and many times a low whisper will travel beyond the ears of the intended receiver. And even if we know every word to a piece of music, we don’t want to sing along to the tune.
And not only can our words distract those around us, but our bodies becoming restless or moving around in our seat will also be distracting. We should sit still and be quiet during the concert. In order to do this, we need to be aware if we have any habits like ‘playing with a piece of jewelry’, ‘rustling our program’, or ‘adjusting our tie’, which we’ll want to consciously refrain from while the orchestra is playing.
Many times while sitting very quietly, we suddenly realize our throat feels dry and we have the urge to cough. Suppress the cough and reach for a piece of hard candy. But, oh, no, the candy is in our purse, or in our wife’s purse, and it’s wrapped in very noisy cellophane! And of course, this is the moment in the evening when there are only hushed tones coming from the stage. The perfect background for your ‘crackle, crackle, crackle, crackle’ as the candy is being unwrapped.
Through trial and error, I discovered several solutions to this problem. I have found small containers that don’t make noise when they’re opened. Most were either leather or soft plastic coin pouches. If something looked like it might work, I’d take it home. Then I’d practice with the container making sure it would provide a place to store several pieces of candy, and could be easily opened without making a sound. When I’m attending a concert and before leaving the house, I unwrap several pieces of hard candy and place them into the container. Before the concert starts, I have the container positioned so it’s easy to reach with a minimum of movement.
If I’m ill or have a cold that causes me to cough, I’ll cancel going to the concert and give my tickets to someone who is healthy and quiet.
Oh, I almost forgot – first we have to arrive. And we’ll always arrive early enough so we can be seated before the performance begins. If we have box seats, we’ll be shown to our box. And if we are sitting in a row of seats, we’ll be shown to the correct location.
Now we have a choice to make. Do we want to enter our row using the European style or the American style?
If we are already seated and others are crossing in front of us, we move our knees and legs to one side to allow room for them to pass.
We are now seated, we have our hard candy quietly available if needed, and we’re ready to enjoy a wonderful evening of music, while also being considerate of other attendees.
The classy person is aware that her/his behavior directly impacts the musical enjoyment of the other people who are also in attendance. Therefore, arriving on time, clapping when appropriate, not whispering during the performance, and sitting still without fidgeting are always part of the classy person’s symphony behavior.
I'm Looking forward to sending you another of my ClassyTips next week. Until then, have a great week, and don't forget to visit my Forum where you can ask your questions on 'Becoming the Best You Can Be'.
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