Concert etiquette is fading away

By Katie Finlon

The School of Music will be hosting performances almost daily after Spring Break until the end of the semester. Performances will be held either in the Recital Hall or the Boutell Concert Hall in the Music Building.

Every concert I attend in either venue, there is at least one audience member who has no idea of how to act during a musical performance.

Being a music enthusiast myself and a member of music organizations that require concert attendance, I have come to notice that audience concert etiquette is slowly dwindling from public knowledge.

What possesses me to make such an accusation? Allow me to share a little anecdote:

I attended the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra Halloween Concert last October, and it took place in the Boutell Concert Hall in the Music Building. The concert hall was packed – many families brought their children to the concert because families were invited to go trick-or-treating within the Music Building.

Children attending concerts is a wonderful way to make them more artistically aware and cultured, and of course there’s a learning process of being an audience member of any given concert.

When a full-grown adult gets up in the middle of a piece – making as much noise as possible doing so – and takes all four of his or her children with them, however, or when the audience begins to talk so loud that the conductor has to turn around to give the audience the “stink eye,” that’s unbelievable to me. There is no excuse to be that poorly behaved when, clearly, you should know better.

So, society and fellow music lovers, I share these little reminders with you:

Wait until the very end of the piece to get up for any reason. Wait until the end of the piece to come back in. Note: piece, not movement. The conductor will let you know when the entire work has concluded.

Wait until the end of the piece to applaud – don’t applaud in between movements.

If you’re going to eat any candy, take it out of its wrapper before the performance begins.

Just as you’re a live audience to the performers, they are live performers to you – they can hear you.

Please don’t talk during the performance.

MUSC 220 students: For the love of God, please don’t bring laptops or notebooks. The music majors know who you are when you do. All you need is a pen and the concert program to take notes.

Please don’t cat-call.

Sit back. Relax. Put the phone away. Enjoy the music.

Whether it is a requirement for you to attend these concerts, or whether you have a friend or two performing, remember these little tips. The musicians – and the rest of the audience – will thank you.