Friday, 25 January 2013

Instructions for audience - some Dos and Don'ts of concert attendance

Screaming audience at Columbia Halle, Berlin (Germany) April 4, 2007. Flikr Photo Credit svenwerk
I recently attended one or two concerts where the audience did not seem to understand the subtle rules which apply to concert goers. Concert and theatre going is a communal activity which works best when everyone understands the implicit compact for civility between audience members, and between audience and performers. Hence my suggested list of dos and don'ts.


  1. Please understand that attending a concert or opera is different from watching TV or film.
  2. Please remember what listening to a concert or an opera is a group event, you are enjoying a communal experience so be sympathetic to your neighbours.
  3. Please do not talk, or comment of everything you like or dislike, other patrons may not appreciate your comments or might prefer to listen to the music in silence.
  4. Please do not wave or try to catch the attention of people you know who are performing, particularly during the performance itself. It is off putting for performers and audience members alike.
  5. Please do express your approbation, but wait until the music has finished. It can be seen as discourteous to performers to show noisy enthusiasm whilst they are still performing, no matter how spontaneous.
  6. Please do enjoy the performance, but do keep such activities as wolf whistling to a minimum. Not everyone appreciates having a piercing whistle broadcast right next to them.
  7. Please do not sing along unless invited to by the performers, fellow patrons may not appreciate your rendition and would prefer to be able to actually listen to the performers.
  8. If you are permitted to eat or drink in the auditorium, please do this discreetly. 
  9. Please be aware that it can be difficult to concentrate on listening to music when someone next to you is crunching popcorn, crushing plastic cups in their hands or even taking a comfort break mid way through the performance. Of course the effect of alcohol on you can exaggerate your actions.
  10. Please allow the performers the courtesy of a bow before standing and putting on your coat, pushing along the row like Quasimodo and making a dash for the last train. If you have to do this, please don't sit in the middle of the row, even if you are a great fan and always sit there.
  11. Please try not to cough during the performance, and note that coughing is not compulsory during the pauses. No you did not develop whooping cough as the performance started; if you are ill you should be at home in bed getting better.
  12. Note to ushers, you are there for a reason and it is not just to smile in a sickly manner to everyone. You should intervened when someone's behaviour acceptable.


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