We often spend so much time composing, practicing, and performing in Music that we overlook the role of the audience. After all, music practiced for a performance is generally prepared and performed for an audience. And though music as a background feature seems to be ubiquitous these days, I’m confident that most committed artists want their listeners to… well… listen. So here’s the thing: Listening and being part of an audience are skills that must be taught. Let’s focus on some concert etiquette guidelines:

  • Be on time, and don’t enter or exit in the middle of a piece.
  • Give the performer your undivided attention.
  • Turn off your phones, alarms, and other gadgets.
  • Remove your hats or caps.
  • Sit quietly. Don’t talk to your neighbor—even in a whisper—during a piece.
  • Don’t make other noises during a piece (feet, candy wrappers, programs, etc.) either.
  • Enjoy the concert with your eyes, not through a screen. Put down your phone/camera and bask in the joy of live performance. The other members of the audience will appreciate it too.
  • Don’t sing along unless you are invited to do so by the performers.
  • Applaud at the end of each full piece. Even if you did not love it, acknowledge the work that went into it.
  • Stay until the end of the concert.

teaching-concert-etiquette-audienceThe students might think about why they might do each of these things, and they will find that it’s all very common sense. It boils down to appreciating and respecting the hard work of the performers and respecting the experience of fellow audience members. You might even start with that and ask the students to generate their list of guidelines themselves.

How do you help your students build these skills?

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In the Audience: A How-To
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