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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

A night at a concert

Going to a classical music concert for the first time? Here is some basic etiquette you should follow before and during the concert.
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - September 4, 2008
By: Goh Mei Yi
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A night at a concert

Seasoned concert-goers seem to know the unspoken rules and decorum of attending a classical music concert which tend to intimidate clueless first-timers. To help newbies overcome the fear of making social boo-boos, here is some basic etiquette that audiences should observe, and the reasons behind it.

Attire: In Singapore, cocktail wear, office attire or semi-casual clothes are generally acceptable. Beachwear and flip-flops are a no-no unless you are wearing them for a concert in the park. Deciding what is appropriate should go along the same lines as distinguishing between what you would wear to a fine-dining restaurant, and what you would don to visit a fast food outlet.

Punctuality: Arriving early or on time is a basic courtesy to the performers and to other members of the audience who have made the effort to get there before the start, so that the concert can begin at the stated time without disruption. Arriving early also means giving yourself enough time to use the restroom, find your seat and read the programme notes before the concert starts. A concert is not a wedding dinner where the host may choose to wait for all guests to arrive before serving the food.

Silence: Unless audience participation is asked for, the performers on stage need silence in order to concentrate, so that they can give their best performance. It’s the same as observing silence during an examination.

Applause: If you’re not sure exactly when to clap, take the lead from the rest of the audience. As a guide, you applaud when the conductor and soloist enter the stage and at the very end of the piece when the conductor puts his arms down and turns to face the audience. You don’t applaud in between movements of a piece, as maintaining silence at such times is considered respectful to the performers’ concentration and important for the maintenance of musical continuity.

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