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A five step guide to your first orchestral concert

7 November 2018
WNO Orchestra violinists.

WNO has an extensive concert programme running throughout the year, taking our Orchestra all around Wales.  If you are an old hand at attending concerts, or if you are an orchestral concert virgin, you might pick up some hints and tips in our five step guide to concerts based on the questions we get asked most at WNO.

1.Shh! Keep the noise down.

It may be obvious for some but once the concert begins keep your boiled sweets in their wrappers and in your bag. Show respect to the performers and your fellow concert goers by refraining from making any unnecessary noise, but even if you hear someone talking please don’t shush them as this sound may carry even more than their chatting. We know that the music is catchy and beautiful and you are maybe trying to figure out where you have heard it from before but please don’t sing, hum or attempt to replicate the timpanist’s rhythm...

2.Do I clap now...

If you have never been to an orchestral concert before, there are certain unwritten rules about when you show your appreciation. When seeing an opera, audiences can clap at various points through the performance, be it after a beautiful aria or wonderfully played movement. But a classical music concert can be tricky; most pieces have several parts and can seem to be finished but don’t be fooled by a short pause in a Shostakovich piece, just hold out until the very end. How to know if it’s the actual end? Watch the conductor – you can usually tell by his instructions to the orchestra. 

3. What's the dress code?

It seems that there are rules and codes on how and what you should wear to a classical music concert, but the real answer is: anything you like.... It’s more important that you are comfortable and therefore able to enjoy the concert without worrying about your sequin dress catching on the chair or that your tie is too tight around your neck. If you are still unsure, contact the venue they will be able to share with you any dress code tips. 

4.Don’t fidget.

We know that Mozart’s Piano Sonata No11 is the perfect toe-tapping tune but please don’t start dancing in the stalls as this would be a massive distraction to the performers and audience alike. Keep fidgeting to a minimum – avoid re-adjusting your pashmina, eating or standing up and don’t forget the use of mobile phones is not allowed., Tomáš Hanus might be your hero but keep your urge to ‘air conduct’ Dvořák’s New World Symphony until you get home. 

5.Lose yourself in the music.

That’s the beauty of classical music, it can transport you away to another world and that’s exactly what we all want. There’s nothing better for a performer than to see an appreciative audience. Having said that it is easy to be serenaded and sent to a gentle sleep…but beware, the movements change - as you can hear in this video of a member of the audience having a bit of a fright… 

If you haven’t seen them already, you are now ready and prepped to see our Orchestra in concert. Visit our events page to see what we have to offer.