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Concert Etiquette

When we go to any concert, recital or performance there are certain behaviours we must adhere to. Being a good audience member is essential for your own comfort, the comfort of those around you and of the performer. It is disrespectful to all if you concert etiquette is less than excellent. Some etiquette issues have relaxed somewhat or completely over the years but concert etiquette cannot because your behaviour can have a direct effect on the performance. The performer(s) can often hear things from the audience and need silence to hear themselves and/or their partner(s) and not be distracted. As an audience member you want to be able to hear and enjoy everything as well. If you are a parent it is essential that you model good audience behaviour for your child(ren) as well as teach it to them.


Here are some points to remember:

  • Do be on time and settled before the performance begins

  • Never enter during a performance, while the music is playing, wait for the applause. At a professional venue there will be ushers there that will not allow you to enter until the time is appropriate.

  • Do not whisper or talk during a performance, the performers may not hear you but other audience members may and it can be very distressing to others.  No matter how quiet you think you are being, people can hear you. 

  • Do not unwrap candy, the wrapping makes a huge noise, and the slower you unwrap it, the noisier it seems to be. If you need to have hard candies because your mouth gets dry, have several ready and unwrapped before the performance

  • Turn OFF your cell phone. You may think no one will call you but they just might. Check that it is turned off, don’t just think it is turned off

  • Don’t zip zippers, like on a purse.

  • If you have some issue, like a coughing fit, and things do happen, leave as quietly and as quickly as you can. Do not re enter until the appropriate time

  • If you have a small child with you bring quiet things to occupy them, colouring and  play doh are two ideas. Small children cannot sit through a long concert and it would not be appropriate to bring them to a ‘serious’ or long performance. 

  • If the child is very young, under 3 years of age, many performances would not be appropriate to bring them to at all. Check with the concert hall, or person in charge and see if bringing a young child is aceeptable.

  • If the performance is child oriented or child friendly that still means the child must be as quiet as possible, do not let them run around or talk . Take them out for a break once in a while to get rid of energy! If you tell your child why they must be quiet they will understand better. Again, wait for the appropriate time to re enter

  • Do not clap in between movements of the same piece. If the program, or announcement of a piece indicates that the particular piece has several movements or sections to it, wait until the last movement or section has been played and then clap.

  • Do not take pictures or use a flash during a performance, it can be very distracting for the performer(s). Try to take your pictures as they are setting up, just finished or, if you must take a picture, do not use the flash and don’t get in the way of any performer(s) or run around for different angles and distract the audience. Of course in a professional performance picture taking is not allowed.

  • Never leave early. It is unfair to the later performers who have worked just as hard as the earlier performers. All performers deserve the same audience. 

Every concert, recital and performance is special and unique in its’ own right. Just sit back and enjoy the music...quietly!  

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