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Basic skills for singers: Teaching concert Etiquette


I seek articles, lists, resources, etc. about concert etiquette that I can use with
my middle school chorus students. On the Internet, there are many references to
concert etiquette, but I have found only one particularly useful document. If you
have any links, documents, etc-- please send it my way! They don't have to be
specifically for MS chorus, but that is my area of concentration. If you're kind of
enough to help, please send it by way of email to me at jused(a)

Here's that one useful document I found. Its called "Classical Music Concert
(Beware the popups!)


John Steinmetz, a composer and professional bassoonist here in the Los Angeles area,
wrote a wonderful pamphlet called "How to Enjoy a Live Concert." It is published by
Naxos records but you can find it online here:
-Monica Hubbard

One thing I did last year was make up a comparison between appropriate audience
behavior at sporting events and concerts. I think that it was helpful for the
students (both middle and high school) to see that there is expected behavior at
both kinds of activities. I think it helped remove the high-brow attitude they
sometimes negatively attribute to classical musical performances. It would be
interesting to write up a 3-way comparison adding rock concert expected behavior to
the other two. If you are having trouble with the audience behavior from some of
your parents, we have found a short list of Audience Etiquette printed on a half-
page in our programs to be helpful. Many of our parents have no experience with
concert attendance themselves and unfortunately our performance hall is the same
gymnasium where everyone attends sporting events. -Mary Beth Wallig

I have found that, especially with young people, short and simple is best. Here is a
concise list that I put together for my high school students (attached, Word 2000
document). I also reduce it to a half-page and insert it into my concert programs
for the audience members. -Colleen Kennedy **Reply to Jussi to acquire the Word

My colleague and I tackled this issue by asking the kids to write guidelines, which
we then excerpted and printed on the back of our programs. Their wording was really
cute, but they definitely made all the important points! -Kayla Werlin

I also have had this problem and I'm wondering about solutions. I am going to do a
concert a nonsense songs in the spring and came upon this song that I'm going to
use. You might find it workable for a light concert. It's called Take the Baby out
Mom, By Ellen Foncannon. She also wrote some other fun songs like Cold and Fugue
Season from Bach's Fugue in Gminor. Looking forward to your compilation. -Reva L.

I'm not sure if you're looking for audience or performers etiquette. If it's
performers etiquette i.e., stage discipline, I can send you some material that we
learned from working with Fred Waring and taught at workshops. If so, send me your
mailing address. Always thought about putting out a pamphlet on stage discipline
since judging from concerts I go to at conventions and festivals, hardly anyone
teaches it anymore. -Peter Kiefer

[*** content removed at poster's request ***]
Becky Dingmann

I recommend to you the "Teacher Resource Kit" by Killian, Daniel and Rann published
by Hal Leonard ISBN 0-634-00734-3. This book has reproducible masters on Concert
Etiquette - one instructional page and two short quizzes on the information. This
book is a "must have" for all music teachers. It includes worksheets on Voice
Building/Theory building/Sight-reading/Rehearsal Assessment/Performance
assessment/Music History/Listening Guides & activities. All is Calif. Standards
Based. Well worth the $30.00. -Karen Garrett

Attached below is the etiquette we developed as a department for our whole district.
This is response to concerns by parents and teachers about student and adult
behavior at concerts in a variety of venues. While it isn't exclusively choral, it
is inclusive and meets our broader goal. The Chicago Symphony has a document which
they publish in their program notes which you may find beneficial. I do not have it
readily available, but know you could get it directly from them. -Scott Campbell

Farmington Public Schools Music Department
Concert Etiquette

Student concerts are the culmination of many weeks of demanding preparation. A
portion of that preparation involves instruction in the appropriate types of
behavior while in performance. In an effort to provide both performers and audience
with an enjoyable concert experience, we offer these guidelines for audience
behavior. By observing these, everyone contributes to the success of the concert.

∆ It is important to attend the entire concert out of respect to the
efforts and dedication of all those involved. If one must leave or enter
while the concert is in progress, please do so only during the
applause between selections.

∆ Please refrain from conversation during musical selections.

∆ Young children develop audience habits early. Please help them to
understand and follow the “no noise during the performanceâ€? guideline.
That may necessitate removing them from the concert hall for a time.

∆ Applause at the end of a jazz solo is appropriate to the style, but it
is not commonly expected during a band or choral solo. In the same
manner it is usually appropriate to hold applause in a multi-movement
selection until the whole piece has concluded.

Finally, we deeply appreciate your attendance at our concerts. We understand that
many people attend in support of a specific person. Please remember that while your
person may have completed his/her contribution, someone seated next to you could be
listening intently for another special person’s performance. Please help everyone
enjoy all performances by respectfully adhering to these guidelines. We encourage
you to revel in the efforts and achievements of all the performers. Thank you!!

The Music Staff and Students

Jussi Doherty
Choral Director
Liberty Middle School
Orlando, Florida