Music concerts and festivals are often where people let loose. It is a paradoxical way of relaxing by participating in a long and often completely exhausting event. It is weird, but it works. And in this ever expanding sea of laser shows, smoke machines, and confetti cannons, it is easy to forget that France has an incredibly vibrant classical music scene. Classical music lovers perhaps enjoy the fact that their source of joy is a well kept secret, where only the initiated and the devoted get to participate. Let’s say you are one of those, and have grown tired of the deafening sounds of music festivals, you’re looking for a musical experience that won’t make it feel like you are training for war. Well, come right in and have a seat. Literally. Classical music is enjoyed while sitting down. If you didn’t know that, then perhaps it would be useful for you to review some of the etiquette that goes into going to a classical music concert.
A classical concert feels like a high-brow event, with every member of the orchestra dressed like they will be rushing to a fancy fundraiser the moment the last note is played. Now you feel pressure to fish out that tuxedo you last wore five years ago. Hold on. Remember that you get to sit for this event, which means that comfort is quite high on the list of considerations for this event. Wear clothing that you would regularly wear to the office, or to a coffee shop. No one will be looking at you anyway, so dress as comfortably as you would for any other public outing. A t-shirt, jeans and sneakers? That’s perfectly fine.
Smartphones have the ability to kill the vibe at an event like this, and yet they are unavoidable and everyone has them. The best rule of thumb to follow is to apply the same phone etiquette as you would if you were going to watch a movie in a cinema. The sound should obviously be turned off. Also, the hall where you will be sitting will be almost as dark as the cinema, so a glowing screen is likely to irritate the people around you. If you absolutely have to use it, or would like to take a picture during a concert, please turn the screen brightness as low as you can and turn off the flash on your camera.
Respect the music
This is to say – do not introduce your own sounds into the equation. This is the greatest departure from a music festival. Remember that the instruments are not amplified in any way, other than the acoustic properties inherent in the concert hall itself. Talking or whispering will be extremely rude. So will the attempt to mimic the composition with your voice. So think of the library rules in that regard. The only acceptable sounds to make are clapping, but even those are to be timed towards the end of composition.