Concert Etiquette

At the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, we welcome music lovers of all kinds. We’d like to offer those of you not as familiar with attending a classical music concert some guidelines. We hope that this will make your experience, and the experience of those around you, that much better. Enjoy the concert!

Arrive Early: Although there are occasions when arriving later is considered stylish, a concert isn’t one of them. Once the music has begun, latecomers will be asked to remain in the lobby until the first performance break. (This is true after the intermission too.)

Phones: Flash photography and noise disturbances are strictly prohibited. We love engaging with our audience on social media so feel free to check-in on Facebook and take selfies and photos PRIOR to the performance. Before the concert starts, be sure to silence your phone and turn down those brightness settings.

Quiet Company: Unless the concert is deemed a “sing-a-long”, you will want to leave the music-making to the ensemble… even if you really do know the whole first movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. The people around you probably know it too and would rather hear the orchestra’s rendition. Silence all cell phones, alarms, or other audible devices before the concert begins.

Wait to Crinkle: Thanks to the wonderful acoustics in today’s concert halls, the sound of the orchestra can be heard by everyone. Unfortunately, so can the crumpling of candy or cough drop wrappers. If you have a cough, please bring them! Just plan to unwrap them ahead of the performance.

Enjoy Each Note: You may simply want to avoid the crowd by leaving five minutes early, but the musicians will misconstrue your hasty departure as a sign of disapproval. Sit back, relax, and enjoy every last note!

Dress Code: Our concerts usually carry an array of different dress levels from casual to semi-formal so you can be comfortable enjoying the evening’s performance. Most people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, but you’ll see everything from khakis to cocktail dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it, and you can, too!

Applause: Don’t know when to clap and cheer? We can make it easy! In classical music concerts, applause is usually held until the end of every piece. Some pieces contain several movements and there will be a brief applause-less pause in between them. If you ever feel the overwhelming need to clap and cheer in between movements… the orchestra won’t mind the appreciation!