Yet another thing wrong with the concert hall experience

Amanda Ameer gives a scolding to the typical concert-going crowd, but her point on the orchestra dress code is rather valid.

“Everyone is so dressed-up! When did that happen. Is it because going to a classical concert is a “night-out” and people want to dress-up for it? Is it because tickets are so expensive that folks assume they have to bust out their finest? When people ask me, I always encourage them to wear what they would wear to work, whatever that may be (granted, Amanda Beard has never asked me). I wonder if this can be fashion-policed by venue ads and posters: include photographs of audiences of all ages wearing nice, normal clothes. How many people are avoiding classical music because they assume there’s a dress code?

But it doesn’t stop there. Though maybe not rowdy, she claims that concert-goers are generally not well-behaved.

Read the whole thing. She finishes:

“I had gone to the Batman IMAX earlier that day. The audience was better behaved. I went to a Radiohead concert the night before. That audience was better behaved. The assumption that new, young audiences “wouldn’t know how to act” at Lincoln Center is absolutely correct; they wouldn’t know how to behave that inappropriately.”


~ by ohactually on August 12, 2008.

One Response to “Yet another thing wrong with the concert hall experience”

  1. Hm. One dresses up to show respect, to show that the event is important. That’s why people take care to dress for work, a date, a party. To dress up says that this is a meaningful experience in some way, shape, or form. I think the attire should be taken as a compliment. I don’t think it should become a torn jeans/sweatpants crowd, implying that going to a concert is an everyday occurrence, or that the musician’s efforts are the equivalent to a beer in a sports bar, plugged into the random noise and multi-screens surrounding. I don’t think you have to dress formal – just show that you cared enough to care about your appearance.

    As for noise – I went to Wall-E and was TOTALLY put-off because of the yappy kids in back of me, so this is not just a classical music thing – and it DOES impact experience. I’ve also been a person who has nicely “educated” the cough drop lady. I’m not prudish enough to be annoyed with the clapping/coughing between – often, people have suffered to make it that long and I appreciate the fact they didn’t just hawk a loogie in the middle of a poignant phrase. The fact remains, however, that when art is subtle manipulation of sound, extraneous sounds added are seen as a disruption, not as an addition.

    In summary – I disagree with “attire killing the arts” – that seems a dramatic overstatement. What’s killing the arts more than attire is an unfamiliarity with how to experience them, the lack of understanding that precedes appreciation, the fear of feeling awkwardness and not enjoyment (what?! you mean you can actually laugh at a classical concert when the host is good? and wait, they’re mirroring my feelings?) and the price of tickets. Another factor is the visual and emotional “I want it NOW” element of societal expectation. We’re used to being bombarded – we don’t remember/know how to go into ourselves to create meaning. I also disagree with opening up the classical arena to random discussion and noise being an “ok” thing. There are far too few places in our society that one can go and LISTEN (not just hear). Listening takes concentration and we can only attend to one thing at a time. Why would we take a place that has relative peace and open it up even more to sound?

    Never to be humble opinions, I know. I just don’t see any evidence to the contrary, that dressing down and opening up (for now) restricted behaviors will enhance a concert experience.


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