Being on Time
You have to arrive on time. If you are late, you won’t be allowed in until there’s a pause
in the music. In some situations—especially when the music has no pauses—no one is
admitted after the music starts.
Even more important, if you rush in late you’ll be in no condition to settle down to the
task of listening to the music. Get there early enough to enjoy the atmosphere, to look at
the theater, and to find your seat and get ready for the music.
If you do arrive late, an usher will help you get to your seat at an appropriate time.
Finding the Theater
If you haven’t been to the theater before, leave lots of extra time to find it. If you bought
your ticket online, check the web site for a map and directions, or check the theater’s
web site. Season brochures often include a map. You also can call the office for directions.
Check a city map before you go, though. Sometimes the people in the
office, who have been to the concert hall a zillion times, forget
what it’s like to be a first-timer. And sometimes the Internet
gives crazy directions.
Public transportation often serves concert halls very well.
Just be sure that the buses or trains will be running when the
concert is over.
If you drive, remember that urban concert halls can be
hidden in a maze of one-way streets. Allow extra time for
solving the maze!
Parking can be expensive—sometimes parking the car
costs more than the concert! Parking can be scarce,
especially at small recital halls and alternative spaces like
art galleries and dance studios. Parking can be distant,
especially at universities, where walking from the parking structure to the concert can feel
like going on safari.
Sometimes we musicians avoid the
post-concert parking-lot chaos by
walking to a nearby restaurant or
bar to socialize until the parking lot
has emptied out. Join us! I have had
some very enjoyable conversations
with audience members while
waiting out the traffic.
Check the web site or season brochure for parking information; there might also be
a map showing where to park. Or call the office. Don’t be shy; they get lots of calls
about this sort of thing. It’s part of their job to help you, the valued concertgoer, find a
place to park.
Allow some extra time for parking, and bring some extra money to pay for it. After the
concert, don’t be in a hurry to get home afterward. When an entire audience is trying to
exit a parking lot at one time, it’s not a pretty sight. Be patient.
The Box Office
If you don’t have your ticket yet, you will need to
find the box office. Usually it’s in front of the theater
or in the lobby, but at some theaters architects have
cleverly hidden the box office. Just ask where it is,
and try to enjoy the adventure of finding it.
The box office may have several different windows. If
your ticket is being held for you, go to the “Will Call”
window. To buy a ticket, look for a window that says
something like “This Performance.”
Finding Your Seat
Your ticket will admit you to the concert hall, and, if seating is reserved, it also indicates
where you are to sit. Show your ticket to an usher, who will help you find your seat.