Getting to Know the Music
Some people enjoy concerts more if they get involved with the music beforehand. You
know yourself best: what would help you be affected by the music?
Many people like to listen to the music before the concert. This can be a lot of fun, too.
Find a recording of one of the pieces at the library, in a friend’s collection, online, or in a
store. Play the music in your kitchen, or in your car, or just sit down and listen. Try listening
to different recordings of the same music—the
differences might surprise you!
Some people increase their enjoyment by reading
a biography of the composer, by finding out more
about the performers, or by looking into the musical
style or historical period. The concert’s web site may
provide background information, recommended
reading, or links to relevant web sites. You can
search the Internet to learn more about pieces,
composers, or performers.
Of course, many people enjoy concerts just fine
without any special preparation—you don’t have
to be an expert on the music. But more and more
concertgoers are finding that they can deepen
their experience by making friends with the music
What to Wear
Alas, there is no simple answer to the question of
what to wear to a concert, because every concert
has its own atmosphere and style. Opening night
at the opera might require formal dress, but most
concerts are far less formal. At some performances
you’ll be out of place if you dress up too much!
I once attended a concert at an
ultra-hip L.A. venue devoted to
cutting-edge arts. As I arrived at
the theater entrance, a friend came
over to say hello; he was dressed
all in black: black cowboy hat, black
shirt, black jacket, black jeans, black
belt, and black cowboy boots.
Everybody else waiting to go inside
was dressed in black. I was wearing
a Hawaiian shirt, and for a moment
I got nervous. It didn’t seem to
matter. We all went in, and the
concert was wonderful.
Usually you can wear whatever you want. Because
people will be wearing all manner of clothes, you’ll
fit in no matter what. If you enjoy dressing up, take
advantage of the occasion! If you hate dressing up,
wear comfortable clothes.
If you are worried, put on what you would wear
to a business meeting or, better yet, to a wedding—after all, a concert is a kind of celebration, so wear
something festive! Evening concerts generally inspire
dressier outfits than daytime events.
To get more specific wardrobe advice, ask around,
or call the organization and ask what people tend
Because concerts squeeze lots of people into one
room, it’s best not to wear strong fragrances.
Many organizations offer lectures immediately before their concerts. These “preconcert
lectures” include information and insights about the composers and the pieces, along with
some musical examples. You may also hear from performers and composers themselves.
Call the organization or check its web site to find out about preconcert lectures.