How to Enjoy a Live Concert
John Steinmetz

Hearing live music is one of the most pleasurable experiences available to human beings. The music sounds great, it feels great, and you get to watch the musicians as they create it. No matter what kind of music you love, try listening to it live.

This pamphlet focuses on classical music, a tradition which originated before radio and recordings, back when all music was live music. It was played by live human beings for other live human beings, with everybody together in the same room. When heard in this way, classical music can have a special excitement.

Hearing classical music in a concert can leave you feeling refreshed and energized. It can be fun. It can be romantic. It can be spiritual.

It can also scare you to death.

Classical music concerts can seem like snobby affairs full of foreign terminology and peculiar behavior. It can be hard to understand what's going on. It can be hard to know how to act. It can be hard to find the restroom.

In some ways a concert is like a ballgame; both concerts and ballgames have their rules of behavior and their rituals, and both can be baffling if you don't know what's going on. (I?m still trying to figure out how, in the middle of a baseball game, when everybody is talking and eating hot dogs, and nobody is watching the game, all of a sudden everybody?except me?knows to leap to their feet and pay attention.)

If you haven't been to a live concert before, or if you've been baffled by concerts, this pamphlet will explain the rigmarole so you can relax and enjoy the music.

The Listener's Job Description

Part 1: Before the Concert
Choosing a Concert

Kinds of Concerts

Buying a Ticket

Sections of the Theater

Getting Ready

What to Wear

Getting There

Part 2: At the Concert
"Concert Manners"

The Concert Ritual

Reading the Program

Instruments of the Orchestra

Ways to Listen

Meeting the Performers

Essential Life Support

A Brief Glossary