Concert Etiquette for Audience Members

How to Be Respectful During a Piano Recital

Audience clapping in theater.
Caiaimage/Robert Daly / Getty Images

As an audience member at a piano recital, you should be courteous of the performer by following the proper etiquette.

Be Considerate

Hold your applause during long musical pauses, as well as in between the movements of a piano concerto. If you’re uncertain, wait for the rest of the audience to begin clapping.

Keep chairs quiet if you must leave early. This is especially important if the venue has solid, auto-closing chairs.

These seats snap shut against the chair back as soon as you stand and may cause an instant, echoing distraction.

No matter what, make sure cell phones and all media devices are switched to vibrate only or are turned off! Don’t be that person. The distracting sound is a given, but the light from your cell phone disturbs the people around you. Be considerate of their musical experience as well as your own.

Be Aware of Your Environment

If you don’t know whether there is a concert dress code, check with the pianist you’re there to see. You can also contact the event coordinator or ask a music instructor.

It's always good to be on time, but, if you must be late, be sure to close doors quietly! Concert halls tend to have large doors to accommodate crowds. If you enter in the middle of a performance, chances are the pianist will not notice unless that huge, heavy door slams shut behind you!

Always keep an eye out for the intermission signals.

 If you step outside the venue during intermission, be extra careful to look inside for flashing lights, a sign to return to your seat, or a stagehand rounding up the audience.