"Going to a symphony concert is like going to a pop concert"

Gustavo Dudamel

At least that’s what I think.  I tell folks all the time going to hear your symphony play should be like going to the movies.  Or, like a multitude of other entertainment options at our disposal.

Charlottee Higgins dissects for the reader, Dudamel’s lessons for the UK classical music scene.  After reading the entire piece, Higgins’s suggestions are as true for American orchestras as they are for the British.  My favorite is:

Remember: it’s supposed to be fun.
Dudamel’s introduction to music was via his trombonist father’s salsa band as much as through his orchestral playing. The unabashed, party-time pleasure Venezuelans take in salsa leaks into their attitude to classical music. Experiencing music should be about having a brilliant time – even though a journey with the masterpieces of classical music may take you to the darker places of the soul.

As I get older, I am repelled by the formality of the live concert experience.  The younger me liked the rules.  Now, I just want to go and listen to music.  Conventions for clapping, silence and dress straitjacket the audience’s enjoyment of the music being played.  I’ve seen people so concerned about when they are “supposed” to clap that they miss the music right in front of them.

I haven’t always had this opinion.

Previously, stray sounds and clapping were enough of a bother that I would give a menaced glare to the offender – I was one of those people.  With time, I realized my offense distracted my own listening.


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