My First Symphony Concert

I've never been to an orchestra concert before.  What should I expect?

Expect to enjoy yourself! This is the time to let go of any preconceptions you may have about classical music or the concert experience. If you just focus on the music, you’ll have a great time.  

Do I need to know anything about classical music?

No, the music will speak for itself.  Just come and enjoy. As you enter the concert hall, you will be provided a concert program. You can read this prior to the performance to learn about all the music you will hear.

Will I recognize any of the music?

You might! Classical music is all around us: in commercials, movie soundtracks, television themes, cartoons, retail shops, and even some elevators. Popular music often quotes classical melodies, as well. You’ll notice that each classical piece uses its own group of several tunes over and over, in different ways. You’ll start to “recognize” these melodies as a work progresses.

Should I arrive early?

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, turn off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time to glance through the program book, too. Most concerts start on time. If you’re late, you may end up listening from the lobby! If that happens, the usher will allow you inside during a suitable pause in the program, so your arrival won’t disturb other concertgoers.

How long is the concert?

It varies, but most orchestra concerts are about 90 minutes to two hours long, with an intermission at the halfway point.

What do I wear?

Dressing up is the norm for most performances. People enjoy making a special night of their symphony experience! You will not see tuxedos and ball gowns (unless it is the Gala), but business attire, dressy or slightly casual clothes is acceptable. You definitely will not see ripped jeans, sweats, shorts or flip-flops! Only the February Pops Concert embraces "dressing down and showing up". The event where casual fashion meets popular symphonic music, where jeans reign.

How do I find my seat?

The Ushers are there to help you and will greet you when you enter the concert hall. She or he will assist you in finding your seat.  If you have a reserved seat (only with the Season Package), your seat number will appear on your ticket.

Can I bring my children?
As this is a listening event, we do not provide tickets to babies or toddlers. It is recommended that children be at least five years of age and all must have a ticket to enter the concert, Lap seats are not allowed. 

During the performance:

  • A concert hall is specifically designed to enhance sound. Best bet: do not talk or whisper - it CAN be heard a row or two away.

  • Turn off anything that beeps including your digital watch beep, cell phone, pager, and text toy.

    • No phones.  If you are convinced you must have your cell phone “on” then by all means place it on silent, not manner mode (vibrate), and minimize your display's light. 

    • No camera flash allowed

    • No videotaping allowed (copyright infringement)

Why do audiences not clap during the music ends, exactly?

Applause - Classical Music is different

Most classical works are divided into parts called 'movements' with brief pause in between (to discover number of movements in the piece, turn to your program page in your Playbill). Applause should only occur when the work is finished. Clue:  the conductor will drop their hands and turns around to face the audience.

What exactly is a symphony orchestra?

A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to about 100 musicians who play instruments of four basic types:

  1. Strings – violins (smallest, and highest in pitch), violas, cellos, and double basses (largest and lowest in pitch). These players sit in a semicircle directly in front of the conductor, and make up more than half the orchestra.

  2. Woodwinds – flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and related instruments. These players sit a few rows back from the conductor, in the center of the orchestra.

  3. Brass – trumpets, horns, trombones, tubas, and similar instruments. These instruments are the loudest, so you’ll see them in the rear of the orchestra.

  4. Percussion – drums, bells, and other fascinating paraphernalia that are struck, plucked, rubbed, etc. This includes the tympani, the harp, and, on occasion, the piano. Some works use lots of different percussion; others may have a single musician playing the tympani, or no percussion at all. The percussion section is also found at the rear of the orchestra.

Why are the musicians onstage playing before the concert begins?

Just like athletes warming up before a game, musicians need to warm up their muscles and focus their concentration. Some of them are working on the passages they need to polish up before the performance, with no regard for what anyone else is practicing.

Why do the musicians wear formal black clothes?

This is a long tradition that started centuries ago. Sometimes musicians dress a little more casually, but they still try to look uniform, so that the audience can concentrate on the music. Soloists are the exception: they often dress differently, because they are the focus of attention.

Who is the Concertmaster, anyway?

This person is second in command in the orchestra, and the First Chair Violinist.  At the beginning of the concert, the concertmaster will come onstage first. The audience claps as a welcome, and as a sign of appreciation to all the musicians. 

Why do the musicians wear formal black clothes?

This is a long tradition that started centuries ago. Sometimes musicians dress a little more casually, but they still try to look uniform, so that the audience can concentrate on the music. Soloists are the exception: they often dress differently, because they are the focus of attention.

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10-3 Mon - Fri   |   870.761.8254   |   P.O. Box 19117   |   Jonesboro, AR  72403 

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The Delta Symphony Orchestra is a charitable organization under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.   Donations, bequests and transfers are deductible for federal income, estate, and gift tax purposes.  © 2002 Delta Symphony Orchestra, Inc.   All rights reserved.