Camping and Concerts


What does camping and concerts have in common?

This thought occured to me while I was listening to some campers with big voices talking at 10 pm about how good "Dawn" dishwashing liquid cleans. They were half way across the campground from me, and I could hear their conversation clearly.

So what does camping and concerts have in common?

The need for etiquette.

When I was young, you went camping to enjoy nature. My father taught us a certain reverence for this Earth, an appreciation of wildlife and natural beauty formed over centuries. In the evening was quiet time, a time to talk in subdued voices with each other, and to listen to the sounds of the night. Good camping etiquette meant you were quiet, clean, and unobtrusive to other campers and the environment.

Being quiet, clean, and unobtrusive to others also makes a good concert goer (although certain venues encourage interaction, such as jazz, rock or country music concerts).

Here are some ideas for good concert etiquette.

Discuss the event AFTER the concert, not while the performer is still singing or playing.

Small children cannot sit still for 90 minutes (and usually not even 10 minutes) so spare them and your fellow audience members some agony and leave them with a fun babysitter.

Turn off the cell phone, unwrap the candy before the event, do not play with the program while the music is playing. And a "SHHH!" can be as noisy as someone talking.

But what about performers?

As I prepare young performers for a concert, I emphasize to them that they are on the stage to do a job: play or sing their music the best they can. Mistakes are a normal part of the process, but if the performer is well prepared, they can share their music well even when there are mistakes.

The audience is not there to watch the performer be silly or "goof around." You can do that at home in your own living room!

Dress appropriately. That is different for different concerts. For most "classical" concerts, wear something that will not distract your audience from the music. Since men do not have as many clothing choices as women, it is the women who need to think about this the most, although the men do need to show that the event is important to them. Too low cut in the front or too short on the bottom can be issues for women. Can you walk comfortably in those shoes? Some events require more flamboyant attire, just think about it and what you want to accomplish.

Take a simple bow. Unless you just sang an opera or played a concerto, grand bows are "too much." I tell my students, you just need to look at your toes, and smile at the audience. You must take the bow, though, even if you do not feel you performed well. When an audience is applauding you, they are thanking you for playing for them. It is rude to ignore their applauding, and just walk away. Be gracious! By bowing, you are saying to the audience "thank YOU for listening to me and enjoying my music!"

Etiquette, don't go camping or to a concert without it.

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