Saturday, September 4, 2010

Preparing to Attend Your First Concert

As a follow up to yesterday's post, let me offer three practical pieces of advice that I find most helpful when preparing to attend a concert.

Prepare to fight the enemies! For most new concert goers, there are two common enemies that will attempt to make our adventure a bit uncomfortable: drowsiness and a nagging cough. With a bit of advance preparation, we can combat these villains of the concert hall. The lovely music you will hear can often be a sleep-inducer, especially after a long day at the office or in the classroom. Here are a few suggestions to help counter the inclination to sleep. Carry a small pad and pen to the concert with you and make a few notes throughout the performance. The note-taking process will help keep your mind alert and focused. It is also helpful to allow enough time to enjoy a caffeinated drink prior to the concert. Obviously this is not the optimal time to enjoy a Big Gulp, but a moderate-sized beverage can be helpful.

Coughing plagues audiences around the world, so come prepared to moisten your throat if necessary. If it's cold and flu season, having a few medicated cough drops in an easily accessible pocket is a great option. Otherwise, carry along a few peppermint disks. While it may be briefly irritating to those around you as you open the wrapper, it is much more desirable to the alternative of unending coughs during the performance. In the event that you find that the cough drop will not alleviate the problem, excuse yourself quickly to the lobby for some water. Although you will not be allowed to return to the auditorium until the end of the piece, most concert halls broadcast the performance to the lobby.

Purchase the best ticket available that is within your budget. Tickets to live performances can be quite costly. Most venues offer inexpensive seats beginning at $15 or $20 in price. The sound quality in these seats is perfectly fine; they will serve as an acceptable introduction to the world of concerts. However, if your budget allows, purchase tickets that are closer to the stage. By moving forward, you become a part of the energy of the concert, experiencing the event to its fullest. While searching for the best seat, keep your personal budget in mind. Nothing will insure a bad experience more than worrying about the amount of money you spent on the evening's ticket.

Know the program in advance. Most symphony orchestra websites are easy to find on the internet. With a little effort, you can discover exactly what is to be played on the evening's program that you will attend. Make note of the composers and titles of works. If possible, find recordings of the pieces that will be performed; search both the internet as well as your local library. Listen to some of the music that you will hear, but do not feel as though you must learn it. The goal is to acquaint your ear with some of the sounds. When we hear passages that we recognize, our minds are put at ease and we are able to simply enjoy the music and the experience. Familiarity breeds comfort and that is what we are hoping to obtain!

Now you have some tools in your arsenal to insure that your first visit to the concert hall is a great one! Above all, keep the primary purpose you are attending the program at the fore of your mind and simply enjoy the music!