Help! I've Never Been To A Classical Music Concert!

UNSW Wind Symphony Percussion Section 2019

If you've never been to a 'classical' music concert, it can seem a bit daunting, but don't worry! The Music Performance Unit is all about making classical music accessible to everyone on campus here at UNSW. Here are a few FAQs that might help make you feel confident enough to come along and enjoy some wonderful music.

What Do I Wear?

While some people do get dressed up to come along to a classical music concert, it is by no means compulsory. Wear something that is comfortable to sit in for up to 2 hours and shoes (preferably).


When Do I Get There?

It is always better to be early than late when it comes to concerts. This gives you a chance to go to the bathroom, purchase a drink or some snacks from the bar, and admire the beautiful artwork in the foyer of Sir John Clancy Auditorium. If you're really keen, you can read about the music being performed  prior to the concert if you're so inclined.

You can get to Sir John Clancy Auditorium by walking, cycling, bus to High St or Botany Rd, light rail to High St, or drive and enter via Gate 11, Botany St to free onsite parking behind the Auditorium


Oh No, I'm Running Late!

It's ok, you can enter through the Late Door. An usher will take you upstairs and wait until an appropriate break in the music to let you in and you can sit up the back of the auditorium then find your allocated seat after interval.


Is There Food?

Usually, yes! Most concerts have some kind of concessions bar with items to purchase. For Music Performance Unit concerts at Sir John Clancy Auditorium we will usually have tea and coffee as a minumum, and a selection of sweet and savoury snacks. At Australia Ensemble concerts there is even alcohol and sandwiches #fancy



It is a common practice when watching classical concerts to hold your applause until the end of a music piece, that means you don't clap in between movements but wait until all movements have been played. However, this might get confusing if you're unfamiliar with the piece being performed or with the concept of 'movements'. Your safest bet is to clap when most of the audience starts clapping.


What if I don't like it or I need to leave? 

If you've given a concert a go but have decided it's not for you, it's best to wait until interval before you leave. If you can't wait until interval, you should at least try to wait until the end of a piece and exit when the audience is clapping. However, if you are making a lot of noise, for example having a coughing fit, or with a crying child, feel free to leave as promptly as possible. Wait until the audience is applauding before you come back in.


Are There Other Rules?

It really depends who you ask. Some people will have a long list of expectations for audience ettiquette including unwrapping cough lollies before the concert starts as to not create any noise or potential distration. Perhaps there's only really one rule: relax, enjoy the concert – but don't distract those around you. 


See what is coming up at the Music Performance Unit here.

Alex Siegers is the Operations and Communications Assistant at the Music Performance Unit. In 2017 she graduated from a Bachelor of Music and Arts, majoring in Jazz Performance, Asian Studies and Linguistics at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and works as a singer and educator.