The increasing demand for music therapists has outstripped the supply in the United States. That spells “job security” for current music therapists, as well as many who are currently pursuing music therapy as a career.
How does one go about becoming a board certified music therapist anyway? It’s no squishy task. You’ve got to jump through all the right hoops. Here’s how you do it:
1) Pick an instrument. First, you have to be a musician. Choose an instrument and start learning how to play. Sound easy? It isn’t hard if you enjoy studying music. Becoming a skilled musician takes years of intense study. If you have no music skills, you can kiss your music therapist dreams goodbye. If you are already a decent musician, proceed to Step 2.
2) Investigate. Do your research. Learn what it’s like to be a board certified music therapist. Shadow some professionals and see if it’s something you’d like to do. Also, keep checking back with My Dream Teacher because we’ve interviewed a bunch of them.
3) Get a degree. You’ve got to get a college degree approved by the American Music Therapy Association. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in music therapy. If you already have a bachelor’s in something else, you can get what’s called an equivalency degree. This means you can take classes that you would have taken to earn a music therapy degree. If you are so motivated, master’s degrees, master’s equivalencies, and doctorate degrees are also available in music therapy.
4) Get an AMTA-Approved Internship. After completing your education, you must get an internship at an AMTA-approved training facility. These typically last for six to nine months.
5) Get certified (MT-BC). You must take the national board certification exam, which is administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Once you pass, you receive your certification, and you can print MT-BC next to your name on your business card.
6) Get a job. It’s a good idea to start your practice by getting a job at an authorized care facility. From there, you have the option to always work in facilities or to start your own private practice.
7) Renew your certification. You are required to renew your license every five years.
Parents Help Their Kids Succeed in Music: John Tracy Interview Part I
Parents can help their kids succeed in music–no matter what.
My Dream Teacher is privileged to interview John Tracy, Founder and Owner of Tampa Bay Music Academy in Florida. In this video, John Tracy shares his insight on how parents can help their children succeed in music. As an experienced performer and teacher of numerous instruments, he talks about how parents can help their children to succeed in music.
Many parents ask, “How can I help my child succeed in music?” Most parents have no idea where to start or how they need to get involved in their children’s music studies. Too many parents simply drop their kids off at lessons and expect progress to magically happen. These same parents assume that their child’s success depends on the music teacher.
Sadly, many children become frustrated in their music studies, which leads them to quit. To avoid this, John Tracy advises parents on how they can encourage their children’s success without pushing them too hard.
Other questions John Tracy answers in this video include:
When should I start my child on music lessons?
Will my child regret practicing too much?
Why is studying music important anyway?
What did your parents do, John?
When did you start studying music?
Parents will start to see real progress in their children’s music studies when they music a priority. John Tracy and other successful musician had parents who included music studies as part of their children’s complete education. When the study of music is non-negotiable, children will live up to their parents’ expectation of sticking with it.
Classical 89 is the professional classical music radio station Brigham Young University produces. Since we moved to Utah, Classical 89 has become our family’s favorite radio station. Today My Dream Teacher presents this special interview with three individuals who have worked with this outstanding radio station. They offer great advice for students on how to collaborate with college radio programs.
Stephen Tanner, former news anchor at Classical 89 who has since won fourth place in the Hearst Journalism Foundation awards competition, the college radio equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
What he did at Classical 89: I reported news, traffic, and sometimes weather. I put together a 2 to 4 minute newscast that focuses on local and sometimes national news. Every morning I would put 3 newscasts together and in the afternoon shifts I would put together two newscasts. The newsroom at Classical 89 emphasized local news stories because we have BBC News at the top of the hour.
Training this job required: Before working at Classical 89, I was able to learn the basics of radio production in my broadcasting class at BYU. I learned how to tell a story in a newscast instead of spouting out facts. I also learned the basic of the audio editing systems we use at Classical 89 (Adobe Audition).
Hearst Journalist Foundation Award: With help and support from Classical 89 news director Bruce Seeley and my broadcasting professor Chad Curtis, I put together a couple of news stories. One was on John Kavenaugh and his invention, the Kavanjo, which is a banjo pick up system that helps amplify the banjo. The other was on the Provo Airport opening up for commercial business for the first time in 50 years. Both stories focused on local people and organizations. I submitted my work to the Hearst Journalism Foundation. My work was judged by many professionals in the news industry including; Edward Esposito, Vice President, Information Media, Rubber City Radio Group, Akron, OH; Kate O’Brian, Senior Vice President, ABC News, New York, NY; and Fred Young, Former Senior Vice President of News, Hearst-Argyle Television, Yardley, PA. I was applauded as having some of the best work out of hundreds of entries from across the country. In early June, I flew to San Francisco to compete in the finals for the Hearst Journalism awards and placed fourth for radio news. I believe that because of the encouragement and great mentoring from colleagues of mine at Classical 89, I was able to stretch myself and thrive as a radio news journalist.
How he got started: I had always wanted to be involved in the news industry when I was a little kid. When I was 7 years old my brothers would ask me what I wanted to watch on TV, instead of saying cartoons or sports, I would say I wanted to watch the news. I thought I wanted to be involved with television news, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2010 I took a comprehensive career aptitude test, that I learned I worked really well with noises and sound. In September of 2010, I was offered a 4 month internship at Classical 89 to work with their news team. By October of 2010, Classical 89 offered me a job to work as an anchor and reporter in the newsroom. I hadn’t really thought as myself as a radio guy, but the more I worked at Classical 89, the more I realized how much I loved radio.
Monica Rasmussen, current on-air music host at Classical 89. She has sung with the elite singing groups Concert Choir and BYU Singers. Additionally, as a pianist she has accompanied these groups as well as several award-winning singers.
What she does at Classical 89: I host the weekday music live and I pre-record weekend time-slots. My job is part-time, though I also fill in for the full-time hosts when they are on vacation. Recently I filled in for Mark Wait for several days, as well as a few days for Steven Kapp Perry. The other part of the job is preparing for these shifts, which involves some research into the music being played: the composer, the performers or conductor, the history of the piece itself, stuff like that. Another thing to research is current classical music news. On the national or international level that could be things like recently released recordings, new conductor appointments for big orchestras, festivals and tours. On the local level it could be anything that seems relevant to a classical music audience: what famous performers are coming to the area, concerts coming up (though these usually appear in our underwriting scripts, so I don’t often go out of my way to look for this), art exhibits. Just last week I talked a little about the exhibit going on at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art called “Play Me, I’m Yours!”—ten different pianos had been painted by local artists and placed out on the streets in Salt Lake City for the public to play. So basically, an on-air music host is the human connection. Anyone can get on the internet and listen to great classical music, but what (hopefully) makes this different is the insight the host gives into the music, the connection to the broader world of classical music, and the connection to local artists and events.
Training this job required: My training for my current job all happened when I was a student employee at Classical 89. One summer I got a job doing landscaping on campus: mowing lawns, weeding flower beds—hard, sweaty, hot work. But I had a friend who was a choral conducting graduate student, working at Classical 89, who told me they were hiring. So I applied, and was very grateful to get the job and get out of the sun! At the time, I was hired as a production assistant. My job was to take concerts and recitals recorded at BYU and turn them into hour-long radio shows. I generally tracked down the performers, usually students or professors, and recorded an interview with them about the experience of performing, about the music, about their background. Then I used bits of these interviews and interspersed them throughout the concert, along with my own explanatory bits, including an introduction and conclusion. It was really fun. So, of course, part of the process was “voicing,” recording my own voice reading the scripts I had written. After I’d done a few of these, and the management liked my voice, I started training to be an on-air host. The friend who helped me get the job did most of my training for on-air work: coaching me on how to do a good break (a break being the time filled by the announcer between pieces of music), how the on-air equipment and software worked, what buttons to push and when, that sort of thing.
Her favorite part of the job: I love being on the radio live. Absolutely love it. There’s a performance aspect to live radio—telling stories about the music in an engaging way—and as a musician, I love performing! In radio it’s even better, especially for naturally introverted people like myself, because even though you have a huge audience, you don’t have to see any of them! It’s like chilling in a room with a massive library of music, talking to myself about how awesome it all is! But I shouldn’t say talking to myself, because the teacher in me loves sharing what I know and love about music with others–that’s a big part of why I love radio. Second to just being on the radio, I love that my job requires me to constantly keep learning new things about all varieties of music. This definitely fits into my master plan of eventually knowing everything.
Willhelm Evans, former student producer at Classical 89. He currently resides in Omaha, where he studies English at Creighton University.
What he did at Classical 89: I produced shows and got the music ready for all of the day to day stuff. I also helped with the stations archives and audio library. I worked with the full time staff members to produce holiday programing, as well as a daily clip announcing various cultural events in the community.
Training this job required: I did get special training, but it was nothing very serious. I didn’t need to learn how to write computer programs, but I did learn the ins and outs of some computer programs that I hadn’t been familiar with.
How he got started: It actually was a surprise. I had a job that I really liked, and that paid me good money, but this was something that came out of nowhere, and it sounded like a fun opportunity. One of my friends worked at the station, and he was approaching graduation, so he brought me in to talk with Marcus Smith, and I was hired.
Biggest takeaway: One of the great lessons I learned from working at the radio station was the importance of finishing projects on time. It was my job to make sure that the on-air hosts had all the audio they needed for their shows. If I didn’t do my job then the hosts wouldn’t have music to play. I had to be prompt, and diligent to make sure that those projects got done first that needed to get done.
How to Get Involved with Radio Programs
We asked each of our interviewees to give us advice on how students can get involved in college radio programs. Here’s what they had to say:
Stephen Tanner: If you want to get involved in college radio programs, learn how to write. Whether you are reporting the news or writing poetry, writing plays an important role in radio. Also, just learn to listen. Listen to people, listen for stories and listen for sounds around you. If you can put interesting stories from interesting people and intermingle sounds into a piece, you will be far more prepared to get your foot in the door for a college radio station.
Monica Rasmussen: There are tons of ways to get into a radio: through communications internships, production internships, clerical jobs; it takes a lot of different kind of specialties to make public radio work. But to do it the way I did it, listen to public radio all the time—every chance you get. You have to have the sound of public radio in your ears. I grew up listening to public radio in Washington State, and it was practically the only station I listened to. Listen critically for things announcers say and do that’s successful and that works, what’s irritating and what doesn’t work, etc. Embrace your music history classes—know as much as you can about every possible style, genre, era of music. The broader your base of knowledge, the more you’ll sound like an authoritative voice, an insider, someone who really knows what they are talking about. Also, know what’s happening in classical music currently: who the big names are and why, how to pronounce their names! This was the sort of thing I think I had going for me that got me the job. I was hired as a production assistant who didn’t know anything about production! But I knew music and I knew the sound of good radio, so picking up on the technical aspects of production was just a matter of learning a few new computer programs, and having some good training.
Willhelm Evans: Just go and do it. The radio station has so many ways for students to get involved. From producing, to being a guest, and various things in between, there are lots of things that students can do to get involved.
Far from stuffy, Pops Orchestras appeal to a vast audience as they showcase light classics.
For many people, classical music is the gold standard for serious artistry. However, many non-musicians assume that all classical music is always serious. On the contrary, classical music is much more versatile than that! It is fun, humorous, witty, and even irreverent when it wants to be.
Pops orchestras keep the fun alive by playing lighter classics and popular songs. Their performances elicit laughter and produce memories for the whole family. There may be one or more in your state. Some popular orchestras include:
Arizona has the Tucson Pops Orchestra
California has the Golden State Pops Orchestra in LA, the Pasadena Pops and San Francisco Pops
Florida has two: the Palm Beach and the Panama City Pops Orchestras
Massachusetts has the Boston Pops Orchestra
Minnesota has the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra
New York’s got the New York Pops Orchestra
North Carolina has the Carolina Pops Orchestra
Ohio has two: the Cincinnati and the Cleveland Pops Orchestras
Pennsylvania has the Philly Pops Orchestra
Additionally, some universities have their own pops orchestras, such as the:
Harvard Pops Orchestra in Massachusetts
University of Michigan Pops Orchestra
Davenport Pops Orchestra at Yale University in Connecticut
International pops orchestras include the:
De La Salle Pops Orchestra in the Phillipines
Twilite Orchestra in Indonesia
Queensland Pops Orchestra in Australia
The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in California
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, which plays both serious and light classical music
It’s reassuring to know that one need not look outside the classical realm for a little light night music.
Think you own your sheet music? Not until you mark it up.
You may think you own your sheet music, but there’s only one way to tell. How much do you make it a part of yourself?
Think about it. When you borrow music from a friend or a teacher, you’re often too afraid to touch it, or do much else with it for that matter. By contrast, owning your own sheet music gives you the freedom to do whatever you want with it—as long as it’s legal, of course. So how can you get the most out of owning your own sheet music?
Mark it up, baby!
Highlight your part. Making your part stand out helps you stay on track while turning pages. This is especially helpful if it’s an orchestral score because your eyes will quickly distinguish your part from all the other ones.
Take notes. Write notes on dynamics and other indications of how the piece should be performed. If you’re blocking or choreographing the piece—as you would in a solo vocal score—write down your movements. Here’s an even more novel idea: write down what your teacher tells you in your lessons!
Break it up. Circle parts that are tricky and require extra practice. Don’t be embarrassed. Nobody will judge you. If you mark these areas in pencil, you can always erase them later.
Translate it. In classical music especially, it’s common to see Italian or German indications of how you’re supposed to perform the piece. If you don’t know what these words mean, find an online translator and write the English words on your sheet music. If it’s a vocal score with foreign lyrics, write the translation for these words, too. Make note of unusual vowels and consonants.
Create symbols. You will naturally develop your own shorthand and symbols as you develop the habit of marking up your music. In my scores, for example, I mark tri-tones with a triangle—naturally. You may use IPA to help you with pronouncing foreign words, or you may come up with your own system. The most effecting method is the one that works for you.
The more you go to town with marking up your score, the more you pride you will take in owning your sheet music. Have fun!
Some schools merely instruct, but Heritage inspires. This weekend I took my family and some friends to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Heritage Center Stage. It was charming, cute, and full of heart—but we didn’t just have a good time. It changed our entire outlook on the world.
Heritage is a residential treatment center for at-risk teens. Having heard about the school system through friends, I had been eager to check out their facilities for years. Yet I didn’t know how; you can’t just walk into treatment centers without an invitation. As soon as a friend offered me tickets to the musical, I invited as many friends as I could to go with me.
From the moment my group and I entered the theater, we knew we were in for a treat. Nothing excites me more than seeing kids involved in positive activities, and I knew this family-friendly show would be no exception. We came excited and we left gratified beyond our expectations.
What I didn’t anticipate was that I would cry as soon as the curtain opened. The narrators entered the stage with little kids, singing together about the story that was about to unfold. Joseph entered through a floor-born cloud, and as a parent, I just couldn’t restrain the tears. My teenage friends sitting next to me enjoyed mocking my sappiness.
Thankfully the sentimental tone changed quickly with the more light-hearted song Jacob & Sons. From then on we danced in our seats, laughing at antics and growing fond of each character. Since it was closing night, we got to see the master of ceremonies present gifts and publically thank those involved with the production.
After the show, we discussed our favorite aspects, and it quickly became clear that we loved everything about it. The kids did a fabulous job engaging the audience through singing, acting, and dancing. Most of the kids had little or no formal training, but the audience immediately latched on to their genuine, dynamic personalities. The moral support was unanimous.
Evidently, the adults involved in production infused love and expertise into everything. The costumes were brilliant, the scenery epic, the choreography inventive, and the lighting and sound precise and well-executed. I found the transitions between scene changes particularly clever. The orchestra blew me away, and even more so when I discovered it was just one person—Rosanne Abraham—on a keyboard.
On visiting the Heritage school, I knew I would learn something interesting, and maybe even meet some nice people. I’m pleased to say that I was moved beyond expectation by the production itself and by the warm spirit that resided there. My Heritage visit will forever stand as a case study of the power of the arts to change people for good.
It takes a bit of work to enjoy an opera, but doing so will change your life in great ways.
Opera going is not like movie going. Most movie-goers want to know just enough about the plot to be interested in seeing the film. They don’t want to know too much about how the story unfolds—or how it ends—because it spoils their fun. Surprise is what makes seeing a movie for the first time delightful.
With opera, quite the opposite is true: the more you know about the story, the more you enjoy the performance. If you go without knowing what’s going to happen beforehand, you will be too lost and frustrated to realize all the show has to offer.
And what does opera have to offer? Since its early years, opera has been regarded as the presentation of all the highest arts in one place. It features poetry, drama, acting, painting, sculpture, elaborate costumes, lavish upholstery, and these days, bleeding edge technology. Oh yes, and music, too!
Really, opera is nothing short of an artistic smorgasbord. So do your homework and don’t miss out on all the goodies.
Read the Synopses. Before attending the show, familiarize yourself with the complexities of the plot. Once informed, you can focus on the other elements of the show. Otherwise, your eyes will be fixed on the supertitles rather than the stage. If you already know what’s happening, you can actually listen to the music, admire the scenery, and bask in the holistic theater experience.
Get some historical background. While not essential to enjoying the opera on a basic level, you are guaranteed to appreciate the show much more with historical context. When does the opera take place? What is the historic backdrop of the plot? What was going on in the composer’s country of residence the year he wrote this opera? Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner were especially nationalistic composers. As such, their operas often have intriguing political undertones that were controversial at the time.
Listen to recordings. Figure out what famous songs you should listen for. Each opera has at least one classic aria or orchestra bit that made it so famous. Watch several versions on YouTube and you’ll be so thrilled when you hear it during the live performance. You’ll get swept up in the excitement of the opera experience. You’ll finally understand why those fanatics in the box seats scream “Brava!” at the end of each aria, clapping and nearly thrusting themselves off the balcony.
Learn something about this interpretation. If possible, read about the version you are going to see. What are the director’s dramatic choices? Is the show in a traditional or a modern setting? What was the most costly part about putting this show together? What technical difficulties did they have to get around? All these facts will sharpen your eyes and deepen your appreciation for what is being presented. They might even keep you from feelings of confusion or outrage at the interpretive decisions.
Watch another version. You really start to appreciate opera when you watch different versions of the same show. While exposing yourself to so many different interpretations of the same music and plots, you’ll even start to form your own opinions about how directors really “should” bring the story to life, and how each aria really “should” be sung. You’ll become an opera snob before you know it!
Seeing an opera is fun, but it’s even more enjoyable to bring friends to the show. I like to discuss the opera with my friends afterward. They often notice things I didn’t. When they share their thoughts with me, I really feel like I got my money’s worth. Once you convert your friends to this way of seeing an opera, you’ll all become fanatics in no time.
Gustav Mahler Conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, by by Max Oppenheimer, 1935
I was so moved the first time I saw Gustav Mahler Conducts the Vienna Philharmonic at the Belvedere in Vienna, Austria.It may not look extraordinary in a pixilated rendering, but its life-size original is breathtaking.
The mark of a great painting is its appeal to more senses than just sight.In this painting, not only can you see the wind blowing through everybody’s hair; you feel it.Though non-existent, you become convinced that there’s an actual breeze in the room.This effect blurs the separation between the artwork in front of you and your reality on the other side of it.You are transported from your world into Max Oppenheimer’s fantasy.It thrills and frightens you at the same time.
As you analyze the windy effect of this painting, a riddle emerges.The Golden Hall doesn’t have windows, so . . . aha!The epiphany appears.It’s not a literal gust of wind that Oppenheimer paints so eloquently.It’s the unearthly whirlwind of passion that sweeps up each orchestra member—and you, the viewer.It’s rather Pentecostal in nature.The solemnity of said passion is expressed in everybody’s prayer-like closed eyes and bowed heads.
One would think this painting has inspired so many orchestra members around the world to grow their hair out–as indeed, many have. What is more becoming of a musician than a swooshy, aerodynamic hairstyle?As a violinist sways with each bow stroke, his hair punctuates each movement.What a brilliant way to get the audience more visually involved in the performance!
Few paintings capture the dynamic movement of orchestral music as well as this masterpiece does.The wind effect is largely to credit for this.The brush strokes themselves are lively and add to the sense of mobility.The timpani player’s multiple mallet heads clearly illustrate a rapid drum roll.
Max’s decision to squish everybody together helps, too.Each player’s individuality becomes irrelevant as they perform, move and breathe as one musical organism.Mahler is the nucleus, the DNA code, the brain and heart, the mastermind.Every line in the painting points directly to him, as he’s placed conveniently at the center of all activity.
Despite the sheer amazingness of this aesthetic gem, hardly anyone has heard of it outside of Vienna.I couldn’t find any historical information on the painting online, and a search through print materials was equally hapless.Perhaps I was wise to forgo my original dissertation idea in college.I wanted to explore how artistic portrayals of Gustav Mahler reflected European ideologies of the time.Due to the lack of reliable information, I abandoned the project.I hope one of these days some more daring student will pick up where I left off.
Open rebuke is better than secret love (Proverbs 27:5).
A few years ago, a good friend of mine related to me what had happened to him during an audition for a prestigious company. After singing his songs, the panelists gave him immediate feedback. First, they made it clear that they would not accept him into their company. Secondly, they told him he needed to learn how to stay on pitch. That was a hard criticism for him to accept, since he had trained intensively in classical voice for years. As if that didn’t smart enough, the judges also advised him to lose weight—“At least twenty pounds”, they said.
Ouch. Upon hearing his story, I was glad to have foregone my own audition for that institution. However, in the years following that episode, I have come to value such feedback. Having gained more audition experience, I realize that criticism is the most valuable thing a performer can receive.
How can this be? Isn’t getting the part you want the whole point of auditions? Sure, landing a desired role or post within a company is more valuable to your ego and your wallet in the short-term. In the long-run, however, criticism drives the artists to improve far more than acceptance or praise ever does.
Why musicians take it personally
Since the very nature of music is emotional, it is very hard for artists to separate their performance from their egos. When someone criticizes your performance, it’s as if they were criticizing you. This is especially true for singers because the instrument is a physical part of oneself. If somebody tells you they don’t like your voice or the way you use it, it feels as though they’re really saying that they don’t like you as a person.
One solution to this dilemma is to avoid criticism altogether. To some artists, pleasing themselves is more important than pleasing their spectators. Either the judges like it and they’ll hire the performer, or they don’t, in which case the performer would prefer not to work with them anyway.
For performers who are only concerned with pleasing themselves, the confidential nature of the audition is very convenient. They don’t care to know the judges reasons for rejecting them. They’ll simply move onto another audition, and another, until a job is landed.
Why musicians don’t learn from auditions.
Unfortunately, auditioners rarely receive any feedback from the panelists at all. Most of the time, you go in there, show them your stuff, and they politely dismiss you. You never hear from them again. What they think of you forever remains a mystery to you.
As a result, most performers measure their success in a pass-fail manner: did they get the role or not? There is no in-between. Either the audition was perfect because they landed the role, or it was a failure because they didn’t.
How do you counter this? The real solution would be if all the panelists would offer immediate feedback. “Your singing was beautiful, but it lacked authenticity.” Or, “Your instrument is bright and clear, but we’re looking for a huskier sound.”
Sadly, we can’t count on that happening any time soon. To delve into the reasons would take up more space than the author is willing to dedicate in this article.
What to do about it
For one thing, the performer can learn not to take rejection personally. Since judges will rarely tell you why you didn’t make the cut, there’s no use in guessing.
To ease the pain of rejection, actor Trevor Nero[i] advises me to forget about every audition once it’s finished. “Auditioning is a way of life”, he says. “When you go in for a part, chances are, you’re going to get rejected. You can’t afford to stake your hopes on getting the gig. Rather than agonize over what you could have done better, forget all about it and move on.”
Since you won’t get it from judges very often, it’s important to actively seek feedback from other people. I always encourage my clients to rehearse their pieces in front of friends, family, and whoever is willing to listen. Do so with the intention of learning every awkward thing you do that distracts from the music making. After the performance, collect honest information from your spectators.
Auditioning for the sake of it
In a world in which most judges will never give you constructive criticism, we can take advantage of auditioning simply for our own benefit.
I sometimes like to audition for roles that I almost know I won’t get. These end up being the auditions I learn the most from. I like to throw myself into roles that are so unlike my previous characters because this forces me to think, observe, and fight with myself in ways I wouldn’t otherwise. The process of creating harmony within oneself where there is dissonance and lack of understanding is more thrilling to me than always auditioning for the same cookie-cutter roles I always have done before.
I recently auditioned for such a role that was outside my comfort zone. As such, I didn’t expect to get the part. My friends, upon learning that I didn’t get the role,, felt very sad and sorry for me. I told them they really didn’t need to, because the purpose of my audition was to gain experience.
Having said that, I wish with all my heart I could get some feedback on my performance—especially of these challenging roles. I wish a director would tell me, “You played that too vulnerably. I’m looking for indelible strength.” Or, “Stop acting! Show me the real you!” Or maybe even, “You’re very authentic, but you’re just too attractive.” Now there’s a criticism I would be keen to receive.
The culture at classical concerts has been established for many years. Familiarize yourself with the rules everybody expects you to keep.
Angry tweets and Facebook posts abound amongst my friends who attend classical concerts. Hardly a month goes by in which I don’t read somebody’s rant against a rude person talking or texting during the performance.
You might have read a few rants yourself. The next time you do, please don’t think your classically-incline friend is snobby. She was simply taught the rules of classical concert etiquette that many people obviously miss out on.
The rules of concert etiquette make the music hall experience more enjoyable for everybody. If you violate them, your classical friends will want to rip their hair out—or worse, your hair. So let’s protect ourselves from premature baldness by respecting these simple guidelines.
The rules can be summarized in one word: respect. It’s important to be courteous to the performers and to your fellow audience members. If everybody obeys these simple rules, then we can all go home feeling respected and happy:
Rules of Concert Etiquette
1) Turn off your cell phone, or any other noise or light-making device.
2) No flash photography. There may be copyright issues involved with picture-taking, but the real hazard is distracting the performers and annoying others around you.
3) Clap at the end of sets, not between movements. The program will clarify where sets begin and end. If in doubt, don’t clap.
4) Don’t talk during the performance—or at least not audibly to others around you.
5) Keep noise-making in general to a minimum. Don’t fidget with jingly jewelry and accessories. Don’t be that person rustling noisy candy wrappers. Laughing may be appropriate, but try not to let it get out of hand.
6) Dressing up is preferred. You don’t have to spend lots of money on concert-going attire, but wearing something nicer than the movie theater shows some respect for the higher arts. Business casual, Sunday best or semi-formal are all appropriate choices.
7) Serious concert halls are not always child-friendly. If your child is able to sit quietly, by all means, bring him or her to the concert hall. However, some venues discourage children under certain ages (like 6, 8 or even 12 years of age) from attending simply because they can be distracting to others. Use your judgment on this one.
These rules take no time at all to master. All they require is an attitude of respect for the performers, the audience members, and the art being presented. If you can abide by these rules, the concert experience will be a sweet memory for all involved.