FAQs about your first concert

Where and when do Orchestra Indiana concerts take place?
All Muncie subscription concerts will be held in Emens Auditorium on Ball State Campus. Marion subscription concerts and free community concerts occur at a variety of different locations. Visit the “Upcoming Events” page for detailed information about concert locations and start times.

What is classical music?
The term “classical music” can be problematic. Music history refers to the years from roughly 1750 to 1825 as the “Classical” period, when Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven achieved their glory. But in a broader sense, the term classical music is used to describe the continuing heritage of music mostly written to be performed in concert halls by orchestras, singers, choruses, chamber ensembles, and solo instrumentalists.

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. Some things about the concert may seem strange because they’re new to you, but if you just focus on the music, you’ll have a great time. Open yourself up to the music. Feel the rhythms; follow the tunes. Watch the musicians and the conductor; see how they interact with each other. Notice how the music ebbs and flows – surging and powerful at some times, delicate and ephemeral at others.

What if I don’t know anything about classical music? Do I need to study beforehand?
There’s no need to study. The music will speak for itself. Just come and enjoy it! Over time, many frequent concertgoers do find their enjoyment is deeper if they prepare for a concert. This can be simple, like reading the program notes beforehand; or it can be more involved, like listening to recordings of the music to be performed in the days before they attend a concert. Pre-Concert Lectures take place before select concerts and provide an insightful and informative introduction to the pieces on the program for those concertgoers who would like more background about the music they’re about to hear! Check the details of upcoming events to find when the next Pre-Concert Lecture is happening.

Will I enjoy the concert?
Live music is amazing! And, odds are, you’ll recognize some of the music. Many of today’s popular songs, television shows, video games, and movies include classical music, like the Lone Ranger theme (Rossini’s William Tell Overture), the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?” (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries), Call of Duty (Mozart’s Dies Irae), and many more.
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. Listen for the ways a melody is repeated: Is it exactly the same as the first time, or with a different character? Does it start the same as before, but go off in a different direction?

What should I wear?
There is no dress code! Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Some people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, and you’ll see everything from jeans to dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it. If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne. It can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze (which may distract you).

Should I arrive early?
Plan to arrive anywhere from 10-30 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, silence 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. Don’t forget the Pre-Concert Lectures before select concerts.

How long is the concert?
Most subscription concerts are 90 minutes to two hours long (usually including an intermission). Free community concerts and family concerts usually range from one hour to 90 minutes.

Can I take pictures?
Cameras, video recorders, or other recording equipment are NOT permitted in concerts. Phone calls, phone alarms, and texting during the performance can be distracting to the audience members around you or even to the musicians, so please remember to silence your phone and put it away before the concert begins.

When should I clap?
Generally, it is considered proper concert etiquette to clap only after a piece is complete. Just like books have chapters and TV series have episodes, many orchestral pieces are divided into multiple sections called movements. Each movement can stand alone but contributes cohesively to the entire piece. Generally there are very brief pauses in between each movement, and the audience applauds at the conclusion of the work. You can tell how many movements a piece has by looking at your program. For example:

Symphony No. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace

This symphony by Beethoven has four movements, so we can expect pauses between each movement and applause at the end of the last movement. Movement titles are often Italian terms for how fast the tempo will be or other characteristics. If you lose track of where the piece is, you can always wait for the rest of the audience to clap before applauding. Another good sign is when the conductor either turns around or steps off the podium.

Will there be an intermission, and what should I do during it?
Most subscription concerts will have a 15-20 minute intermission. Check your program or ask an Orchestra Indiana staff member in the lobby. Just as the musicians will need to take a break, you may use the time to visit the restroom or socialize. Select concerts may have refreshments available in the lobby during intermission (or before the show).

Can I bring my kids?
It depends on the concert and on the age of your kids. Many standard-length classical concerts may be difficult for small children because they require an attention span that may be beyond what a child can maintain. Our Free Community Concerts and Education Concerts are a great way for families (including children of all ages) to enjoy classical music together. To further build your children’s interest in classical music, play classical music at home or in the car. When they are old enough to sit quietly for an extended period, you may wish to bring them to the first half of a Classical concert. In all cases, it’s a good idea to check with the orchestra directly about the appropriateness of the concert you plan to attend with your kids. Children in grades K-12 can get free tickets to our subscription concerts!