I was at a session recently where a flute player started a tune and someone in the audience came right up and asked the flute player a question while he was playing. I’m not sure how she expected him to answer at the same time blowing into his flute but for some reason she just had to know at that very moment if that was a flute he was playing.

Another time I was singing at a wedding gig, my guitar player was singing backup harmonies and at the very moment he leaned into his mic to start his part, an audience member stepped up to him and started asking him a question. I’m not sure how he was supposed to answer while singing and playing guitar.

Just as there is proper etiquette for musicians performing, there is proper etiquette for people listening to the music.  Here are some tips on how to be a good audience member:

  • When listening to a live session, it’s okay to clap after a tune set. It lets the musicians know you like what you hear.
  • Tapping your foot and dancing is always welcome if the space allows. We love when others are moved by the music we make.
  • A live performance is a two-way relationship but the conversation should be left for the break. Most of the time we are concentrating and playing in the moment, talking to us distracts us and takes us away from the task at hand.

The only thing musicians like more than talking about their music is actually playing it. So be courteous and let them do their thing. There’s plenty of time for talking later.

One thought on “Shhh…listen.

  1. Hah – took me a minute after reading this to put two and two together – it was almost too bizzare of a happening to commit to memory – being asked a question while I was trying to play flute. Sadly, I think it is a bad sign-o-the-times that there is a legitimate/obvious need to translate common sense into etiquett guidelines.

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