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So, you’ve booked your FREE Under 18s ticket and are coming to one of our concerts. That’s fantastic, we can’t wait to see you there.

We know that going to classical music concerts might be unfamiliar, or even an entirely new experience for some people, and that can be off putting. So, to make it as easy as possible, we’ve provided answers to the questions we get asked most regularly about what to expect.

1) Do I need to dress up to go to a classical music concert?

Not at all, you can wear whatever you like that you feel comfortable in.

2) Will the concert go on for hours and hours?

No. Most concerts last about 2 hours, so about the same length of time as a film. Sometimes there is no interval and last just about an hour.

3) So, I have to sit and listen for two hours with no break??

No, no. Concerts usually start at 7.30pm and there’s almost always an interval by 8.30pm. So at that point you’ll be able to have a comfort break, check your phone and so on. Also, if you don’t want a late night or if you are new to classical music and are not sure if you’ll want to listen for that length of time, you can always head home at the interval.

4) Is it okay to use my phone during a performance?

No and that’s for several reasons. It’ll disturb your fellow audience members (and possibly the musicians too) and one of the things that is special about attending a concert, is that it will take you outside of your everyday life and you’ll get the most out of that if you’re not looking at your phone. So please remember to put your mobile away and on silent during the performance.

At the interval or at the end of the concert we’d love it if you’d share what you thought. We’re on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, but if you think we should be on other platforms, let us know. You can share your idea with us by DM, by calling us on 0131 557 6800 or you can send us an email:

5) What happens at a classical music concert?

There's a set order to things which you’ll soon get the hang of. First, the audience come into the hall and takes their seats. Then, the musicians enter in a certain order. If it's an orchestral work, the bulk of the musicians will come on, then the orchestra leader (principal first violinist) who gets the orchestra to tune up. Then the soloist enters (if there is one), and bows; and then the conductor (if there is one), comes on last. If there is a conductor, then they are in charge. If not, it’s the soloist or orchestra leader.

6) What if I lose concentration during the performance?

Don't worry about it, this happens to almost everyone at a concert. We tune out from time to time. You’ll naturally come back to the music when you’re ready to.

7) How will I know when to clap?

When people are new to concerts, sometimes it can be tricky to know when to clap. How so? Well, some pieces of music are made up of several sections - called movements - so you might think the whole piece is finished, but it could just be the end of the movement. If in doubt, keep an eye on the people around you and take your lead from them or check on the programme. However, if you do clap at the end of a movement, it’s not a big deal, so don’t worry about it.

8) What makes a classical concert different from other kinds of concert?

Classical concerts are all about wonderful music, played extremely well, by very talented people. That means that the audience tend to listen very carefully to them and so are quieter and more attentive than at most other types of concerts.

But trust us, classical music fans know how to make a big noise and show their appreciation in style. At the end of any classical concert, there is usually a lot of clapping and even feet stamping, which makes a great sound in a big hall.

9) Things to remember

If you enjoy the concert, please show your appreciation for the musicians at the end of the performance. Clapping, cheering and feet stamping are all acceptable and if people really enjoy a performance, sometimes they stand up to applaud to show their appreciation. This is called a standing ovation!

10) How can I be involved with the SCO?

We have an SCO Youth Advisory Council. The purpose of the council is to incorporate young voices into the SCO; to contribute advice and ideas to the main Board and on the organisation’s strategy; to advise SCO Board, staff and musicians on content for young people in particular; to organise an event/series of events and to act as ambassadors for the SCO. Check out our recent activities with the Youth Advisory Council: SCO YAC

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