Concert Etiquette

To clap or not to clap? We’re supposed to clap for soloists during jazz band numbers, but get glared at if we applaud in the middle of an orchestral work or between movements. But we’re encouraged to clap during Sousa marches? What the-?

It’s all about tradition. Audiences generally show their appreciation for jazz soloists immediately after each solo. For orchestral or symphonic band works with multiple movements, wait until the end of the entire piece to applaud. Your cue? If the baton’s still in the air, the piece isn’t over yet. The conductor will lower his baton and turn around when the work is over. Sousa’s “Stars & Stripes Forever” is in a category of its own. If the conductor turns around, mid-piece, and starts clapping, you get to do it too.

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