Sunday, October 12, 2008

A guide to clapping at a recital.

Clap often, loudly and proudly. It's a good way of making time go faster in a boring recital. I favor booing and hissing, but I find that pity-clapping or sarcastic clapping is even more devastating for the guy playing.

The first step is learning how to properly clap. You want it to be loud and deep, and you don't want to hurt your hands. Make a cup with one hand and hit over the cup with the extended fingers of the other hand. You can try cupping both hands, but it won't have a sharp sound, and you might look kind of silly.

Know when to clap:

- Clap whenever anyone enters or exits the stage.

- Clap after someone gives a speech or makes an introduction.

- Clap whenever the performer plays a really hard passage, even if you weren't particularly impressed, it will show him your appreciation.

- Clap whenever the performer messes up. You clapping will boost his self-esteem and might help him make a quick recovery.

- Clap if he makes a quick recovery.

- Clap when he finishes a piece. Make sure to keep on clapping loud and proud until you are the only one left clapping, don't stop until you are sure the performer notices you. If you do that enough, the musicians will appreciate it and might invite you for a drink after the concert.

- Make sure to bump it up a notch with a "Wooooo!" or an "Oh, yeah!" when something really cool happens. Make sure to do this in an opera or a ballet when a villain gets thwarted, the singers hit a really high note or a ballerina makes a really impressive pirouette.

- Make sure to sit as near to the front as possible. That way, when you start a standing ovation, everyone else will see you and follow along.

- Sing along if there is a really catchy theme or clap in rhythm to the music.

- Always try to start a wave if you have some friends with you. If someone near you gets up for any reason, try to take advantage of that to start a wave, specially if you're alone. Some music lends itself very well to the wave; wait for some fast scales or arpeggios going up and down and time the wave to the music (for example, Chopin's first etude from op. 10).

By clapping you show your appreciation, which has a huge effect on how the performer does. Don't walk out, clapping is better and will make the recital more fun for everybody.


  1. I'm trying to imagine the recital and the audience here. I mean you mention a ballet and opera as well as an recital, these atmospheres are classical ... wouldn't audience reaction be more likely to me clapping when the performer stops playing? You paint the atmosphere to seem like a rock concert with waves and loud cheering, as well as clapping after the tricky parts.

  2. I was just feeling silly when I wrote this, but it seems being funny doesn't really suit me, and it's kind of out of place in this blog. Lots of confused people over this one.

  3. Its ok, my humor is the same, I'd say a joke and silence ... then when I would say something that I consider to be seriously not funny people would be in hysterics. I like reading your blogs ... never found much humor out of them apart from "Ahmed the terrorist", but they still are written boldly, nothing is wishy washy. I enjoy reading your blogs! :)