Going to a symphony orchestra concert of a major group, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is an event: certain behavior is expected of the audience. An article from the Chicago Tribune offers some tips and a comment from a musician about how to learn about going to the orchestra:
It is extremely hard for anyone without significant exposure to classical music to truly understand it, he said.
“It’s something that has to be cultivated,” he said. “Beethoven’s music is filled with philosophy. …You can’t just come to one concert and understand it.”
But he hopes beginners try. One concert, after all, can lead to another. And another.
I would like to know when exactly symphony halls became places of quiet and decorum. If you read about classical music in the early 20th century, such as in The Rest Is Noise, some concerts, particularly those featuring modern music by the likes of Stravinsky and others, were places of displayed emotions. Classical music wasn’t just nice background music; it was music that was tied to bigger ideas and revolutionary thoughts.