No…. it’s not what you think. I am not writing about Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven or Schumann (or any others on that long list…).
I am totally fine talking to audiences. I think it started when I used to busk in Covent Garden, years ago. Also, I stand up in front of groups of children of varying sizes a number of times a week. So talking in public is quite ok (I have nightmares about other things, but not speaking in public).
I start every concert with a list of things to say – turn off mobile phones (why this needs to be said, I don’t understand, but there we are. Why don’t people just turn these damn things off more?), please don’t unwrap sweets, if you are in my line of sight please don’t fan yourself – and I’ve added a new one.
There are no real rules about clapping.
So many people seem to be worried about this. And this sentence seems to give them permission to just relax. I feel a collective sigh of relief from any audience I have said this in front of. The tension seems to disappear. Why did Classical music concerts get so stuffy? No performer I know really minds if people clap – or not.
I would rather you came to a concert, and clapped when you wanted (as long as I wasn’t playing), and really enjoyed yourself, rather than not come because you were worried about this.
So to anyone who is reading this, who worries about clapping – I apologise. I apologise on behalf of the classical musical establishment who has made you worried about this issue. We are stuffy, us musos. Pay us no attention. Clap when you please, as long as no-one is bowing, blowing, hitting, strumming or singing.
This music is meant to be enjoyed.