Student Conduct Distracts Performers

Every semester, students in various classes are required to attend concerts as a course requirement. However, Jennifer Shank, chair of the music department, said most students do not practice proper concert etiquette.

“We love having an audience of students from all around campus, but being respectful to others attending and to the musicians is important,” said Shank.

Shank said this problem isn’t something new and that it is a problem that the music department faces every semester. Students that attend these events for other classes usually do not present proper concert etiquette and cause distractions to others attending and the musicians performing by texting, taking pictures, talking, or leaving in the middle of shows.

“Music halls are created to carry sound,” Shank said. “That’s why there aren’t any microphones or sound systems. Not only does it carry sound to you, but it also carries your sound back to the musicians, which can distract them from reading and playing music.

“Even whispering the time to someone can be a distraction to those performing,” Shank said.

There are a few ways that students can exhibit good concert etiquette while attending these performances.

“It’s not that people need to sit there rigid,” said Alex Davenport, a sophomore music education major. “It’s just the little things they can do to help reduce distractions.”

One way to help decrease distractions is by arriving before the concert starts.

“When people come in late all attention is drawn to them automatically,” said Davenport.

Another key to concert etiquette is to turn off all electronics while attending a concert because the bright lights can be distracting to other viewers. Also, use of electronics for taking pictures can be illegal at certain concert events because of copyright laws.

Members of the audience should not talk or whisper because the sound carries easily in music halls. Do not get up and leave during a performance, because it draws the attention away for the artists performing and can creates a distraction for the musicians.  Lastly, save clapping for the end of complete pieces.

“When the audience talks, especially in quieter pieces portraying a specific feeling, it can change the whole feeling or mood,” said Davenport. “They are trying to tell you something with their music and little distractions can take away the meaning from the musician and everyone else.”

Davenport said this isn’t only a problem at Tech; it happens anywhere music is performed.

“There is a fine line, between accidentally causing a distraction and just being disrespectful,” said Davenport. “And all we ask is that students just be respectful.”