Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manners

This may be quite ironic, maybe even hypocritical, coming from a lady who can belch at decibels equivalent to that of a grown man three times her size. However, I find that talking, whispering, any audible communication of any kind during a performance in a concert hall, is probably one of the rudest things you could possibly do.
When I belch, I belch by a campfire in between the sharing of funny stories.
Not in the middle of class, not when my grandmother is sharing life stories, not in the presence of figures of authority.
When there is a person (or people) on stage, the house lights are dimmed and everyone around you is focusing on the stage, there should not be a peep coming out of your mouth unless it is a matter of life and death.
Have we become such a selfish enough culture that we cannot take ourselves into a concert setting, turn off our social media, and turn our attention towards a performance? Must we open our mouths and blurt out the first thing that comes into our mind and draw attention towards ourselves? Why are we at the concert? Here's another question - why is the person on stage performing? There are many, many answers for this. However, most of the time, especially when it comes to a soloist, the person on stage performing has worked countless hours, sacrificed time, money, social outings, maybe even a few meals in order to complete everything on their busy schedule. But they do this because they have a passion. They have honed in on their talents, have put forth a real effort, and are now creators. They have learned how to capture an emotion, a story, a scene, an idea, and they are sharing a piece of their heart and soul. They are there to give us an experience - one that they have been enduring for weeks now, maybe even months or years!
As humans, we thrive on communication. Music is a delicate, intense, unique, artful form of communication. When somebody is telling us a secret, sharing their life experience, giving us a lesson, or baring their testimony, it is expected that we would give them our undivided attention. We listen. We try to grasp what they are sharing with us, and we process this information in our minds. We then form thoughts, and at the appropriate time, we are often given the option to respond.
Music is the exact same way. As soon as the person walks onto the stage, their story has begun. Until they signal that their dialogue is complete, our attention should be on their message. Following the completion of their message, we can then respond with applause, and then be on our merry way. Now, being human, we naturally can become distracted. We may not catch everything they are sharing. We may drift off. That's normal! But for the sake of respect, courtesy, and elementary manners, do NOT disregard the person on stage by opening your mouth and sharing your own form of communication with those around you. It is disrespectful not only to the performer on stage, but the people in the audience as well. There may very well be somebody there in need of emotional/mental/spiritual healing. They may be experiencing a performance such as this for their very first time. They could have a family member or other loved on on the stage and are there to support that person for all of the hard work they have dedicated themselves for. They could even simply just enjoy being there, listening to music (now isn't that an idea??). Consider the fact that most concert halls carry sound very well, which is why we have performances in them, and then consider the idea that audience members may be in attendance for very serious reasons. Or if they are only there for entertainment, consider this - if you really enjoy swimming in a pool and relaxing, would you be alright with somebody coming and standing by you and then peeing in the pool? No! It's -literally- tainting your enjoyable experience! Talking in a concert is absolutely no different. Sound carries, and your form of verbal communication is pee in their swimming pool.

Children, I believe, are exempt from this rule. They should be taught and encouraged to follow as much as they can, but we know their sense of self-control is still limited.
Illness may also prevent an audience member from remaining silent. You can't always stop the human body from needing to clear bronchial passageways or expel an offensive particle from the sinus cavities. That is just part of life.
And of course, there is a special place in my heart for those with disabilities. I believe these beautiful souls go without saying.
But for those of us who are capable of following standard procedure, know how to properly communicate, and can grasp the concept of remaining silent - unless you are having a heart attack, somebody is assaulting you, or you see somebody with a detonator, you can keep your mouth shut for a few minutes longer.
I promise you, it is possible.

The performer on stage and the people around you will appreciate it so kindly.

That is all.