Concert FAQs


People often wonder what the rules are during a classical concert. When do you clap? What happens if you are late? Should you wear a bow-tie? As it happens there aren’t really any rules, and people have just tended to do the same thing since the first music concerts many years ago…

At the Edinburgh University Music Society we want you to come to our concerts and relax, enjoy the music and have a terrific evening, and so we have answered a few of the questions you might be pondering upon below. If we haven’t answered your question here then feel free to get in touch!

Only for the players! Though an EUMS concert is a good excuse to dress up, we don’t mind if you turn up in jeans and trainers either.

We welcome children to all EUMS concerts, and you can get reduced-price tickets for under-26s.

The majority of EUMS concerts begin at 7.30pm, which means that doors open at around 7pm.

We usually sell a limited number of tickets for our concerts on the door, though we would always recommend booking in advance to make sure you aren’t disappointed.

EUMS offer a concessionary ticket for all concerts. For example, if the full price is £13, then the concessionary ticket will cost £8.

Programmes are sold at the front-of-house for a small cost, and provide details of the pieces, the performers and of any upcoming EUMS events.

You will be allowed into the concert at a suitable break in the programme, though you will be requested to wait until the interval if you are particularly late.

We ask that you don’t take photos during the performance since this can be distracting to the players and our other audience members, especially if the flash goes off! We also ask you politely not to make audio or video recordings of the music as this is illegal, even if it is just for your own enjoyment.

Most concerts have 20 minute intervals, but there may be a few with shorter or long intervals, or indeed none at all.

Some of our venues only have a couple of toilets, but there are usually ample facilities for even the most well-watered audiences!

There are no set rules for when you should clap, though in the UK it is traditional to clap at the end of a piece of music, as opposed to after each movement. This is to help the music flow smoothly or to set the scene for the following movement. Your programme should give you a clue as to how many movements there are. If in doubt, keep an eye on the conductor who will usually provide a signal that the piece has ended. If you are really unsure then the best plan is to wait for others to start. Don’t worry about it: we love it when our audience expresses their delight at our performance!