First Timers’ Guide

Discover helpful tips about what to wear, when to clap, what to do with your cell phone and more.

Hearing live music is an exhilarating, memorable experience, but you may have questions on your first visit. There’s no need to be anxious—just relax and enjoy the experience! To help you feel more comfortable, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have more questions, or need any assistance, just call Patron Services at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476), and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help you.

What do I wear to the symphony?

Wear whatever makes you comfortable. Some patrons choose to dress casually, and some choose to dress up. At every concert there is always a wide variety of dress, so don’t feel like you need to dress a certain way—although you’ll always be safe in business casual attire. As a courtesy to those seated near you, we do suggest that you avoid heavy perfumes or other fragrances.

When do I clap?

At a classical concert, clapping is usually reserved until the end of the entire piece. Most classical symphonies have several movements, and the end of a movement could sound like the end of the piece. If you are unsure about whether the piece has ended, wait a few seconds and see if anyone else around you claps or if the conductor steps off the podium.

Can I bring the kids?

You know your children best, and you know how long they can usually sit and enjoy the music without being too squirmy. As a general guideline, though, we recommend that you don’t bring children younger than 10 years old to our regular subscription concerts, simply because they often find the concerts are too long. Younger kids will enjoy our Family Series concerts, which are shorter and have a more relaxed atmosphere and more to look at on the stage.

What if I need to cough, or my cell phone rings?

Please turn off cell phones, pagers and watch alarms before entering the concert hall. These noises are very distracting to your fellow audience members, the conductor and the musicians. If you are on call, you may leave your device and seat location with the house manager before the concert starts.

Coughing can be an unavoidable problem. If you don’t have a lozenge and you need to cough once or twice, please try to wait for the end of the movement and cough into a tissue or your elbow. Please stay home if you feel sick and let us know before the concert starts if you need a ticket exchanged.

Also, please don’t talk while the music is playing. Being sensitive to your neighbors allows everyone to have a more pleasant concert experience.

Where can I go to eat before or after a concert?

The New Jersey Symphony performs in venues throughout the state. View restaurant suggestions.