Tips for Improving Audience Behavior at Your Next Performance
The music is ready. The lines are memorized. The stage is decorated. It is concert time! The next thing to consider is how to keep the audience entertained and under control during the entire evening. Let's face it. Your students know what your expectations are for the evening. They have practiced walking in lines, being quiet and using good audience behavior in your classroom all year. The audience? In all likelihood, they have been to more ballgames than concerts and may need a little prompting to be a good audience. This doesn't mean that they aren't there to be supportive or that they don't like the arts. It may just be that they don't know what is expected of a great audience.
1. Add a little reminder about audience behavior in your program. Something like this:
2. I always have students welcome the audience and introduce songs. On occasion, I've had them rap or recite a poem about audience etiquette. I love THIS one by Tami Mangusso.
3. Use slideshows and videos before the concert to help students and audience members know what's going on. I also use this as an opportunity to remind concert goers about good audience behavior. Here is a sample from about 7 years ago. I set the show to loop and have thematic music playing in the background. This concert was easy as there are many great country Christmas songs out there.
4. It's not usually before a concert that I have problems with noise. It is during the time that students are getting on and off the risers. With large groups this takes a few minutes no matter how much we practice. During this time the audience starts chatting and moving around. This is fine (I would rather they do that when we are not performing!) but it can be hard to get them back to a reasonable level before the next group starts. My solution? Entertain them!
I play slideshows with pictures of class activities, trivia (related to the theme of the concert) or other thematic content. As soon as the first group of students takes their bow, the slideshow starts and we transition to a new group.
5. Decorate with a purpose. You may have noticed that I kind of LOVE bulletin boards! LOL. Well, I've got one for audience behavior too. Check out Thankful for Good Audience Behavior.
I hope these tips help you have a great performance! Best wishes!
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