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I’m not a huge symphony fan – I’d usually rather go see my top-notch ballet company with its top-notch orchestra – but the last symphony concert I attended got me charged up.   So here goes the waxing opinionated…

  1. Go to something you already know you are likely to enjoy.  I am now old enough and experienced enough to confidently forgo pushing myself “out of my comfort zone,” thank you.  Life is too short to go to something because it might be “good for me” and leave feeling disappointed or ambivalent.  Screw that.  Give me Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, thank you.
  2. Don’t dress up unless you enjoy dressing up.  Wearing something that makes you itch is pretty much guaranteed to ruin the experience.  Screw worrying about what other people might think.  They didn’t buy a ticket to look at you, and you probably didn’t buy a ticket to be judged.
  3. I find inexpensive “limited view” seats to be fine at the orchestra. Unless you really want to watch all of the musicians, or care about seeing such details as their shoes, or are wanting optimal acoustics.  I’d rather see the musicians’ faces and hands at work.
  4. Go on the wine-tasting nights.  The Seattle Symphony offers a “baroque and wine” series, which is a nice inexpensive subscription option if baroque’s your thing. (See #1.)
  5. Go see guest artists (e.g., this guy).  How lucky I was to experience his conducting, singing, and violining at last Saturday’s baroque and wine concert.  The orchestra subset who played that night with him was also marvelous.  And to think I almost didn’t go because the weather was so nice.
  6. Sketch the musicians. (Quietly and discreetly so as not to distract audience neighbors.)




  1. I love your sketch!

  2. All good advice and I also love the sketch!!

  3. Good tips, all of them. I love wine with classical music. I won’t wear jeans to a concert, though. It looks like you don’t care or you spend too much time in front of the TV. ;)

    When my younger daughter was about 10, she sketched on her program not only drawings of the musicians but one of an event where some guy on the balcony dropped his program. Luckily it didn’t hit anyone, but in the symphony hall it sounded like a gunshot as it hit the back of a seat. The guy tried to pretend he wasn’t the one who dropped the program, but an usher came by at intermission, picked up the program and said, “Do you want your program back, sir?”

    • That’s a great story. How embarrassing for the dropper (and startling to everyone else!). I have anxieties about doing something like that, and wonder how often people drop their programs from balconies, boxes, etc. Very cool that your daughter sketched at 10!

      Regarding the jeans, I get that… But, um, I don’t care. 🤗

  4. Your sketch reminds me of Jules Feiffer’s drawings (which I love).

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