Author Topic: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?  (Read 6524 times)

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lisztchick

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2014, 07:58:15 AM »
There was an incident several years ago where a world-famous classical musician actually rebuked a child in the middle of his performance. She was sitting in the front row, right in his line of vision, and I guess she acted up so much that the musician chastised her mother, saying something like: "If she's going to fidget, you're going to have to take her out." The mother was furious, and said later that her child would be scarred by this public chastisement. The theater management apologized profusely to the mother, and the musician received some very nasty remarks in the press for asking the child to settle down. But get this: the child was ten! Ten is old enough to behave at a concert!

OP, it might interest the woman who behaved so rudely towards you to know that many professional performing arts organizations now have a rule that no child under the age of TWELVE be allowed to attend, citing potential disruptions to other audience members and the performers. I really don't agree with this; how will children learn an appreciation for classical music (and how to behave at a concert!) unless they are allowed to attend? Of course, that's not to say that I advocate taking a two-year-old to a five-hour opera! But there are concerts geared to all ages and levels.

I doubt that the concert was "ruined" for these two boys at all. I'm sure they forgot about this "incident" long before their rude chaperone did. And if the experience was, in fact, "ruined by an adult merely asking them politely to be quiet, then they have much bigger problems....

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2014, 08:26:58 AM »
How will children learn to appreciate classical music? By listening to it at home, perhaps? Disney's Fantasia is also a good start.

I think people ask too much of a child to expect them to sit through a three hour concert.

Yvaine

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2014, 08:58:44 AM »
OP, it might interest the woman who behaved so rudely towards you to know that many professional performing arts organizations now have a rule that no child under the age of TWELVE be allowed to attend, citing potential disruptions to other audience members and the performers. I really don't agree with this; how will children learn an appreciation for classical music (and how to behave at a concert!) unless they are allowed to attend? Of course, that's not to say that I advocate taking a two-year-old to a five-hour opera! But there are concerts geared to all ages and levels.

I agree with you. The symphony near me has several kids' concerts per year where they play music they think will be of particular interest to kids, and which are more interactive than the usual "sit silently for two hours" thing and so might be a good transition, of sorts, into learning how to behave at concerts. I think there are a lot of adults who don't go to classical concerts because they think the music or the etiquette or both are intimidating, and becoming familiar with them while still young seems a good way to counter this. And of course the particular kids in the OP should have been quiet, and they've probably learned something now.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2014, 09:35:20 AM »
How will children learn to appreciate classical music? By listening to it at home, perhaps? Disney's Fantasia is also a good start.

I think people ask too much of a child to expect them to sit through a three hour concert.

Asking a child to sit through a 3 hour concert without any training is too much.  Thats why you start with short events and work your way up to longer ones. 

Twik

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2014, 09:40:02 AM »
There probably was a more kindly way to shush the boys, who are young and inexperienced enough not to quite have their special-event manners down. However, I can empathize with your exaggeration, and it would have taken me a great deal of self-control to muster the smile+finger-to-lips motion that would have gone over better. You were a bit harsh, but understandably so. This harshness allowed them to ignore your reasonable request and in fact to blame you for their own feelings of shame and embarrassment. Their mom missed a good opportunity to teach them how to distinguish the message from the emotions of the messenger.

Children are learning social cues, and do not always pick up on things like "smile+fingers-to-lips". Honestly, I cannot see how "you are too loud" is in any way harsh (assuming that they were doing more than sitting quietly and breathing).
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artk2002

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2014, 01:49:02 PM »
How will children learn to appreciate classical music? By listening to it at home, perhaps? Disney's Fantasia is also a good start.

I think people ask too much of a child to expect them to sit through a three hour concert.

You teach them, starting at home. You go to children's events where they need to sit, but a little disruption isn't a problem. You graduate to more and more serious things as they show that they can handle it. You don't just drag them to a 3-hour classical concert (or any concert, other than the Wiggles) without preparation.

It's just like teaching them any other social skill. You let them practice that skill where failure won't cause problems. You reward good work and back off when things don't work right. You don't go straight from mac-n-cheese at home to Pyura in a restaurant in one go.

Nobody here is saying that people have to keep kids home until they are perfectly behaved (at least, I'm not), but you have to match the child to the event with some care.
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artk2002

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2014, 01:50:56 PM »
There probably was a more kindly way to shush the boys, who are young and inexperienced enough not to quite have their special-event manners down. However, I can empathize with your exaggeration, and it would have taken me a great deal of self-control to muster the smile+finger-to-lips motion that would have gone over better. You were a bit harsh, but understandably so. This harshness allowed them to ignore your reasonable request and in fact to blame you for their own feelings of shame and embarrassment. Their mom missed a good opportunity to teach them how to distinguish the message from the emotions of the messenger.

Children are learning social cues, and do not always pick up on things like "smile+fingers-to-lips". Honestly, I cannot see how "you are too loud" is in any way harsh (assuming that they were doing more than sitting quietly and breathing).

I agree with this. Another poster commented that the OP should have done it once, but if it didn't work the first time, a repeat was warranted. The children won't learn good social behavior if there aren't consequences for misbehaving. A "you're too loud" is a very mild consequence. If they're so delicate that that causes problems, then the parents really have a big job cut out for them.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2014, 01:53:14 PM »
I would bet that that woman's harping on the interaction will probably have more negative impact than the actual exchange between OP and kids.

So often, the grownups complain so much afterward, they completely color the kids' perfection of the event. Or, the kids are OK w/ the event, but they dread listening to their grownups complaining afterward.


Zizi-K

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2014, 02:31:50 PM »
There probably was a more kindly way to shush the boys, who are young and inexperienced enough not to quite have their special-event manners down. However, I can empathize with your exaggeration, and it would have taken me a great deal of self-control to muster the smile+finger-to-lips motion that would have gone over better. You were a bit harsh, but understandably so. This harshness allowed them to ignore your reasonable request and in fact to blame you for their own feelings of shame and embarrassment. Their mom missed a good opportunity to teach them how to distinguish the message from the emotions of the messenger.

Children are learning social cues, and do not always pick up on things like "smile+fingers-to-lips". Honestly, I cannot see how "you are too loud" is in any way harsh (assuming that they were doing more than sitting quietly and breathing).

I agree with this. Another poster commented that the OP should have done it once, but if it didn't work the first time, a repeat was warranted. The children won't learn good social behavior if there aren't consequences for misbehaving. A "you're too loud" is a very mild consequence. If they're so delicate that that causes problems, then the parents really have a big job cut out for them.

There's no way children of 8 and 10 years old don't know what the "shush" sign is. Their teachers have been doing it to them for years.

But I'm not saying that the OP was wrong in how she handled the situation. What I am suggesting is that you get more flies with honey than vinegar, and it would likely have been more effective to *ask* them to be quiet in a friendly way instead of rebuking them. Yes, the kids were in the wrong and shouldn't have been talking. Yes, their parent or aunt should have been paying more attention. And yes, I know what it's like to be annoyed with something, not say anything for awhile and have it build up, and then be *really* annoyed when I finally do say something. However, the whole experience would have been more positive all around if the sentiment could have been framed as a request rather than as a chastisement. It is highly possible that these kids have not been taught proper manners, in which case I don't fault them but their parents, and their aunt for lack of supervision.

Xandraea

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2014, 03:40:53 PM »

I would question whether she was even accurate about whether the boys' experience was ruined.

But of course, if she is annoyed and takes that out on DD, then you may have an issue. I'd just be alert.

One thing I sometimes do is, when the musical piece is over, give the former talkers a friendly smile. and maybe make a comment ("beautiful, wasn't it? So fascinating to hear and watch the two pianos interacting!") that has nothing to do with the noise thing. Just to show there are no hard feelings, -and- to show that I'm not the boss of them (i.e., I don't compliment them on finally behaving properly, etc.).

Toots, this is fantastic! It shows the kids you're pleased with their behavior without calling them out by bringing it up again, and you're speaking to them about the performance, as you might with any other (adult) guest there.

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Absolutely unbelievable.  People wonder why some of us avoid families and family activities like the black death - this is a shining example of why we do.  I go to movies in the daytime, midweek, first show, two weeks or more after first release, request no seating by families in every situation when it's possible and patronize absolutely no place where "Kids eat free".  This is why many of us act this way.  Parents are very different than they used to be and not in a good way.

Edited to add:  These caregivers missed a prime opportunity to instruct these boys on how an invited guest behaves. As a guest there are certain expectations of your behavior on the host's part.  If you're not a good guest you will stop being invited to things, if you're a good guest and meet your responsibilities then all sorts of new experiences can open up to you.  It's all so simple to teach and these caregivers failed their children horribly.  Social negligence is my term for it.

Wow, I'm not really sure what to say to this entire post except that's an awfully broad brush you are painting 'all parents' with.

I can't find the part where Rosewater says "all parents." I agree with her post, and although I absolutely agree that it's not "all parents" it's enough parents to infiltrate any reasonably sized public gathering that includes children. Only takes one in a crowd, in fact, and there usually is at least one.

I too felt the broad brush and was quite uncomfortable with Rosewater's post. If you prefer to stay away from activities where there's a chance a child may be there, that is your choice to make, but it's making a big assumption that all kids will (mis)behave a particular way, and that all parents have done nothing to teach their kids otherwise. As a single parent of a child who has accompanied me pretty much everywhere since birth, including full cross-country flights, "kids eat free" restaurants, church services, book clubs, weddings, funerals, movies, casual in-home parties which were mostly adults, large extended-family fancy-dress Christmas dinners, ballroom dance showcases, story-tellers and theatre (live performances), I am proud to have exposed her to many different situations and taught her to behave appropriately in each one. She is a delight to take anywhere, and we've been complimented often by people like Toots that take the time to say something positive. As PPs have said, it's about the parent/caregiver knowing their own child, taking them to places the child can handle, and teaching them how to behave appropriately.

There is no age-limit on inappropriate behavior, as this entire site will show. A teen at a band concert on her way to sit with friends is hijacked by two grown women (she knows) who sit her between them, and talk at her throughout the remainder of the concert. Teenager is uncomfortable, knows the women are rude, is irritated that they're talking at her while she's trying to enjoy the concert. Sadly, nobody nearby told these women to shut up and save the talking for the reception after the concert designed for conversation. (The women weren't invited to this event, which is a whole other post.)

OP, I join many others in agreeing you weren't rude. Clearly someone had to say something to the boys, you did, they listened and were quiet for the remainder of the performance (So what you said was effective!). Their adult was the one who had issues, scolding you for being the one who said something when the whispering was disturbing many people. You were the easy target, when as PP have said, the woman probably realized she had failed by not correcting the boys herself. She was probably embarrassed and thought by projecting her embarrassment onto the boys, she could make you feel guilty.

Venus193

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2014, 04:14:02 PM »
I totally agree with Art and with Xandraea's last post. 

jazzgirl205

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2014, 07:41:50 PM »
Yes, there were children's "family friendly" symphony concerts and I took dd to two of them when she was 5.  Apparently the term "family friendly" gives families permission to dress appallingly and run wild.  Seriously, it was like debtors' prison with a symphony.

I started taking dd to the evening performances.  In addition to musical exposure, she learned about formalwear, intermission small talk, and how to conduct oneself during such occasions.  Maybe she took to it because she genuinely liked the music or because she was used to attending Catholic and Greek Orthodox services.  Just to be on the safe side, I bought her a rhinestone ladies' tiara that she was only allowed to wear to the symphony and if she misbehaved, I would take it away (other season tickets holders referred to her as "the little princess")  I never had a problem with dd misbehaving at a symphony. 

Little kids also get excited if you buy them the cd of a piece they particularly liked.


OP, it might interest the woman who behaved so rudely towards you to know that many professional performing arts organizations now have a rule that no child under the age of TWELVE be allowed to attend, citing potential disruptions to other audience members and the performers. I really don't agree with this; how will children learn an appreciation for classical music (and how to behave at a concert!) unless they are allowed to attend? Of course, that's not to say that I advocate taking a two-year-old to a five-hour opera! But there are concerts geared to all ages and levels.

I agree with you. The symphony near me has several kids' concerts per year where they play music they think will be of particular interest to kids, and which are more interactive than the usual "sit silently for two hours" thing and so might be a good transition, of sorts, into learning how to behave at concerts. I think there are a lot of adults who don't go to classical concerts because they think the music or the etiquette or both are intimidating, and becoming familiar with them while still young seems a good way to counter this. And of course the particular kids in the OP should have been quiet, and they've probably learned something now.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2014, 09:34:31 PM »
As a formerly child-free then suddenly parent of a 6 year old, I feel I have to address this on many levels.

I did not feel the "all parents" brush from Rosewater.  I completely understand her frustration.  That is, in part, why I refuse to allow Six to behave inappropriately in public.  She can quietly sit through any movie at the theater regardless of its content.  She has been "trained" to do so, therefore I do not think it is too much to ask that she would do that for any other performance.  The moment a single "shh" didn't work, I would take her out of the area in which she may be disturbing someone.  It is not anyone else's fault that I underestimated her ability to behave as would be appropriate for the setting.

I, too, would, if I found myself running into the children during the intermission, compliment them on following my instruction.  It wouldn't come across as that, nor would it seem like a lecture.  I would let them know that I understand sometimes they get carried away, but that the time to do so is not during the performance.  It also certainly would not come across as my correcting the parents.  My tone and demeanor would translate that well.  It would be something like a simple, "Thank you for being quiet after I asked.  I know it can get really exciting but you did a great job after I reminded you that other people are trying to enjoy it, too."  I would be talking directly to the children, with a smile to the adults.  I understand that this may appear to be stepping over the line, but I do think it is an instance in which it is necessary.  I know I have sometimes welcomed another adult backing me up because, after all, even at six, mother doesn't know best and someone else backing her up is all it takes to make it sink in.
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Thipu1

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2014, 11:58:33 AM »
I agree that the OP did nothing wrong.  It was the adult with the children who was extremely rude. 

These days, it's easy enough to get copies of almost any piece of music, play it at home several times, and discuss it with children before attending the performance.  That way, they'd know when it's appropriate to applaud and that silence should reign while the music is actually playing. These children just didn't realize that they were disturbing others.  Now, they've learned.   

Even fairly knowledgable adults can applaud at inappropriate times if the piece is unfamiliar.  That would be a minor gaffe in my book.  The constant comment is what would spoil the performance for me. That is what the adults with the children should have squelched immediately after the first outburst.

I think almost everybody at musical performances has had someone turn around because of a sniffle, a sneeze,the rustling of a program or a cough.  Better these boys learn about this at their first concert.         

Aquamarine

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Re: Incident at the classical music concert - was I bad?
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2014, 01:44:54 PM »
How will children learn to appreciate classical music? By listening to it at home, perhaps? Disney's Fantasia is also a good start.

I think people ask too much of a child to expect them to sit through a three hour concert.


I probably will get flamed/dog piled for this but in regards to the bolded:

I don't care how kids learns about classical music, this isn't my problem, it's the parents responsibility to seek out age appropriate venues for exposure, not mine to put up with disruptions.  *You* don't get to ruin my enjoyment of a concert just because *you* want to expose *your* children to it.

If kids are creating a disturbance they should immediately be removed from the concert by management.  Tolerating kids bad behavior by management is doing little more than turning off the very people who have the time, money and appreciation to attend.

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