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When do I clap at the concert hall?

Clapping etiquette at the concert hall

· French Etiquette

You may be familiar with clapping in social circumstances or in daily life. However, have you ever thought about or felt confused with clapping at a concert hall?

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Clapping is a natural human language to show appreciation in front of something, but at the concert hall, there are moments when it is more appropriate to applause than others... Let's see when!

At a classical concert

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“Silence is gold” during a classical concert. The truth is it’s just half correct. Clapping at the right time could show great respect to musicians and their performances. 

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Chinese pianist Lang Lang at the end of a concert in Switzerland in 2018

Here are several situations that you are able to make an applause during a classical concert:

  • Applaud when the conductor first appears on stage to begin the concert
  • Applaud at the end of each piece
  • Applaud when the conductor re-appears on stage to begin another piece
  • Applaud at the very end of the concert

During jazz performances

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Jazz is usually performed at private and intimate venues where it is more casual to clap in the following situations:

  • Applaud when performers stand on the stage for the first time
  • Applaud at the first few bars of familiar tunes and the end of each tune
  • Applaud at the end of each performance
  • Applaud and exclaim after solo performance of each musician


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Ballet is considered to be an elegant and graceful show. Here is when to make an applause during such performances:

  • Applaud when a prime dancer makes his/her first appearance on the stage 
  • Applaud when dancers finished performing exquisite dance routines even if the music kept playing
  • Applaud between each section of dancing performance
  • Applaud at the end of pieces and performance

Operas & theaters

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There’s nothing better than going to a theater to enjoy the magic of operas for an evening. When to applaud during those marvelous theatrical performances?

  • Applaud when the curtains rises revealing the stage
  • Applaud when a famous actor/actress makes his/her first appearance on the stage
  • Applaud at the beginning of vocal performances of popular songs (especially musical theaters)
  • Applaud at the end of the performance

When the show is over

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Naturally, applause would last longer at the end of the show, accompanied by some cheering or shouts like “Bravooo!” or “Whooo!”

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There might be a standing ovation and you may stand to applaud if you the performance was outstanding and that you want to show special appreciation to the performers. 

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In French, there is also a phenomenon called “rappel”, which is when the performer is bowing in front of the audience and is ready to leave backstage, but the applause is not stopping, forcing the performers to come back to the stage and bow again - this can be repeated sometimes up to 3 or 4 times!

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Next time when you entered a concert hall, don’t be afraid to give a great performance a big round of applause!

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