Maybe it's my fear/dislike of being in the spotlight and general low self esteem lol but I would find it really uncomfortable if people clapped every time after I'd finish playing a piece (as in playing solo piano).

You know there's that 'etiquette' thing where people feel they need to clap after every single piece that's played (as I've seen in some videos and seeing live gigs), that would feel a bit awkward for me, I don't know.

Clapping feels kind of unnatural and too formal, I prefer more casual settings like rock gigs where people just enjoy the music and express it any way they want or in no way at all and just continue chatting with their friends/drinking etc between songs.

Is this just me being weird or does anyone else feel this way?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Richard, MattPutnam, Doktor Mayhem Sep 26 '17 at 17:43

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • If in relation to classical music you have to thank the formality applause (like those people who say good morning to fulfill...) in folk, traditional and rock music (even jazz) I have to endure other things many times worse... – hexadecimal Sep 22 '17 at 0:14
  • [not sure if this is how to reply - new here, sorry] It's both classical and also a lot of other kinds of music...sometimes it seems to depend on the venue? Like if you're playing a bar obviously it's more casual which I prefer. I'm curious on the worse things you mentioned... :) – user44261 Sep 22 '17 at 0:24
  • For example we must be attentive to possible thefts of our material – hexadecimal Sep 22 '17 at 0:45
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    If you think that's weird, wait until someone comes up to you after a performance that you know was second-rate to tell you how amazing and talented you are. As Laurence indicates in his answer, the best response to such appreciation of your art, regardless of how good or bad you think it is, is to simply say "thank you". – Todd Wilcox Sep 22 '17 at 1:44
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    And learn to tell a standing ovation from everyone getting up to leave! A basic rule of performance is 'The audience aren't buying what you think you're selling'. Even the most staid classical recital is showbiz. They very often don't notice our 'disasters'. But they might really like the suit you're wearing! I was playing piano at a musical house party the other week. After I'd accompanied a string of singers, a guy sat down and fumbled his way through a Chopin Waltz. And I MEAN fumbled. Fluffs and hesitations in just about every bar. He was the star of the evening. – Laurence Payne Sep 22 '17 at 10:23

It's not weird, and it's not uncommon. But, as a performer, you have to deal with it, and learn to accept applause graciously when it's offered.


For most audiences, it's the best way to show their appreciation of your efforts. The very best is that stunned silence for a few seconds just before the deafening applause, while the audience gets its breath back from listening to something fabulous. You. If there was no reaction, would that make you feel better?


You'd feel far more uncomfortable if people started throwing things before you'd even finished playing!

If people enjoy what you do then the accepted method of expressing that is clapping. Unless it's a really intimate performance space they're very unlikely to get the chance to come up and thank you individually, so clapping is the easiest and most common route. If people are cheering, whooping and showering you with money, you really don't need advice from me or anyone here.

If you're going to continue to perform in public you need to get more comfortable with applause and with praise, just as much as you need to get used to criticism and unsatisfactory performances.

You will, and all of us probably should, always feel you could have performed better, that you missed that note or messed up that phrase or played that section far better in practice ... but that's what drives you to improve as a player and a performer, and the vast majority of the audience almost certainly won't even have noticed what you might regard as a performance-ruining fault.

There are some really good resources out there to help you get more comfortable. For me it was a combination of Barry Green's book 'The Inner Game of Music' and the incredibly supportive group of people I did my early public playing with, as a result of which I would never claim to be the world's best musician but I am at least comfortable playing in public and actually quite enjoy the excitement and nervous buzz of doing so.

That particular book and that particular situation may not work for you, but something probably will and I'd suggest you spend a bit of time finding what does work for you.

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