Jaani Länsiö

First time at a Musiikkitalo concert?

I’d like to go, but I am worried about the etiquette. Don’t worry! We have answers for your FAQ and feedback.

Dress Code

What to wear to MUSIIKKITALO? 

We’re glad you asked because the Musiikkitalo´s Concert Hall colour and atmosphere are inspired by the Finnish sauna. But have no fear. The Centre’s dress code is much more liberal than the sauna’s.

It is enough if you own a pair of trousers and shoes and a top. All else is up to you: many prefer hoodies, t-shirts, college shirts or knit garments, shorts, capris, jeans or—why not?—harem pants. Wear a tie if it feels alright. Suits or dresses won’t stand out negatively. Seasonal colours do not matter, nor does the Musiikkitalo care about fashion or etiquette religiously. If etiquette were of importance, we would say so well in advance.

What if I’m coming straight from work?

Many do, but you must be referring to odours produced by physical labour. If you break a sweat at work, can't shower before coming and are not willing to buy 10 seats, just wear light deodorant. It is known that Marilyn Monroe occasionally wore nothing but perfume, but she didn’t have thousands of allergic concert visitors around her. 

Can I wear an overcoat? 

Outdoor clothing and large luggage are not allowed in the halls. You can leave them with the secure and charged cloakroom service, which is located in the main lobby on the third floor. This has nothing to do with fashion but fire and exit safety laws and regulations.

Start Time

What if I’m late?

Normally, the concerts begin exactly as is stated on the concert tickets. The hall doors will open 20 minutes before the start, and we recommend that you arrive early to get your money’s worth. If you can’t make it on time, you can enter during intermission. Some concert hosts will allow entrance also during applause but not in the middle of a performance. 



The concerts seem pretty long. How about food?

Concerts usually take two hours like movies, but they often include an intermission. You can purchase food and wine in the foyer and do so by booking service in advance, but you can also stop by a grill before the concert, if necessary. As with strong perfumes, do consider the people in your immediate surroundings if you are a friend of garlic or other strong flavours. Consuming any food or drinks in the concert hall is forbidden with the exception of cough mints.

Concert intermissions are, almost without exception, always 20 minutes, and a sound signal will signify the performance’s continuation. You should head back by the third sound signal.


Afraid of a cough attack?

Imagine the most beautiful painting in the world. Imagine the painter and the hours of effort, planning and thinking used for each colour, detail and stroke. Imagine that a hundred people have worked on the painting and are right now working in front of a thousand to make it as beautiful as possible. Then imagine a big ball of chewing gum hit that piece of beautiful, real-time artwork right in the middle.


Concert music is sometimes so quiet and intricate that one’s ears have to make a real effort to hear everything. The ears even have to order the eyes shut in order to focus all of the energy on hearing. A heartfelt COUGH! in the middle of a sensitive moment is for the ears what a speed bump is for a sports car.


How about trying to not cough for an entire piece? Sure, we can’t always help our coughs, but we can always take a mint or use a sleeve as a muffler. Truthfully, coughing has been made a bigger problem than it is, and like with stuck gum, no one has yet ruined an entire concert by coughing.


What if I’m expecting an important call?

Coughing can be controlled, but if your phone is not on silent, it can ring at any minute and certainly reach every set of ears in the acoustically sensitive hall. The musicians are solid professionals and can play through a lot of noise, but the audience will certainly be distracted, as with loudly flipping through the leaflet or talking.


Other downers for your fellow visitors are tweeting, reading e-mails and taking photos or otherwise recording the concert, which is, in any case, forbidden unless the concert host specifically asks for such audience participation. 

Therefore, we recommend that you shut yourself out of the outside world for the duration of the concert.

In other words, enjoy and let enjoy!




When do I clap, and must I?

The first question requires an explanation, and the second one is easy. You do not need to. Do, however, consider twice before refusing. Clapping is a very natural way of showing acclaim; even babies know this. At ancient theatres, applause signalled the end of a performance and the start of an opportunity to thank the staff.

By clapping your hands, you take part in a thousand-year-old ritual, which was used already by the Roman emperors to measure their popularity. The intensity of clapping was thought to signal how much the citizens were offered in terms of food and entertainment and that the emperor had not exceeded his credit limit. Even if many conductors have the mannerisms of an emperor, concert applause is only indirectly connected to the Roman Empire.


As far as when clapping is favourable, concerts are quite conservative and have been following a certain pattern for a few centuries. In general, the audience takes part in pacing the concert through applause. The responsibility is large as the concert’s atmosphere depends on the audience.


When the orchestra enters the stage and tunes its instruments, the audience welcomes them by clapping. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, glad you’re here for us!” The conductor and soloist are VIP guests, so do not be surprised if the audience claps twice as hard for them. The orchestra also greets its guests, but it does so by standing up. Simple.


Pieces with several parts, such as concertos and symphonies, generally receive applause only after all pieces are performed. This was not the case in the 16th century when the court might have started dancing to the symphony, which is currently not possible due to raked or tiered seating and seat placement. Interrupting symphonic pieces by stomping your feet or clapping is generally not accepted. If you feel uncertain, wait for the audience’s reaction before clapping. If the conductor has sheet music in front of him, it is quite easy to see when the pages run out. It is then when the piece is certainly over and the time for applause is right.


Please note that it is customary to applaud every piece, even if lazily, no matter how terrible it was. Your message will be picked up. Reciprocally stomping your feet, standing up, shouting “Bravo!” and whistling wildly are considered encouraging gestures, like remote pats on the back, liking on Facebook or re-tweeting. Spare none of these gestures!


An excellent way of giving individual feedback is through the Musiikkitalo’s social media.


We hope that you have a good time at the concert!