Cell Phones and Cash Flow


There is nothing more annoying than hearing a cell phone ring during a quiet part of an orchestra concert. The noise disrupts the music, musicians, and the ticket buyers. But can there be a way for orchestras to profit off of this annoyance? Sure:

  1. Have a cell phone check. Like a coat check, a few bucks to insure that you wouldn’t be the fool that left the cell phone on would be well worth it. If there was worry about missing a message, perhaps a quick check at intermission. If one was worried they’d leave their cell phone at the cell phone check after the concert, then they could refer to #2.
  2. Keep your cell phone but sign an agreement that if the phone goes off, you will give an obligatory donation. Perhaps $100 is a good place to start. Maybe you could pre-pay for the whole season just to cover your bases!

I jest, kind of. But the cell phones ringing at concerts are causing many people a kind of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.) Almost as soon as a quiet section of music starts, many musicians and some audience start wondering when the sublime moment will be ruined.

Similar to passengers ignoring flight attendants giving the safety demonstrations on air planes, people at concerts tune out the preconcert reminders about turning off a cell phone. How many times or ways can one politely remind an audience (or musicians on stage-you know who you are!) that cell phones need to be off?

A fee based “penalty” or cell phone check would certainly generate some cash flow and make people think twice. Now, how to fix the coughing epidemic…

About Holly Mulcahy

After hearing Scheherazade at an early age, Holly Mulcahy fell in love with the violin and knew it would be her future. She currently serves as concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. She spends her summers at the celebrated Grand Teton Music Festival. Believing in music as a healing and coping source, Holly founded Arts Capacity, a charitable 501(c)3 which focuses on bringing live chamber music, art, artists, and composers to prisons. Arts Capacity addresses many emotional and character-building issues people face as they prepare for release into society. Holly performs on a 1917 Giovanni Cavani violin, previously owned by the late renowned soloist Eugene Fodor, and a bespoke bow made by award winning master bow maker, Douglas Raguse.

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1 thought on “Cell Phones and Cash Flow”

  1. Ah, I agree. I just thought of this article as we were finishing “La Boheme” in Huntsville this last weekend, right when Mimi dies, and there’s like the only 3 bars of silence in the entire opera…wouldn’t you know it: *ring *ring *ring!

    I was thinking of developing an app that would automatically send a smartphone into airplane if mode if it met two conditions:
    1) GPS location of the phone was at the concert hall location.
    2) The time was between the concert times (i.e. 7:30-9:00)

    Of course not everybody has a smart phones, so there’s the inherent flaw. Maybe in a few years that will be a reality, then I’ll create it. Otherwise, I do like the cell phone signal jammer idea too.


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Cell Phones and Cash Flow

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