A Lesson Plan about the classical orchestra

Learning about a Symphony Orchestra in Music Class? Here are a few ideas to use

You can arrange the classroom like an orchestra. Place instrument name cards on the the students desks, or affix name stickers to individual students. Allow students to be different instruments on different days.

Have a class discussion about the similarities and differences between different musical groups. What do Rock Bands and Symphony Orchestras have in common?

Discuss the relationship between the traditional sections of the orchestra and the Hornbostel-Sachs instrument classifications. (Strings are chordophones; woodwinds and brass are aerophones; some percussion instruments are membranophones, others are idiophones.)

Here is an idea for a Long-term assignment: construct an instrument that demonstrates two or more of the Hornbostel-Sachs categories.

Make the connection between vibration and sound. How do the different types of instruments create vibrations?

An excellent listening activity is to listen to Benjamin Britten’s Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra A great activity is to have certain students stand up or do actions when their particular instrument or instrument family is heard This is a relatively lengthy composition (over 17 minutes) so you may want to do different sections on different days.

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