These are all ideas that students can use to learn about the conductor in the orchestra. There is a complete lesson plan on this subject in Our Printable Music Lesson Plans Series.
What would happen to an orchestra if the conductor wasn’t there – could the musicians cope by themselves? Students will discover in this music lesson.
You can show the students the basic beat patterns for conducting, and have them practice using pencils or drinking straws as a baton Select individual students to choose a pattern, conduct it, and have the other students identify it. Practice the beat patterns at different tempos (slow, medium, and fast).
The size of the conducting gestures indicates dynamics (volume): large gestures = forte, small gestures = piano. Conduct a beat pattern and have students count the beats out loud; ask them to get louder and softer as you change the size of your gestures.
Articulation is also indicated by the conductor. Sharp gestures indicate staccato while smooth gestures indicate legato. Show the students these articulations and give students a chance to have a go at them.
Conductors also do a lot to convey the mood or emotion in the music. Ask selected students to convey a particular emotion (e.g., happy, sad, angry, triumphant, tender, etc.) while conducting a beat pattern. Have the students guess what emotion is being played.
Have the students listen to some music and have students conduct along with them. Folk songs or other familiar tunes could be a good place to start. To practice two beat in bar time, use a march; for triple time, use a waltz; for four beat time, use any of a huge variety of music.
Watch a video of a conductor conducting an orchestra. Ask them if they can see the beat patterns and techniques for expression, dynamics and articulation? Have the students identify the various Orchestral instruments and families