What would happen to an orchestra if the conductor wasn’t there – could the musicians cope by themselves? Students will discover in these music lesson plans.

You can show the students the basic beat patterns for conducting, and have them practice using pencils or drinking straws as a baton You can play a game where you’ll have one student conduct a pattern and the others have to identify it Dont forget to show the students the beat patterns at different tempi (fast, medium and slow).

Dynamics are indicated by the size of the conducting gestures: large gestures = loud, small gestures = soft. 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. Demonstrate these articulations and give students a chance to practice them.

Conductors also do a lot to convey the mood or emotion in the music. Have one student conduct and attempt to convey an emotion (e.g., energetic, gloomy, progressive, triumphant, loving, etc.) while conducting a beat pattern. Have the students guess what emotion is being played.

Listen to pieces of 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 large variety of music.

Watch a video of a conductor conducting an orchestra. Can the students recognize particular beat patterns and techniques for dynamics, articulation, and expression? Can students identify the various orchestral families and instruments?