Age Range: Elementary
Learning Objective: Students will learn about the job of a conductor.
ASK. “Ever wonder exactly what that person waving a stick in front of an orchestra is doing? That person is called a ‘conductor.’ Large groups of people need leaders to help them work together. A football team has a head coach. A classroom has a teacher. And an orchestra has a conductor. Have you ever wondered exactly what a conductor needs to do to help an orchestra play together? Today we will learn about the job of conducting an orchestra.”
WATCH. Watch conductor Sarah Hicks explain her job in this Class Notes video:
REVIEW. Review these main ideas:
Conductors help musicians start and stop together.
Conductors set the tempo, or speed, that everyone will play.
Conductors show the beat patterns.
Conductors show different musicians when to start playing with a cue, or a motion directed at them.
Conductors help musicians play the right dynamics, or volume.
Choose one or more of the following activities to extend learning.
CONDUCT. “When conductors see this in their music - 4/4 - they trace this pattern in the air:”
“Try tracing a 4/4 beat pattern in the air, saying each number when your finger reaches it in the pattern.” (Practice this with students.) “Now, try conducting along with this music in 4/4. Get ready to move fast!”
“When conductors see this in their music - 3/4 - they trace this pattern in the air:”
“Try tracing your finger along in the air with this pattern while saying ‘1, 2, 3.’ (Practice this with students.) “Now, try conducting along with this piece in 3/4!”
WATCH. Watch three famous conductors - Gustavo Dudamel, JoAnn Falletta, and William Eddins - and notice their individual style. Whose style do you like the best? Whose beat pattern is easiest to follow?
We can group instruments into four families: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Sing and play a game to learn the characteristics of each instrument family!
Making up music on the spot is called “improvisation.” Learn how musicians improvise and practice creating your own music in this hands-on lesson!
Explore the basic concept of musical harmony improvising to create simple harmonies using visual prompts! For elementary age students, but adaptable for all ages.
Music is full of patterns. Learn about the ABA pattern in music and use it to create your own composition!
How do musicians stick together without a conductor? Help students understand and practice ENSEMBLE SKILLS in this lesson.
No two voices sound exactly the same. But, all voices fall into a range. Learn about four main voice types: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass!
Opera is for everyone- including kids! Our host Victoria explains what opera is, then introduces you to three opera singers. Perfect for elementary ages.
In part two of our opera lessons, Victoria uses opera to tell two stories: one about lunch, and one about special events. Students will be able to compose their own aria at the end of the lesson.