Introduction to the orchestra
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
This course is for music-lovers who want to learn more about the instruments and the make-up of orchestras they hear or see playing classical music in different situations. Orchestras can be small or large, playing music on their own, accompanying a soloist, or playing for opera or ballet. The number of instruments can vary, as well as which instruments are present, often depending on historical practice. The rôle of the conductor has also evolved, and we consider their function and ask whether the orchestra could actually manage without them.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The names, sounds and ranges of standard orchestral instruments
- The make-up of a typical orchestra over various historical periods
- The changing rôle of the conductor
- How a composer uses the orchestra.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Name and identify by sound the main orchestral instrumental groups (woodwind, brass, percussion and strings)
- Understand the process a composer uses to decide on the choice of instruments for a piece
- Understand the rôle of the conductor.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a beginners’ course. No prior knowledge of music is assumed but you should have an interest in music and be keen to find out more. You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
- You may wish to buy some of the music, books or DVDs recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
We recommend: MD027 Introduction to contemporary classical music
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Pauline Greene studied composition at Nottingham University and then composed, performed and was Musical Director with various theatre companies. She taught flute and composition, performing her music across the UK at various venues, including the Southbank Centre and the Edinburgh Festival, with her group The Concert Party, which she managed and directed. She has taught at the Universities of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and ran the Music Access course at Morley College. She has taught at Birkbeck since 1984, moving from Music to Arts Management, and also lectures at Goldsmiths. She has given talks at the Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall and Glyndebourne. At City Lit Pauline teaches a wide range of music history courses, with specialisms in opera, music for dance, theatre and film, musical analysis, and music since 1900. She is still involved in the organisation of small-scale charity concerts and one-off musical events, and she sings and plays with several small groups.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.