Introduction to the orchestra

Course Dates: 14/09/20 - 19/10/20
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Online
Pauline Greene

What’s an orchestra? And why does it need a conductor? We’ll examine orchestral instruments and many works to answer these questions, discovering a blend of exciting sounds which communicates the composer’s intentions to the audience.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
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?

This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (google meets) and 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: MD663 Introduction to contemporary 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.


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Whatever your musical background, you'll love it.
Course Rating
Review by Maggie / (Posted on 24/10/2018)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

This course has now started

Course Code: MD029

Started Mon, day, 14 Sep - 19 Oct '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £103.00
Concession: £79.00

Call us to check if you can still join the course 020 7492 2630 (depart num)

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