Background Information

The aim of lesson 11 is to introduce the role of the Conductor in an Orchestra. The Conductor is one of the most important people in an orchestra as he helps the musicians keep in time with the music. He also keeps musicians informed as to whether the music is loud or quiet. He stands at the front of the orchestra on a raised stand, so that everyone can see him, and waves his conducting baton/stick to keep in time with the music – as learned in lesson 7, Voyage to the Moon is in three beats. In Voyage to the Moon, he is introduced as Commodore the Conductor – in the navy, a commodore leads the men and that is what the conductor does with his musicians. This lesson will further the concept of counting and rhythm, whilst also focusing on moving safely in a space and handling the baton. It is a good idea to explain to the children that if the conductor is absent, the music will not sound nice as everyone will be playing out of time – when a new instrument is about to be played, the conductor reminds him when to start playing.

You can also introduce the idea of health and safety – the conductor stands up for the duration of a piece of music so that he can remain seen. This can be a very tiring job, especially if the music is very long. Therefore the conductor must have lots of energy. You can test the class on how they would give themselves lots of energy. (Answers can be eat lots, sleep, drink water etc.) The video for lesson 11 will demonstrate how to hold the conductor baton and how to move to keep in time to the Voyage to the Moon song – the teacher should practice learning this so that it can be replicated in class. It can be made fun and exciting, as shown on the video, but you have to ensure the children stand a good distance from each other to avoid accidents. Ask the class about different types of non-musical conductors – people who give instructions to keep things in order. These could be policemen, teachers, army general, monarchy etc.

The conductor also tells the musicians when to play loud and soft and he does this with how much strength his arms move. This is shown in the video. Within the lesson it has been turned into a practical activity, where children can build on their confidence and concentration by being called up and asked to become the conductor, and the rest of the class must listen and respond to their actions.