Can You Name All the Instruments of the Orchestra?
Updated: Mar 20
If not, Benjamin Britton's " Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" is for you, whether or not you are a young person. Like many adults, you are not alone if you can't name all the instruments of the orchestra. What better way to learn about musical instruments than attend a live performance!
Yesterday at 3 pm, the Marin Symphony performed a Family Concert at the Marin Civic Center. The Finale was a narration by David Latulippe of Benjamin Britton's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." This intergenerational family event reminds me of when I escorted assisted living community elders to the San Francisco Symphony and SF Public Library Opera films, accompanied by live symphonic performances. It was a high point of the year for the elders who attended the live performances.
After attending a live performance of Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, or if you can't visit a live performance, you can practice identifying musical instruments played in an orchestra by viewing a performance narrated on YouTube, such as the following:
New Jersey Symphony, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbUbx9cJPX0
Royal Philharmonic presents Young People's Guide to the Orchestra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hFFIrKZdSY
Young Persons Gude To the Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas Conducting,
Next, identify the instruments without subtitles or narration:guides:
WDR Symphony Orchestra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vbvhU22uAM
Simon Rattle, https://youtu.be/Ku3TRcjLpyY
More Activities based on Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Oregon Symphony: "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra: Young People's Concert Teacher's Guide: Grades 3-8," https://www.orsymphony.org/globalassets/media/education/1920/edu-006_ypc_1920_teachersguide.pdf
Atlanta Symphony: A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, https://www.aso.org/assets/doc/ASO_Study-Guide_Young-Persons-Guide-Orchestra_Landscape_2018-19-24db76884b.pdf
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Teacher Resource Book Prepared by Maxine Antolli, https://www.tso.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/03-TSO-Young-Persons-Guide-Resource-Booklet-.pdf
Erie Philharmonic, A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55d8f9bce4b0dd59bc970945/t/5bce26f0c83025cfa281972b/1540237046384/BrittenCurriculumUpload.pdf
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 2018 - 2019 Midweek Concerts Teacher's Activity Guide: A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/umb-media-library/media/1162582/complete-young-persons-guide-teacher-guide.pdf
St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, https://www.slso.org/globalassets/education/concerts/2022-2023/young-peoples-guide/young-persons-guide-to-the-orchestra-teacher-guide-final.pdf
Are you interested in a specific instrument's sound in different compositions? If so, for sample trumpet sounds, view: https://www.trumpetexcerpts.org/young-persons-guide-to-the-orchestra.html
Wouldn't it make sense to create an "Intergenerational Guide to the Orchestra" or "Young Person at Heart's Guide to the Orchestra?"