An Introduction to the Orchestra

Ref: C2224448

The orchestra started from humble beginnings and has evolved as one of the most complex of musical organisations. The course attempts to explain and demystify what happens when and audience is faced with this musical ensemble- who does what? why do they do it? what are the politics involved? how has repertoire changed and with it the orchestra? current challenges to professional and non professional orchestras. The course is lead by an experienced orchestral conductor who can bring to the lectures a wealth of first-hand knowledge.

Course aim

To study how the orchestra has grown as an institution from Italian baroque to present day, and to examine the key roles (e.g. leader, conductor)

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • An interest in classical music

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain how the modern orchestra has evolved
  • Outline the various roles in the orchestra
  • Recognise how the development of instrument technology has led to changes in repertoire and orchestral composition
  • Explain the role of the conductor

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

An Introduction to the Orchestra


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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