General Knowledge Workshops: The Orchestra

1 day, 9:15 am - 4:00 pm

Degas: The Orchestra at the Opera

This workshop examines the instruments of the orchestra, how they work, how composers use them, and the sounds they can achieve. It will help developing musicians to understand the breadth and richness of classical music.
For high school students, aged 12 to 18

Course Outline

Session 1

  • Discussion: The Colour of Sound
  • What is a Symphony Orchestra?
  • Families of Instruments
  • The String Family
  • Violin, viola, cello, double bass
  • The harp and the lute

Session 2

  • The Woodwind Family
  • Flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
  • The saxophone and the recorder
  • A Brief History of the Orchestra
  • The Chamber Orchestra

Session 3

  • The Brass Family
  • Trumpet, trombone, tuba and horn
  • Other brass instruments
  • Orchestration: Arranging for Orchestra

Session 4

  • The Percussion Family
  • Tuned percussion instruments
  • Untuned percussion instruments
  • Conductors and Conducting
  • What conductors do
  • Summing up

Other Workshops

Full Day Workshops

Half Day Workshops

General information about the workshops


“This session was very engaging and interesting. Topics covered were very relevant and useful in understanding components of the orchestra other than our own instruments”

“This was a great course for those who want to learn the basics of instruments and conducting”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching piano for over twenty years, and her students learn both classical and contemporary styles, including playing by ear and improvisation. Susan also gives professional development workshops and lessons to private music teachers. She performs professionally as a pianist and organist, and lectures in music theory and music appreciation for Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education. Susan’s training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan is an Accredited Member of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan's qualifications

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