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Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra {Featured Site}

DIYHsr Featured Site

Years ago we took a trip through The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a book written by Anita Ganeri.  Based on a piece by Benjamin Britten, the book and accompanying CD provided a DK-type introduction to the orchestra, section by section.   Now the book and music are presented in a free and exciting online interactive!

Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra {Featured Site}

Benjamin Britten was asked to write The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in 1945 for an educational film about the different instruments of the symphony orchestra…. The music begins with an introduction to the four groups or families of orchestral instruments…: the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, and the percussion.  Britten then illustrates the sounds of the different groups in a set of thirteen variations on a piece of orchestral music by Henry Percell, a composer Britten greatly admired.  Each variation highlights the characteristics of particular instruments….  Once all the instruments have played individually, Britten brings them together, one by one, in a fugue that builds into a dramatic piece of music for the whole orchestra.

So, with this foundational idea in mind, let’s explore the site!

Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra {Featured Site}

First you are introduced to the premise of the game which is that the instruments of the orchestra have been scattered throughout the wilderness.  Uncle Ollie is trying to bring the instruments of the orchestra back together and enlists his niece Violet to help him.  To accomplish the mission she (and you) will need to know more about the orchestra and the role of each section.

The search begins in The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with a biography of Benjamin Britten.  Then Violet gets a call from Uncle Ollie asking her to bring the instruments from each section and meet him at an old stage he found in the jungle.  To accomplish this, Violet will have to learn more about those instruments.

Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra {Featured Site}

The book provides the starting point — by guiding the listener through the instruments in each section, via an interactive interface that allows you to hear the role the section plays in the music as a whole, and then listen to the sound each instrument in the section makes individually.

Your knowledge of which instruments belong in which family is immediately tested.  You’ll have to correctly choose four instruments from each group and unlock the door to the garage to use Uncle Ollie’s Safari Cruiser van — needed to start your safari trip.

Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra {Featured Site}

Once the van is secured you are off on a safari adventure, learning more about each instrument in the orchestra.  Something different is required to collect each instrument, geared to helping you learn more about that particular instrument. The book is always on hand to guide you.

Once you collect all of the instruments in a section you place their stickers on the orchestra seating chart.  And eventually you reach the stage.

You do not need to register, but by registering your game will be saved allowing you to start back in the same place.

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra provided by Carnegie Hall is a fun and exciting way for young people to listen and learn.  And an easy way for the DIY Homeschool Mom to include music appreciation in her schedule!

  • To help the information stick while building interest, go slowly covering one instrument or section at a time.  If you cover one section per week, you will finish the adventure in about one month.
  • Add a notebooking element, creating a page for each instrument.

Additional Resources

“Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”
Listen to the original.

THe Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Anita Ganeri
The original book for those interested.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
Simple paper for creating a notebooking page for each instrument with room to illustrate at the top.

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