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Listed under:  Arts  >  Music  >  Music styles  >  Instrumental music  >  Orchestral music
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There's more to it than waving your hands about

Orchestra conductors have a tough job. They must do many complicated things at once to get the best possible performance from the musicians. Join Natasha Thiele from Behind the News as she meets a conductor, learns a little about his job, and has a go at conducting a very enthusiastic orchestra.

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Sounding brass and tinkling cymbals in Box Hill

Have you ever heard a brass band play? Listen to members of a Victorian brass band, the Box Hill City Band, discuss the rewards and challenges of playing in one of Australia's oldest brass bands.

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How do people make sounds on musical instruments?

Do you like music? There are lots of different sorts of music and plenty of instruments to play it on. In this clip, watch and listen as an orchestra of young people perform well-known pieces of music. See if you can identify any of the instruments being played.


Melbourne Chinese Orchestra Selections, 1931

This black-and-white clip shows part of a traditional Chinese musical performance on stage by eight members of the Melbourne Chinese Orchestra in 1931. The clip begins with a caption reading: 'SELECTIONS / Melbourne Chinese Orchestra', shown on the closed stage curtain. The music begins at the same time and then the curtain ...


The Young One, 1995: What is a conductor?

This clip shows an orchestra playing and Simone Young conducting a rehearsal of the opera by Richard Wagner, 'Tristan and Isolde'. The whole orchestra is filmed from above and some individual players are shown in close-up. Simone Young instructs the orchestra, who in turn note her instructions on their scores. Two other ...


The Dance of the Eyes, c1940: 'The rustle of tropical palms'

This black-and-white clip shows a traditional Balinese dance, which the narrator calls 'The dance of the eyes', accompanied by a gamelan orchestra. The clip cuts between shots of women performing, showing the complex movements of the dancers, and the musicians. A rather stilted narration describes the intricacies of the ...


The 7.30 Report - Orchestra Tunes into Mentor Program, 2005: Violins not guns

This clip shows two interviewees describing the multicultural community of Cabramatta in south-west Sydney and another working with young people. It opens with a street scene that includes the then New South Wales premier Bob Carr praising changed attitudes in the community. The scene shifts to Cabramatta High School where ...

Interactive Resource

The Whitlams meet the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

The Whitlams meet the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was produced through a partnership between the Sydney Opera House and the NSW Department of Education (then the NSW Department of Education and Training). It consists of an interview (divided into eight video clips) with Tim Freedman from The Whitlams and conductor Ben Northey ...

Teacher resource

TSO Songbook Part 1: Tingalayo

Tingalayo is a children's song from the Carribean that has many versions in Spanish-speaking and English-speaking cultures. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra have created a range of resources to explore and perform the song (in English and Spanish) in the classroom. Resources include a teacher's guide with differentiated ...

Interactive Resource

MSO Learn

This is an iPad app about the design and roles of a symphony orchestra. It introduces students to the various sections of an orchestra: strings, woodwind, brass and percussion and allows them to explore and listen to the individual instruments as well as the collective sound of the orchestra. The app provides profiles of ...

Teacher resource

Rimsky-Korsakov Adagio

This set of resources supports the development of listening skills, identification of elements of music, and recognition of instruments in a symphony orchestra. The focus is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sinfonietta on Russian Themes, Op 31, II Adagio. A video features conductor Richard Gill AO with musicians of the Tasmanian Symphony ...

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Come and meet the instruments

Come and meet the orchestra! The musicians are wearing 4 different colours to show which section they belong to. Can you name the 4 sections of the orchestra? What are the names of some of the instruments in each section?

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Can you hear the famous rhythm?

Beethoven was a composer who lived about 200 years ago. Have a listen as the orchestra plays one of his most well known pieces of music. Do you recognise it? Can you hear Beethoven's famous rhythm being repeated in the music?

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Lights out!

Host Paul Rissmann describes a scene where Mussorgsky finds himself all of a sudden in the dark. How does the music add to the scariness of this story?

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Discover the most powerful section of the orchestra!

Can you name the four instruments that make up the brass section of the orchestra? Like musicians in the woodwind section, the brass players power their instruments with air. But how do they do this differently?

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What is a vibraphone?

Have you heard of the vibraphone? Learn all about this percussion instrument in this animation. What is it made of? How is it similar to other percussion instruments?

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What a colourful exhibition!

As the orchestra plays a piece of music called "The Ballet of the Chickens in their Shells", lots of artworks are flashed up on the screen.These pictures were sent in for the concert from schools around Australia. If the music inspries you, perhaps you could make your own artwork.

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Who's that cheeky gnome?

Listen as host Paul Rissmann tells a story about Mussorgsky and a gnome called Harry. How does the orchestra's music help to tell the story?

Teacher resource

TSO Songbook Part 2: Tafta Hindi

Tafta Hindi is a version of a folk song that is well known in Arabic-speaking countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra have created a range of resources to explore and perform the song (in English) in the classroom. Resources include a teacher's guide with differentiated teaching and ...

Teacher resource

TSO Songbook Part 2: In the garden

In the Garden is a version of a 19th century Russian folk song. The melody is quite well known and has used in compositions by Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. This version was commissioned for the TSO and this resource includes Garden Variety an additional standalone piece inspired melody. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra ...