Age range: Good for ages 10 and up
Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! This interactive takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Key Technology: You can use this on a computer or whiteboard—but you will need speakers (or headphones) for the music parts.
This interactive explores the variety of musical instruments in orchestras from baroque to modern. Players can learn how instruments are made, create their own orchestral arrangements, find out about famous players and composers, and put instruments into their historical context. Guided listening is combined with questions about the history, construction, and use of the instruments. A baseball metaphor and lots of options for exploration and play will keep students coming back to this one!
Check out the Related Resources box on the right side of this page for ARTSEDGE lessons and resources that can be used with Perfect Pitch
For the Educator
Consider working through “Meet the Players” together, giving students plenty of time for free exploration of “Create a Lineup,” and finishing up with a team game of “Play Ball.”
The interactive begins with “Meet the Players,” which shows the standard members of four styles or time periods of orchestras. Each instrument can be selected individually to listen to sound clips and learn both essential facts (construction, history, important players) and “fun facts” including other events taking place in the world when the instrument was invented. This section presents a large volume of information.
Next comes “Create a Lineup,” in which students can arrange typical pieces of music for each orchestral style, choosing the instruments for melody, harmonies, percussion, etc. This section offers hundreds of options for experimentation, from an all-oboe baroque piece to modern arrangements with typewriter and cowbell.
Finally, “Play Ball” assesses student learning with a quiz game at three levels. Challenges range from identifying instruments by ear to remembering historical events which took place at the same time as the invention of an instrument. This game can be used for individual assessment, or could be played competitively in teams with an interactive whiteboard or projector and screen.
Some prior knowledge of orchestral music will be useful:
- Recognition of the families of the orchestra
- Knowledge of basic music theory terminology, such as “countermelody,” “bass,” and “pitch”
- Familiarity with the four styles of orchestral music covered
This interactive lends itself to large-group, interactive discussions supported by an Interactive Whiteboard. It also is well suited to free exploration at an individual computer station.