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What Are the Different Types of Orchestras for Children?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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There are many different musical organizations available to children and young adults, specializing in a variety of music styles and instruments. Orchestras for children may include those specifically dedicated to string instruments or wind instruments, whereas others may have a blend of instruments. Certain orchestras for children may also have a theme or type of music that is played, such as classical, folk or jazz, and may include a singer or vocal group accompanying the orchestra. Many times an orchestra specifically geared toward child performers will use one or two audition processes to determine each player's position, however, community orchestras may encourage anyone to participate.

String orchestras for children are quite common and they are composed mainly of violins and cellos, as well as harp and sometimes piano. These orchestras often play classical music, from Brahms to Bach, and follow regular audition formats to help rank players in terms of their musical abilities. Orchestras for children mainly featuring strings can sometimes enter competitions and compete against other string orchestras for awards and recognition. This occurs not only for string and classical orchestras, but for other music groups and organizations featuring varying instruments and players, as well.

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It isn't uncommon for orchestras to feature wind instruments along with strings, because wind instruments contribute different sounds and note textures into selected pieces of music. Many of the other instruments that are easily introduced into string orchestras include clarinet and oboe, as well as flute and piccolo. Bold and more pronounced voices such as trumpets and trombones may also be included with string instruments, but are less common than the inclusion of the other wind instruments. Wind players must also go through the same audition process and chair placement, so that those with better playing abilities can perform the first and second parts of a piece.

Although classical music is very common in orchestras, some orchestras for children can include many different genres of music. Music such as western, rock, jazz and folk are just a few examples of different themes played by orchestras featuring child performers. Community-based orchestras may not require an advanced education or experience in music performance, desiring only children's willingness and joy of performing music for an audience. Chair placement may be used for community orchestras featuring children, but may not be necessary in some groups.

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