Grant Llewellyn, conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales introduces the strings section of the orchestra. The instruments that make up the strings section of the orchestra are introduced individually and then there is an opportunity to hear them play a short piece of music from 'The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra' by Benjamin Britten. The instruments from the strings family section of the orchestra are the violin, viola, cello, double bass and harp.

First broadcast:
4 May 2011

Discuss as a group why string instruments are called 'string' instruments when they are essentially made from wood. Explain, in simple terms and with demonstration, how the bodies of string instruments are hollow inside to allow air to vibrate within them and thereby produce a louder sound. Using found materials students could create their own string instruments. Pupils could stretch rubber bands around cardboard boxes (with a guitar-like hole cut out) to experiment with the different sounds that can be made by the vibration or use of other home-made frames. Form new instrument groups and create a composition to share with the class. Find an appropriate poem or short story and use the new instruments to create a rhythmic or melodic accompaniment. String instruments can inspire a peaceful, melodic, graceful mood. Explore this with your students through music and art. Ask the children to search for pictures in magazines and catalogues that remind them of the music they have listened to. Construct a collage of images and then collect pupils' reasons for choosing their images. Have each group present their collage and ideas to the class. Use the flowing, gentle character of the music to encourage expressive movement, maybe using scarves as props to flow high and low and sweep to the tide of the music. This activity can be easily modified for those with limited mobility. A child with cerebral palsy, for example, may only be able to move their arms slightly up and down. However, this activity allows the child to still be able to participate and feel included within the group.