Grant Llewellyn introduces himself and demonstrates his role as the conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Grant explains in simple terms, how he uses his baton to make the orchestra play loudly and quietly. This is an opportunity for students to follow Grant’s simple instructions playing their instruments loudly and quietly along with the orchestra. The clip is supported by Makaton signing and Widgit symbols and is suitable for children with special educational needs (SEN).
Take a short, simple song that is well-known to the pupils and ask them to take turns at playing the role of the conductor, to conduct the class in a performance of this song. Use an unsharpened pencil or any blunt pointer as the conductor’s baton. Concentrate initially on challenging the children to start together. This is particularly beneficial to use with children as it provides opportunities for a child to interact with other children in a group setting and to work towards a group aim. Encourage students to make changes in tempo (fast or slow) or dynamics (loud or quiet) through their conducting. Students may create their own conducting movements and should not worry about doing it 'right'. Help the students to play the role of a musician in the orchestra. Talk about the importance of following the conductor, performing as a group and what they have to think about in order to be a good musician. In the clip, the emphasis was on the conductor changing the dynamics of the music. Encouraging children to experiment with volume is another way to ignite their creativity. A simple exercise is to get the children to clap loudly and to clap really quietly as directed by the movement of the 'conductor's' baton. They can experiment with making sounds (like the rain falling very gently), by drumming their fingertips on the table or floor and then building to a storm (with louder rain using their hands). They can experiment with making loud and soft wind noises, or quiet and loud roars.