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What Are the Different Types of Orchestra Courses?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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There are many different types of orchestra courses that are designed to help students learn more about music and prepare for a career. Some of the most common types of orchestra courses are those that focus on learning the skills needed to master a particular instrument. In addition to these, students may take classes in orchestra conducting and composition. Students can also take orchestra courses that focus on music history and theory.

Orchestra courses for a specific instrument are commonly taken by students who have decided to focus on music at the university level. These courses give instruction about how to properly play a specific instrument. Students can take classes at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, and many music degree programs require that a student be proficient with at least a few different instruments.

Conducting courses are usually only offered by universities, though some secondary schools offer limited instruction in conducting techniques. These orchestra courses teach students how to manage an orchestra and how to read and interpret a score. It takes many years to learn to conduct well, and like instrumental courses, the skills needed to conduct are usually taught in beginning, intermediate and advanced level courses.

Other courses teach how to compose and arrange orchestral music. Though this type of music is not as popular around the world as it once was, orchestral music plays underneath the video of many films and television shows as well as under the action of live theatrical performances. An abundance of new orchestral music is produced each year, and classes in orchestral composition can help a person prepare for a job as a composer.

Many students also take orchestra courses in music theory and appreciation. These courses may be taken at the university level though it is common to see them in primary and secondary schools as well. The main purpose of these courses is to introduce a student to music and provide the foundation a student needs to take up an instrument.

Students taking orchestra courses may also take a practical course in which they play in an orchestra. Such courses apply the skills the student has learned in theory and instrumental classes. They also allow students a chance to perform in front of a live audience which is an essential part of a professional career in orchestra music.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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