YPGO/Learning about the Orchestra Activities (Lessons 1 & 2)
Supporting Activities - Cover & Homework
Performing Activities - Songs & Scores

Secondary/Key Stage 3 Unit - Instruments of the Orchestra

Exploring  Timbre

Exploring the String Section Activities (Lesson 3)
Exploring the Brass Section Activities (Lesson 4)
Exploring the Woodwind Section Activities (Lesson 5)
Exploring the Percussion Section Activities (Lesson 6)

This unit develops pupils’ understanding about orchestral instruments and families/sections of orchestral instruments.  Pupils learn about the construction, sound production and timbres of different orchestral instruments using Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” to enhance their learning.  Pupils are introduced to the modern symphony orchestra and learn about its layout, grouping and the instruments which belong to each section including their individual and characteristic timbres.  This unit is brought to life by pupil’s experiencing actual orchestral instruments (where possible) and pupils join together to play a class orchestra piece to gain and understanding of what it’s like to perform as part of a larger group and the role of individual parts to the overall texture of the music.

Element Focus - Pitch, Texture, Timbre & Dynamics and Melody & Harmony


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Cover/Homework 1

Instrument Riddles

Cover/Homework 2

Instrument Research

Cover/Homework 3

Instrument Matching

Cover/Homework 4

Instrument Code-Breaker

Cover/Homework 5

Families of Instruments

Cover/Homework 6

Timbre Puzzle Sheet

Cover/Homework 8

The Ritual Fire Dance

(uses Audio 12)








Cover/Homework 9

La Rejouissance


(uses Audio 13)

Cover/Homework 11 The History of the Orchestra















Video 4

The Woodwind Section

Starter/Plenary 6

Woodwind Instruments Fill in Gaps

Starter/Plenary 7

Woodwind Instruments Word Search

Audio 5

Investigating the Woodwind Section

Audio 10

Demonstrating the Woodwind Section

Score 4

Miniature March

Woodwind Parts


Miniature March

Woodwind Parts










Song Sheet 1

I am the Conductor


I am the Conductor

Song Melody


I am the Conductor

Piano Accompaniment (repeated 7 times)

Song Sheet 2

Seventy-Six Trombones

Audio 15




Seventy-Six Trombones

Song Melody

Score 1

Miniature March (Piano Accompaniment)



Miniature March Piano Accompaniment










Video 6

The Percussion Section

Starter/Plenary 9

Cut-Up Percussion Instrument Cards

Starter/Plenary 15 Odd Instrument Out

Starter/Plenary 16 Percussion Instrument Cards (with ideas sheet)

Audio 6

Investigating the Percussion Section

Cover/Homework 12

The Percussion Family

Score 5

Miniature March Tuned & Untuned Percussion Parts


Miniature March

Percussion Parts










Video 5

The Brass Section

Starter/Plenary 5

Brass Instruments Fill in Gaps

Audio 4

Investigating the Brass Section

Audio 11

Demonstrating the Brass Section

Cover/Homework 7 Brass Instruments of the Orchestra

Cover/Homework 10 Brass Instruments

Score 3

Miniature March

Brass Parts


Miniature March

Brass Parts











Video 2

The String Section


Video 3

The Harp

Starter/Plenary 8

String Instruments Fill in the Gaps

Worksheet 4

String Instruments of the Orchestra

Worksheet 5

Investigating the String Section


(uses Audio 3)

Audio 9

Demonstrating the String Section

Score 2

Miniature March

String Parts


Miniature March

String Parts










Starter/Plenary 1



Audio 1

Orchestra tuning to Oboe A

Worksheet 0

Unit Introduction & Keywords

Video 1

YPGO Introduction

Worksheet 1

The Layout of the Orchestra

Presentation 1

The Layout of the Orchestra

Starter/Plenary 10 Instrument Seating Cards

Video 8

The Conductor









Video 7

YPGO - The Fugue

Audio 2

YPGO - Britten


Worksheet 2

YPGO Listening Sheet


(uses Audio 2)

Worksheet 3

Instrument Research


Starter/Plenary 2



Starter/Plenary 3


Word Search

Starter/Plenary 4

Tuning Up - Fill in the Gaps

Starter/Plenary 11 & 12

Instrument Names/ Pictures









Starter/Plenary 13 Instrument Blockbusters

Starter/Plenary 14 Instruments Complete the Name

Worksheet 6

Other Instruments of the Orchestra


(uses Audio 7)

Audio 8

Guess the Instrument/Section Quiz

(20 extracts)

Worksheet 7

Instruments of the Orchestra Assessment


(uses Audio 14)

Starter/Plenary 17 My Instruments of the Orchestra Learning



Scheme of Work

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Lesson Plan (DOC)

Lesson Bundles (ZIP)

Download all the resources you need for each lesson (excluding video files) in a ZIP file.

Click here for the latest version of WinZip

Lesson 1

Exploring the Sections of the Orchestra

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson 1

Resource Bundle

Lesson 2

Exploring Timbre & YPGO

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson 2

Resource Bundle

Lesson 3

Exploring the String Section

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson 3

Resource Bundle

Lesson 4

Exploring the Brass Section

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson 4

Resource Bundle

Lesson 5

Exploring the Woodwind Section

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson 5

Resource Bundle

Lesson 6

Exploring the Percussion Section

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson 6

Resource Bundle







Video 10

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 1


Video 11

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 2


Video 12

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 3


Video 13

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 4


Video 14

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 5


Video 15

“Scrapheap Orchestra”

Part 6