What Are the Different Types of Orchestras for Children?

Children and young adults can join a variety of musical organizations that specialize in a variety of musical styles and instruments. Children’s orchestras can be dedicated to string instruments or wind instruments, or they can be a mix of both. Certain children’s orchestras may have a theme or genre of music, such as classical, folk, or jazz, and may include a singer or vocal group to accompany the orchestra. An orchestra geared toward children will typically use one or two audition processes to determine each player’s position; however, community orchestras may encourage anyone to join.

String orchestras for children are quite common, and they are mostly made up of violins and cellos, with harp and piano thrown in for good measure. These orchestras frequently perform classical music, ranging from Brahms to Bach, and use standard audition formats to help players be ranked according to their musical abilities. String orchestras for children can sometimes enter competitions and compete for awards and recognition against other string orchestras. This is true not only of string and classical orchestras, but also of other music groups and organizations with a wide range of instruments and players.

Wind instruments, in addition to strings, are frequently used in orchestras because they contribute different sounds and note textures to certain pieces of music. Clarinet and oboe, as well as flute and piccolo, are among the other instruments that can easily be introduced into string orchestras. String instruments may also include bolder and more pronounced voices, such as trumpets and trombones, but this is less common than the inclusion of the other wind instruments. Wind players must go through the same audition and chair placement process as brass players, so that those with superior playing abilities can perform the first and second parts of a piece.

Despite the fact that classical music is very common in orchestras, some orchestras for children can include a wide variety of musical genres. Western, rock, jazz, and folk music are just a few examples of the various themes performed orchestras with child performers. Community orchestras may not require advanced education or performance experience, instead looking for children who are eager to perform music in front of an audience. Chair placement is sometimes used in community orchestras with children, but it isn’t always necessary.