Bernstein Young People’s Concert: Anatomy of an Orchestra

Leonard Bernstein: Pianist, Composer, Conductor, Educator
I have long admired Leonard Bernstein, one of the most important figures in music in the United States. Best known as the first American music director of the New York Philharmonic, his commitment to the arts, to children, and to education are practically unparalleled. If you have not seen his Young People’s Concerts, they are one of the most groundbreaking achievements in music education for children, and as a professional musician of 45 years, they still inspire and educate me, both with the depth of content and the simplicity with which he explains and demonstrates music with one of the best orchestras in the world.
Bernstein, like many of my favorite composers, often played music with his children in their NYC living room. He also used his home as a favorite venue for trying out new scores, and for holding preliminary rehearsals with soloists. What a wonderful gift to give to his family and friends. I’ll write more about this in a subsequent blog, but wanted to share this particular concert, which Bernstein called, “The Anatomy of An Orchestra”. He gives detailed and meaningful explanations of the instruments and sections of an orchestra, and then shows how they fit together and work together. Such genius to be able to break down very complex information and concepts in a way that made it accessible to children, without diluting anything and without “dumbing it down”, as so often happens in education today. Enjoy this video, a great thing to watch with children while schools are closed or during summer break. A very engaging activity!!!

Karine Stone