Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

All About the Orchestra


Price: $95 for OLLI Members      $115 for non-members

Dates & Time: Wednesday, July 31st & August 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th  10:00-12:00

Class Type: In-Person

Instructor: John Kendall Bailey

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Course Description

Have you ever attended an orchestra concert and have been amazed at the great number of different instruments, and weren’t sure what some of them were? Or wondered why the instruments are seated in certain places? And what exactly does the conductor do? How was some brilliant musical mind able to write music that makes it all sound so good together? This course explores the history of all of the instruments commonly found in the orchestra: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. Mr. Bailey will tell you where each instrument came from, and how it developed over time into the version we recognize today, with examples of some of the best music written for every instrument. He’ll also explain the evolution of the orchestra from its origins 400 years ago as small string ensembles to the gargantuan-size orchestras of the 20th century, and how conductors became necessary to keep the ever-growing orchestra together. He’ll even examine how composers write music, and how they must have such knowledge of orchestral instruments in order to write effectively for them. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about an orchestra – think again!



Additional information

Course Term

Spring-Summer 2024

Day of the Week



John Kendall Bailey, music director, conductor, chorus master

Event Type


Event Details

Date: 2024-07-31

Start time: 10:00 a.m. PDT

End time: 12:00 p.m. PDT

Venue: In-Person


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