Watch: Kids conduct a Dutch orchestra

Watch: Kids conduct a Dutch orchestra


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2019

An initiative of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague.



  • Petros LInardos says:

    Fun, but childrens’ musicality is better nurtured by singing.

  • John Rook says:

    This kind of rubbish makes me livid and serves only to imply there’s really nothing to being a conductor. Let’s train people to think they can leapfrog the years of discipline involved in becoming an able musician and just be a ‘maestro’ on the back of the talent of professional orchestras. We have to work with such frauds on a regular basis – those who have ‘studied conducting’ at music college, win a prize at some competition then inflict their floppy hair and incompetence on real musicians – so please, let’s stop it right now, can we? Take a leaf out of the books of Toscanini, Munch, Barbirolli et al and earn the right to remain silent.

  • Patrick says:

    It’s great outreach and a thrill for the kids. Of course, they’re not *really* conducting, but that’s not the point. Most any other “instrument” kids can try on their own, but to conduct an orchestra needs….an orchestra. Think of it as a conducting flight simulator for children. Just a hint of what conducting might be like.

  • RW2013 says:

    But is the orchestra playing what the kids are beating?

  • Bruce says:

    Hmmm. Do you think your reaction might be a little … disproportionate? Or perhaps you are reacting to some other problem that is related only tangentially (if at all) to this video?

    • John Rook says:

      I see your point, but no. I tire of the subliminal message that all you need to do as a conductor is wave your arms around and a decent version of the music will happen. Dress this old canard up with children in bow ties and it makes it worse: that there are many frauds out there earning good money doing just that makes convincing people what the profession should really be about just that much more difficult.

  • Sven says:

    Just to put it in a context, this is part of a (3 year and for children with special needs 4 year) music course that we run in several schools in The Hague under the name: Discover the Orchestra. The conducting part is just one aspect of a broad range of topics. Schools can choose from a variety of modules with different intensity. But you can imagine the look in their eyes when the children stand in front of the orchestra for the first time and get a direct response to their upbeat…..this is what we are doing it for…

    • Keith says:

      I say “Bravo”! I live in the U.S. My friends and I never had this opportunity when we were kids. We didn’t have much of a music education. The only way we received was tuning in to Leonard Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts”.
      I agree with Patrick in his comment below — all you are doing is giving them a hint as part of the coursework. If they love it and want to, then they can go to a music academy to receive the proper studies. I’m sure they will find books about Toscanini, Munch, Barbirolli et al.

    • John Rook says:

      Interesting reply, but I still think it’s misguided. One should work one’s way to the podium, not be parachuted, however cute it might look on social media. Sorry, but it sends the wrong message.

      • Patrick says:

        Of course, one should work one’s way to the podium. But they’re not pursuing a career, they’re just being given a chance to try something new and rare. The idea that one can’t conduct until one can conduct is unsustainable.

        • John Rook says:

          I’m not talking about the children; I’m talking about those who watch this kind of circus and think that’s all there is to the job. Of course you need an orchestra to conduct in order to learn the ropes, but I feel these opportunities should be reserved for those who already possess a track record as a performing musician and thus, to an appropriate degree, the respect of their peers. Imagine putting children in front of a board of directors of a major company just to see how they got on; who would take that exercise seriously?

  • Ned Keene says:

    Some of the kids had better rhythm than whoever sync’d the video with the audio…
    I’m all for it. Whatever excites kids about classical music is a good thing.