Reply To: Help! Putting together a pit orchestra for 1st time!
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Conducting pit can be a lot of fun. I’ve done it even at the middle school level, so depending how your school music program is and what level you’re teaching, you may find a pit among your best students.
I would offer as a minimum that piano and drum set could work out fine. If you don’t have a student who plays drum set well – really well – then hire a local person.
If you do have kids that can handle the parts, you could do something with as little as a violin, couple of woodwinds, trumpet and trombone – on up to whatever the instrumentation is for Peter Pan. I haven’t done it but its probably scored for a few strings (violin, cello, maybe bass), 2 woodwind books (doubling different instruments, but your kids probably wouldn’t be able to do doubling yet, so just have more than one kid in a book – i.e. flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone), couple of trumpet books (maybe 3), possibly french horn, and 1 or 2 trombone books.
You’ll want plenty of rehearsal with the kids before they play with the cast, because shows have a lot of music. Also, keys can be difficult, and just as a note – the instrument books usually do not place the key signature on every line, only at the beginning and at key changes (like in jazz band music).
It’s totally doable and a great, great experience for kids. If you want any more info on it feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org