Rachel Garlin

Teacher Resources

Conductor’s Coming

A Music Classroom Game by Rachel Garlin

Adapted from the camp game “Captain’s Coming”




To build teamwork

To include big movement

To have fun

To review concepts

To facilitate a transition (ie, to move students from one area to another in a creative, fun, active, orderly way)


Setting and Roles:

In this game, there is a Conductor (teacher/leader) and an Orchestra of Players (students/participants). The role of the Conductor is to bring the Orchestra to attention and to call out actions for Orchestra Players to take. The Conductor also dismisses the Players who don't do the actions quickly enough or who break from character. Once the Conductor calls an action, the Players have a few seconds to start performing the action. If they don't find a group fast enough or perform the right action, they are out of the game.


How To Play

This game is similar to Simon Says. The Conductor calls out actions to be performed by the Players (see list of actions below). One of these actions is called “Conductor’s Coming” and it asks participants to stand at attention with their hands closed (as if they are holding a music folder in the closed position.) If the Conductor calls out an action while Players are standing with closed hands, they should not perform any additional actions until they hear the cue words: “Open Your Music.” Once the music is open, Players should continue performing actions until they hear another “Conductor’s Coming,” at which point they should again stand at attention with hands closed until they hear “Open Your Music.” Meanwhile, the Conductor will try to trick players into performing actions before “Open Your Music” (just like in Simon Says).


List of Actions:

“Conductor’s Coming” -- Stand with shoulders facing forward and hands closed (with an imaginary music folder in your hands). Keep them closed until you hear “Open Your Music.”

“Open Your Music” – Open your hands and prepare to take next action.

“Play your ______________” – Fill in the blank with a particular instrument. Such as “Play Your Flute” or “Play a Violin” (Students mime the playing of the instrument named.)

“Duet” – Form a group of two or whatever number is implied (do the same for Trio, Quartet, Quintet, etc.) Students get dismissed when they can’t fit into a particular group.

“Oboe Duet” – Form a group of two playing the particular instrument

“Woodwind Trio” –Students mime different woodwind instruments in a group of a particular size.

“Coffee Break” –Students mime taking a break

“Take a Bow” – Students take a bow in unison (you can use this to practice an actual stage bow.


A few tips and variations:

This game gives students a chance to mix with each other. The Conductor role is a little harder than it looks since it involves thinking a few steps ahead of the group. The game can also stall out or become overly competitive unless there is someone looking out for the common good. For this and several other reasons, it tends to works best when the teacher is the Conductor, at least at first. Students will soon ask whether they can take a turn as Conductor and certainly they can. But at least in the beginning (and depending on group dynamics in your room), I recommend assigning yourself the Conductor role.


Once students are familiar with the game, you can add additional aspects. For example, you can review vocabulary terms, practice lyrics or parts of a song, or ask students to rehearse something simply by adding other “actions” such as “Sing the Chorus.” The beauty fo the game is that if it’s played in good spirits, students will enjoy the challenge of running through a rehearsal or a review session while alternating between order and purse chaos. As the Conductor you can always restore order with a big smile and a simple “Conductor’s Coming.”