Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf has been narrated and conducted simultaneously by only a handful of musicians. Commissioned by Natalya Sats, the work's premiere went rather unnoticed until she (yes, a female conductor in 1936 Russia) narrated and conducted it herself 1 month later.
By doing it this way we (conductors/narrators) have the opportunity to connect the audience directly to the musicians through the story. Their attention isn't bouncing between a narrator and the orchestra, it's always focused on the music and how it expresses the story. By really telling the story, through both word and sound, we have the chance to become a conduit - it's almost like the conductor gets to disappear, leaving the story and the music together in one place.
It's quite an experience to instigate, stay connected, and moderate an accelerando, all while expressively telling a good story, with the baton behind your back. It takes an incredible amount of focus - likely one of the most difficult things I've ever learned to do. But to see and hear the audiences, adults and children alike, be so enrapt with it - it's incredibly rewarding. That's the job of the conductor - to inspire musicians and bring them together with an audience around the truth that is music. When we do it right, our role as an intercessor fades and the music makes the connection between the musicians and the audience, between the composer and the rest of us.
For education and Young People's Concerts, unique and age-appropriate introductions to the orchestra and concert etiquette can be paired with a variety of orchestration options.