Wind Instruments

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11470

Would you like to wail on a woodwind or blow a brass instrument? Pick up a piccolo or try a trombone? Watch videos of instruments in action and discover the "whys" of the world of wind instruments!


Physical Science

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What do the following instruments have in common?

wind instruments

Throughout the Related Lessons in this Sound and Music series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you have been learning about the four families to which musical instruments belong.

Each instrument belongs to one of the four families. So far, you have learned about percussion instruments and stringed instruments. How are instruments categorized? Tell your teacher or parent.

Musical instruments are categorized by the sound they produce and how they create that sound.

In this lesson, you will learn about wind instruments. Look at the eight instruments pictured at the beginning of the lesson. Were you able to determine what they all have in common? Tell your teacher or parent.

All the instruments pictured produce sound when someone blows into them. Wind instruments are musical instruments that produce a sound when air is blown into a mouthpiece. Some people call the wind family of instruments the woodwind family because most wind instruments were originally made of wood. Today, most wind instruments are made of metal and, because of this, some people call them brass instruments.

Are you ready to listen to some wind instruments? Play the following BBC National Orchestra of Wales – Woodwind (BBC Radio 3) video to hear examples of wind instruments being played. The sound produced by wind instruments can vary greatly by instrument. As you listen, write down what you hear. You can stop and replay sections of the video if you need to hear what an instrument sounds like a second time. Be sure to include the following observations:

  • Describe the sounds being produced by each instrument.
  • What do you think the soundwaves for each instrument look like?
  • Do the instruments have a high or low frequency?

When the video is over, review what you wrote and compare and contrast the sounds you heard with your teacher or parent:


Wind instruments produce sound when air is blown into the mouthpiece. As the air is forced throughout the instrument it vibrates, creating unique sounds. Examples of wind instruments include the clarinet, flute, oboe, trumpet, and tuba. Can you think of any other wind instruments? Tell your teacher or parent.

To learn more about the sound produced by wind instruments, watch Ted-Ed's How brass instruments work - Al Cannon:


When you are finished, explain to a teacher or parent how wind instruments produce sound, and why each of their sounds is so different.

When you are confident you understand how wind instruments produce sound, move on to the Got It? section to continue comparing wind instrument sounds.

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