Introducing Little Kids to the "Woodwind Family" of the Orchestra!


                     Photos are from the artists at the Big Stock Photo site.

The little children are really enjoying our latest studies of the Families of the Instruments in the Orchestra. I think, for little children, the fact that the sections of the orchestra are sometimes called "families" of instruments is a selling point! 
We started off with the Woodwind Family since the children had listened to the selection called "Birds" from Camille Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals in several of our recent lessons. This music piece features the flute and there is a long passage of flute music as a solo, so the children can really hear its unique sound. For more about this wonderfully fun music see my Blog post in February at this link: Kids, Elements of Music & Carnival of the Animals

I have a collection of miniature instruments (complete with their own tiny velvet-lined cases) that I pass around so the children can actually see the details on these replicas. The mouthpiece on the flute is important for a child to understand why a flute is played to the side, and the miniature flute is great for being able to see the position of the mouthpiece up close. And, as educators, we all know how much children love small versions of the real thing!
I found many of my miniatures at this site:

I have found that miniature replicas of the instruments of the orchestra are a great (and portable!) substitute for being able to show and play the actual instruments for young  audiences. I have always wanted to bring the local high school band into my Preschool music classes...

Back to our lesson. First, the children see a photo of an orchestra:

Then, I show them a photo of a woodwinds ensemble:

There is a wonderful packet of photographic small-sized posters (8 1/2 x 14) of all the Orchestra families (and each individual instrument) that you can order from West Music. There's a digital version, too! Here's the link:

After the children carefully examine the delicate miniature flute, we listen to a short excerpt from Saint Saens, "Birds".

Next, it's fun to introduce the bassoon, since it is the largest of the woodwinds and its very low sound is a good contrast to the higher sounding flute.

The children, once again, are invited to see the miniature bassoon up close, so that they better understand how this unusual instrument is played!

One of my favorite cd's for introducing young children to the instruments of the orchestra is "Baby's First Introduction to the Instruments of the Orchestra". This cd features each instrument individually and also in ensemble groups. The cd selections are less than a minute long (usually 30 seconds or less!) and that's about right for young children to be able to hear the featured instrument but not lose interest.

What child can resist this wild-looking instrument with its equally wild sound and a name like bassoon!?

                        Man playing the Bassoon from the artists at Big Stock Photo

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