Class Notes: The Woodwinds Family

Class Notes: The Woodwinds FamilyClassical MPR

February 10, 2015

To children interested in performing music, choosing which instrument (or instruments) to play can feel a little overwhelming, especially when they're still just learning the sounds, names, mechanics, and roles of the various options open to them.

In the end, it usually comes down to chemistry — what feels most natural.

Choosing the Right Instrument for You: The Woodwinds Family is the last of four companion Class Notes™ videos that take young students through the process of instrument selection. With the help of the eccentric, outdated computer "TOMMIS," the videos explain which instruments belong to each of the orchestra's four families: strings, winds, percussion, and brass.

TOMMIS's approach is both practical and whimsical. He surveys four young students' responses to assorted words, then crunches the "data" to narrow down the results and help them make a selection. Along the way, he touches on the instruments' historical origins, their construction and mechanics, and the quality and role of the sounds they make.

It's only a start, TOMMIS reminds us — young musicians might switch instruments a few times or more until finding one that feels just right. Wherever they are in that process, this video seeks to make it a friendly and well-informed one.

To view more Class Notes™ videos, go here.

For a playlist focused on the woodwinds family, visit our Audio Backpack.