What are Woodwind Instruments? Easy Unit Study


Do you know what woodwind instruments are? What do they sound like or how they are made?

This simple unit study is a great way to add music to your homeschool day or plan a class for your homeschool co-op. 

Woodwind Unit Study

I love unit studies because you can adjust the level to perfectly fit your homeschool family!

Add an extra challenge or simplify this unit study as needed. Spend as little or as much time as you desire. Just make it your own!

Let’s begin exploring woodwind instruments together.

Intro to Woodwind Instruments

Begin with Imagination

Pretend you are in an orchestra. Waiting to begin. You will be playing a solo.

All eyes are on the conductor, waiting and anticipating. 

You draw a deep breath and begin a melodic solo. 

Tip: Watch and listen to an orchestra or woodwind ensemble.

Being a Beginner

Long before you are part of a concert, you are a beginner.  

A beginning musician must:

  • first choose an instrument (woodwind, brass, percussion)
  • properly hold the instrument 
  • practice making a desirable sound
  • learn how to change notes
  • tune the instrument
  • understand how to read the music
  • keep the beat (count)
  • follow the conductor
  • cooperate with the group

It takes lots of practice and determination to play an instrument well! 

Tip: This is a great place to add a character lesson. Talk about being a hard worker, not giving up, and trying your best.

Exploring Woodwind Instruments

A Definition

Tip: This is a great research opportunity! If your child is ready, help him to research this topic. Let your child look up woodwinds and tell you what they are.

Definition: “Woodwind, any of a group of wind musical instruments, composed of the flutes and reed pipes (i.e., clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone). Both groups were traditionally made of wood, but now they may also be constructed of metal.”

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Woodwind”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 14 Mar. 2013, https://www.britannica.com/art/woodwind. Accessed 27 September 2021.

Look & Listen

Meet the instruments with Boston’s Children’s Museum will give you a great introduction to these instruments. You can find it on YouTube.

Learning to Play a Woodwind Instrument

How can I learn to play a woodwind instrument?

  • Private Lessons
  • Online Courses
  • Homeschool Band/Orchestra
  • Community Band
  • School Elective

Tip: Call your local music store. Ask about classes and groups in your area.

A Simple Hands-On Science & Music Project

Pop Bottle Flute

This activity simulates the way a flute is played. 

  1. Remove pop bottle lid
  2. Rinse bottle well
  3. Press the bottle opening against your bottom lip
  4. Blow across the opening gently
  5. Listen to the sound. No sound? Try again

Extend this activity by:

  • Keeping the sound going as long as possible
  • Making shorter sounds
  • Changing the volume (loud or soft)
  • Experiment–What happens to the sound if you add a little water to the pop bottle? A lot of water?

Encourage Literacy

Add books based on your child’s interest and availability at your library or online library.

Search the library using these keywords: woodwinds, instruments, orchestra, band, flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and oboe.

Art Projects

Woodwind Collage

  1. Search online for woodwind images.
  2. Print, cut, and glue to create your collage.

Draw What You Hear

  1. Listen to music featuring woodwinds (YouTube has many).
  2. Draw what you hear and feel. How does this music make you feel? Happy? Draw something happy. Sad? Draw something sad. Excited? Nervous?

Field Trip Ideas

Musical Instrument Store

  • Call ahead for a tour—you may be able to see an instrument being repaired.
  • See the instruments. Tip: This is a great place to practice some math concepts. 
  • Estimate the number of instruments on display. Compare prices—Which is the most expensive? Least expensive?
  • Ask about payment plans and interest. Determine how much the instrument will cost if you pay monthly for 3 years.

Concerts/Performances

  • Free–enjoy a local school or community concert.
  • Attend a parade or football game to see a marching band.
  • Purchase concert tickets to hear an orchestra.

Unit Study Add-ons

Remember this is a simple unit study for beginners. It is not an exhaustive study!

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can keep going and exploring IF that’s what your children need. 

5 Ways to Extend this Unit Study

Journaling

  • Add an entry each day (write, draw, or make a video).
  • Something you didn’t know before
  • A quote or fact to remember
  • General information and opinions

Creative Writing

  • Bring an instrument to life. Give it a name and an adventure.

History

  • Discover the details of your favorite instrument
  • Who invented it? When? Why?

Science

  • Study sound waves
  • Play water glasses

Related Topics for Further Study

  • Brass instruments
  • Percussion
  • String instruments
  • Orchestra
  • Marching band
  • Double bassoon

All Good Things Come to an End

What did you discover about woodwind instruments?

Find a creative way to share what your family learned. This could be a simple conversation or a presentation with guests and snacks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring woodwinds and are inspired to play one.

My first experience with woodwinds was listening to my mom play her clarinet. It was such a calming sound. I could listen for hours.

My all-time favorite woodwind is definitely the bassoon. In fact, I think I’ll go practice right now!

Cindy Wetzel

About the author

Certified elementary teacher, Cindy Wetzel, is a homeschool mom of two girls. She loves the homeschool community and tells moms, “You don’t have to homeschool alone!” She shares tips, projects, freebies, and curriculum reviews for homeschool moms.

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