Updated date:

Orchestra: Woodwind Family Lapbook Unit


Woodwind Family Lesson Plan!

Wonderful wild whistling woodwinds winding through the wind! Wishing you knew more about the woodwind family of instruments? Wonder no more! Whether or not you play one of these beautiful instruments, you will learn much about them here!

This page may be simply read through to learn about these instruments, or perhaps you would like to listen to some pieces for these instruments. Students may use the information and links to do research or learn more about an instrument they play, and parents and teachers may use the following in individual lessons or as a thorough unit study. Many free games, printable worksheets, videos, links, and more are here for you to use. I love woodwind instruments and hope that you find this page interesting and useful! Thanks for visiting! Please leave a message below to let me know you were here, or what you liked and disliked. Thanks! :D

Woodwind Lapbooks & Notebooks - Great study and reinforcement learning materials!

Woodwind Lapbook from Joyful Songs (Update 3/2014) I apologize for not visiting this page recently. The blog which used to hold it is no longer there. If you are interested in the lapbook, please send me an email at joyfulmusic90@gmail.com and I will be happy to send it to you personally to use for free. As a full-time homsechool, private music teacher, and performer, I just haven't had time to update, but would love to share with you.)

These materials were put together with the intention of doing an entire unit study around it, but they may certainly be used in part. The following are pieces I created to make a lapbook or notebook with your studies.

Woodwind Cover for your notebook (The picture at the top of the page.)

Woodwind Bible Verses ~ Verse cards, storage pocket, notebook pages, and a poster / puzzle.

Woodwind Vocabulary Mini Book

Lapbook Minis

~ Instruments: flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, oboe, English horn, bassoon, recorder, didgeridoo, pan pipes (syrinx)

~ Members of the flute family, members of the saxophone family, single reed, double reed, pitch, history

History of Woodwinds ~ Choice of mini book or notebook page.

Characteristics of Woodwind Instruments ~ Mini book and notebook page.

Woodwind File Folders ~ A mini folder for each: piccolo, flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and bassoon. Includes a lined sheet for easier writing to insert if desired; a color and black and white version; extra graphics.

Flashcards ~ for studying, playing a matching game, or go fish.

Version 1 has pictures and words on the same card.

Version 2 has pictures on one card, names on another.

Flashcard Pocket for storage.

Woodwind Notebook Pages ~ 6 pages for notes (One of them is designated for science in music.)

Computer & Book Resources ~ mini book to notate where you researched or read about the instruments.

Woodwind Gameboard ~ review questions about woodwinds.

  • Instrument Diagrams
    Label Parts of a Recorder, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon & Saxophone Label the Woodwind Member Names in English or other languages Instrument coloring pages for primary grades, many other music activities also.
  • Woodwind Mini Books
    Several mini books for woodwind instruments from Homeschool Share ~ Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, and Bassoon
  • Instrument Worksheets at TLS Books
    'My Musical Instrument Book' ~ A page for each instrument family, a puzzle, word search, and instrument sort page in a cute tab book. Woodwind Word Search & Labeling ~ Woodwind Printing Practice ~ Woodwind Name Match
  • Woodwind Family Flashcards
    Very nicely done cards of all the instrument families.
  • The Visual Dictionary
    Click on the instruments you want to read a small blurb and use the pictures in your materials.
  • Music Graphics Galore
    "A collection of music icons, clipart, graphics, & icons."


A Woodwind Unit Study

Learning About Woodwind Instruments

Unit studies can be so much fun! I love to incorporate as many subject areas as possible when I research and write my music units. You may want to consider adding other content areas to your music studies. Many people push aside music as a "less important subject", spending most of their time in the "academic" studies. (Unfortunately this is happening in the school systems frequently.) I am in no way downgrading core curriculums, I put them first before music in my own children's studies. What I want to make clear though is that music truly is related to all of the academic areas in one way or another! It may be used to enhance learning in many ways.

Even the ancient Greeks saw the importance in music. Three main subjects were part of their curriculum. Math for the brain, physical activities for the body, and music for the soul.

I'm working on a lens entitled "Music is FUNdaMENTAL" because I feel strongly about this. The lens is 'published' but far from being done. It is one that I hope to constantly add research about music and education. You may check it out if you like, but in brief, here is what I mean as far as relating it to other curricula content.

Bible - Study how, when, where, why, and who used music in the Bible. Find out which instruments are mentioned. Research the materials and technology that would have been available to create the instruments. How do you think these instruments may have sounded compared to our modern instruments?

Language Arts - So many language skills may be practiced while studying music! Read about the instruments. Use library and internet research skills to obtain more information. Write a descriptive paragraph about an instrument. Create a poem about your favorite instrument...

Math - Music and math go hand in hand. Reading and counting rhythms is pure math. Read and create rhythmic patterns to play on an instrument, even if it is just clapping out a steady beat or pattern. Study and use what I call 'Musical Math Formulas' ~ the distances or intervals between pitches, the relationships of notes in a chord, scale patterns, etcetera. Measure and compare the sizes of instruments and how size and shape influence the tone ... which leads to ...

Science - The study of acoustics (how sounds are made) is a very interesting part of music and physics. Study about vibrations and frequency and how they affect the pitch and tone of an instrument. See link below in the science section for some really cool stuff.

Social Studies - It is fascinating to study the beginnings and history of musical instruments. Find out what types of instruments were created where and why. Did it have anything to do with the technology, materials, or culture of the area? Of course it did! :) Study a country or two where instruments originated. Study the culture and what part music had in it. Was music used for religious ceremonies, secular purposes, part of drama? Who in the society listened to and played music? Was is just the rich or educated who could afford instruments? Did music of a time or place reflect anything about the people?

Art - Artistic time periods in history have similarities in music, art, drama, dance, literature, and so on. For instance, certain instruments seemed to be favored in the baroque period. What techniques, styles, and materials did artists like to use in the same time period? Or, listen to the emotional qualities of different instruments and their uses. Try to put that same feeling into a piece of artwork.

Physical Education - Move and dance to the music you hear! Allow your imagination to take over once in a while. Does the music or instrument make you feel like moving fast, bouncy, or softly? Try to conduct a piece of music - the arms can get really tired quickly. :) Think about all the fine motor skills of a woodwind player or keyboardist. What physical qualities might a pecussionist need and use?

Foreign Language - How are the instrument names changed in different languages? (The Enchanted Learning Website has some great printable pages of instruments in various languages.) Compare Latin and Greek root words in musical terms (flute, flote, flauta). Why do musicians all over the world use so much Italian on printed sheet music?

Computer - Listen to instrumental recordings. Watch videos to see how they are used or how they are played. Locate pictures and articles. Anything you want!

I'm sure you get the idea - perk up your units by including music in some way, even if it is something like singing spelling words - great memory tool! Enjoy all your learning, and please leave other suggestions you might have for including music in your curriculum. :D

Woodwind Family Research

  • Woodwind Instruments
    Detailed information about the family.
  • Reed Instruments
    Single & double reeds, composition, pictures
  • Woodwind Instruments from Around the World
    This list contains instruments you will recognize plus many that you won't, different sizes of the instruments, country they originated in, and a brief history and description.
  • **Woodwind Family
    This is soooo cool! This gentleman has pictures of every size flute, clarinet, and sax. There is information, sound clips, and videos. I've have never seen so many types of woodwinds before!
  • Orchestral Instruments
    Scroll down and click on what you want to know more about.
  • The Woodwind Family
    More information
  • The Winds
    A one paragraph description and picture of each woodwind instrument.
  • Types of Wind Instruments
    Short video on the flute, oboe, and clarinet - okay, trumpet, too!
  • Woodwind Intruments
    A small history and description of each woodwind instrument including rare and historic variations of the instruments.

Biblical Reference to Woodwinds

*Lapbook: Bible Flashcards & Pocket, Bible Notebook Pages, Bible Poster / Puzzle

Praise the LORD.

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD.

Psalm 150

Praise him with the strings and flute. Psalm 150:4b

His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Genesis 4:21

All the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing gladly, so that the ground shook with sound. 1 Kings 1:40

'For the Director of Music. For Flutes. A Psalm of David.'

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies-make straight

your way before me. Psalm 5:8

And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. Isaiah 30:29

You will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them. 1 Samuel 10:5

Suggested Vocabulary

Please choose words for your students according to their age and previous knowledge of woodwind instruments.

*Lapbook: Woodwind Vocabulary Mini Book

Woodwind Instuments: bassoon, clarinet, flute, oboe, recorder, saxophone

Parts of woodwind instruments: barrel, bocal, conical bore, cork, cylindrical bore, double reed, ebonite, grenadilla, wood, head joint, joints, keys, ligature, mouthpiece, nickel, pads, plastic, reed, register key, silver, silver plated, springs, tone hole, wood

General Music Terms: acoustics, air pressure, alto, baritone, bass, concert band, concert pitch, contrabass, embouchure, ensemble, family, fingerings, frequency, jazz band, instrument, marching band, octave, orchestra, pitch, range, soprano, sound wave, tenor, timbre, tone, vibration, woodwind

Games & Fun Activities

  • Woodwind Instruments
    Descriptions and pictures of flutes, piccolos, clarinets, oboes, bassoons, saxophones, and recorders to be used for all ages. **At this site, high school students who study physics and calculus will enjoy details of the physics of sound - types of c
  • Musical Acoustics
    Some Introductory Pages: Basics in Music Acoustics
  • How Do Woodwind Instruments Work?
    It's fun to learn the 'why' and 'how'!
  • Tuning Woodwinds
    Science behind the sounds
  • Woodwind Instruments in Action
    More to learn
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    Lesson plans from Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the following topics and many more. Fun Facts of Sound ~ musical sound terms Vibrations ~ learn about sound vibrations with forks and a tin can telephone Vibrations Explorations ~ explore with fun activ
  • Instrument Lab
    Visit the New York Philharmonic for directions to make some unique homemade instruments. Roll your mouse over the pictures of instruments to see their name. Click on the ones you like to hear their sounds, and find out how to make them! "Woodwinds" o

The Flute Family

Characteristics of the Flute Family Members

* Lapbook: Flute & Piccolo Mini Books; Members of the Flute Family Mini; Woodwind File Folder for Flute & Piccolo; Various Notebook Pages for History or Characteristics; (See Lapbook Section for Joyful Songs Link)


Piccolo is the highest pitched instrument in the orchestra.

It plays one octave above regular flute pitch.

It is usually made of sterling silver, silver, or grenadilla wood.

The piccolo sounds much louder and "cuts through" large sounds such as marching band.

The name came from the Italian 'flauto piccolo' or 'little flute'.

John Philip Sousa wrote some of the most famous piccolo pieces in his marches (i.e. ~ "Stars & Stripes Forever").

Piccolo is about half the size of a regular flute (12 ½ inches).


The flute may be played in several types of groups and styles of music: orchestra, band, chamber ensembles - classical, jazz, blues, pop, rock, etc.

Flutes may be made of wood, nickel, sterling silver, or silver. The type of metal used changes the overall tone and sound.

Most flutes range from middle C to the second C above the treble clef.

Blowing across the hole in the headjoint produces sound.

Pitches are created by changing the combination of fingers on the keys, the player's embouchure (mouth position), and amount of air.

A 'traverse' flute is one that is held to the side.

Flutes may have finger holes or keys over the holes to push.

The flute is pitched in C as it is a non-transposing instrument.

The flute is assembled from three pieces; the head joint, body, and foot.

Alto Flute:

Alto flute was first created in 1854 by Theobold Boehm.

The length is longer and the cylinder is wider than the regular C flute.

The headjoint is curved back toward the player in a 'J' shape.

Alto flute is a 'G' instrument meaning it plays pitches a perfect fourth lower than written.

It has a three-octave range from G below middle C to the second G written above the treble staff.

The tone is smoother and mellower.

Classical pieces the alto is used in: "Lord of the Rings" by Shore, "The Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky, and "The Planets" by Holst.

Bass Flute:

Bass flute was created in 1920 to be used as a low woodwind sound in jazz groups.

It is a 'C' instrument but sounds an octave lower than regular flutes. It's range is more limited.

The length and size is much bigger making it heavier and lower.

The headjoint is curved around to the player similar to the alto flute.

The sound is gentle, quiet, and very beautiful, but almost in a haunting way.


The recorder is held to the front of the player as opposed to side.

It's popularity was at it's height during the Renaissance and Baroque style periods of music.

It was traditionally made of all wood, but modern versions may be plastic.

Because of it's soft quality, it was not used frequently in orchestra; it was more of a solo or small group instrument.


A fife is a small type of flute similar to a piccolo.

It is small, high pitched, and played to the right.

It is sounded one octave higher than written.

It's high, shrill sound has been used in many military bands to send signals to the troops.

Check out Williamsburg websites to hear some fife and drum corps.

Bamboo flutes are popular throughout Asia especially in Indian and China. (See videos below.)

Panpipes are a series of different sized tubes connected together. The various sizes produce the pitches.

Other flutes: Soprano Eb Flute, Tenor Bb Flute, Treble G Flute - Many other size varieties, also!

  • All About the Flute
    Anyone who plays the flute will enjoy this website! It is a great place to study more about the flute for everyone. It contains: The Flute Family ~ History of the Flute ~ How the Flute is Made ~ Buying a Flute ~ How to Care for Your Flute ~ Flute Mak
  • Big Flutes
    Pictures & Information about huge bass flutes and flutes of other varieties and shape ~ some are really cool looking!
  • The Virtual Flute
    For flute players - find out regular and alternate fingerings for flute notes. Search the site also for "Flute Acoustics" to learn about the mechanics of your instrument.
  • Flutes
    Contains: An Introduction, Flute Mouthpieces, The Orchestral Flute, Piccolos and Alto Flutes, A History and Geography of the Flute, Repertoire for the Flute, Practical Information

Flute Videos

The Clarinet Family

Characteristics about the Clarinet Family Members

* Lapbook: Clarinet & Bass Clarinet Mini Books; Woodwind File Folder for Clarinet; Single Reeds; Various Notebook Pages for History or Characteristics

The Eb clarinet plays a perfect fourth above the Bb clarinet.


The clarinet is a single reed instrument.

The best sounding clarinets are made of wood, but there are several plastic varieties.

Keys on the instrument are made of metal.

Pieces of the clarinet are the bell (cone shape at the bottom), two main body pieces, mouthpiece, single wood reed, and a ligature that holds the reed on the mouthpiece.

The Bb clarinet is the most widely used in orchestral and band settings. This clarinet's 'C' sounds like concert pitch 'Bb'.

An A clarinet is used sometimes in orchestras to play in sharp keys. This clarinet's 'C' sounds like concert 'A'.

Alto Clarinet:

The alto clarinet is halfway between the Bb clarinet and bass clarinet.

Bass Clarinet:

The bass clarinet is also a Bb instrument.

It is larger and pitched one octave below the regular clarinet.

The bell of the bass is curved up.

Contrabass Clarinet:

Contrabass clarinets are over six feet long.

The contrabass sounds two octaves below the Bb regular clarinet.

More About the Clarinet

  • Clarinet Acoustics
    The why's and how's of the clarinet sound
  • Woodwinds!!!
    Really awesome picture of a variety of woodwind instruments!
  • Clarinets
    Introduction, The Instrument (Basic, Shape, Range, Timbre, Harmonics), History, Repertoire, Practical Information

Clarinet Videos

Favorite Woodwinds


The Saxophone Family

Characteristics of the Saxophone Family Members

* Lapbook: Alto Sax & Tenor Sax Mini Books; Members of the Saxophone Family Mini; Single Reeds; Woodwind File Folder for Saxophone; Various Notebook Pages

Saxophones have a much shorter history than other woodwinds being developed around 1840 in Paris by Adolphe Sax.

Soprano Saxophone:

The soprano has a straight body and is about the size of a clarinet.

It is the highest sounding of the saxophones.

Soprano saxophone is a Bb transposing instrument.

Alto Saxophone:

The metal body of the saxophone is shaped into a cone (conical shape).

Most saxophones have a curved bell or end area that turns up and to the front.

They are the only woodwind instruments made of brass.

The single reed attached to the mouthpiece classifies it as a member of the woodwind family.

Saxophones are considered woodwind instead of brass family because of the way it is blown into.

Saxophones are not usually used in symphony orchestras, but instead are strong in jazz and rock bands.

The alto is an "Eb" instrument. It's 'C' sounds like a concert Eb pitch.

Tenor Saxophone:

Tenor is slightly bigger than the alto and it sound a bit lower.

It is a Bb instrument.

Baritone Saxophone:

Baritone is the largest and lowest of the common saxophones.

It is an Eb instrument.

More About the Saxophone

  • Saxophone Family
    You won't believe the size of some of these instruments. This site contains information, pictures, and sound clips.
  • Saxophones!!
    Pictures & Sounds
  • Parts of a Saxophone
    Scroll down to click on a picture.
  • Saxophone Acoustics
    Physics introduction to sound production on the saxophone ~ Learn about how reeds, bores, and tone holes change the tone and pitch of the instrument.
  • Saxophones
    Introduction, The Instrument, History, Repertoire, Practical Information

The Oboe Family

Characteristics of the Oboe

* Lapbook: Oboe Mini Book; Woodwind File Folder for Oboe; Double Reeds; Various Notebook Pages for History or Characteristics

Ancient Greece used a similar double reed instrument called the aulos.

Similar instruments have been found in ancient Sumeria / Ur.

Europe had a loud outdoor reed instrument called the shawm around the 12th century that is thought to be the predecessor of the oboe.

Oboe was the first common orchestral woodwind around the late 1600's.

The oboe is made of wood or plastic with metal keys.

It does not have a mouthpiece, but has a double reed that the player places in the mouth.

It looks similar to the clarinet.

Sound is produced with vibrations from the double reed by blowing.

The oboe is the instrument that gives the tuning note to the orchestra.

The oboe is related to the bassoon in that it has a double reed.

It is also related to the English Horn in shape, the bulbous bell at the end, double reed, and sound.

Oboe is the highest pitched reed instrument.

More About the Oboe

  • The Oboe and its Relatives
    Contains: Introduction, The Instrument, History, Repertoire, Practical Information. You may download a PDF copy of the page to use for reference or put in your notebook.
  • History of the Oboe
    This site contains tons of useful information about the oboe such as an oboe timeline and a brief history of the oboe. For Oboists: Break-in & Maintenance Procedures, Selecting an Oboe to Buy, History of the Oboe, Recommended Methods and Repertor
  • Oboe & Reeds
    Information for the Oboe Player

The English Horn

Characteristics of the English Horn

* Lapbook: English Horn Mini Book; Double Reeds; Various Notebook Pages for History or Characteristics

The English horn is a descendant of the oboe.

It was used greatly during the Baroque period of music.

It is not actually and English instrument, but because it's original name "cor angle" or "bent horn" had been mistranslated in the French "cor anglais" to "English horn", the name stuck.

The instrument has a conical or cone shaped body.

It looks similar to the oboe except for the larger size and its bulb shape at the bottom.

English horn is a double reed instrument.

The oboe and English horn have a similar sound, but it is lower pitched.

It is an "F" instrument meaning it sounds an interval of a perfect fifth lower than written.

More About the English Horn

Double Reed Videos


The Bassoon Family

Characteristics of the Bassoon

* Lapbook: Oboe Mini Book; Woodwind File Folder for Bassoon; Double Reeds; Various Notebook Pages for History or Characteristics

Bassoons are made of wood with metal keys.

The bassoon uses a double reed attached to a curved metal tube called a 'bocal'.

The bassoon is the largest and lowest member of the woodwind family (except for some of the bass varieties of other woodwinds).

A contrabassoon is like a regular bassoon but is larger and lower pitched.

The bassoon breaks up into 5 parts (the double reed, bocal, tenor joint, bass joint, and bell).

The instrument is over 9 feet long including the reed.

More About the Bassoon

  • Bassoon Website
    Information about anything bassoon including many bassoon links.
  • Bassoons
    Contains: Introduction, The Instrument, History, Repertoire, Practical Information. ~ You may download a PDF copy of the page to use for reference or put in your notebook.

Have you ever played a woodwind instrument? - Do you enjoy listening to woodwinds?

Svirfneblin on August 03, 2012:

What a huge page! What an informative page. Now I have to work a lot harder to make my flute page good. You've taken up so many good ideas.

I'm glad I aced the quiz. I would have felt quite stupid if I hadn't.

antoniow on July 24, 2012:

Fantastic lens, great job! Squidlike

LouisaDembul on January 17, 2012:

I like woodwind music very much. Used to play the clarinet, and have started practicing again.

anonymous on January 14, 2012:

I do. I am quite partial to them since I am a sax player.

blessedmomto7 on July 25, 2011:

I found this page thru a link on webnuggetz! WIsh I could play one of these woodwinds, but I am musically challenged. However I throw a mean birthday party!

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on June 02, 2011:

@Ann Hinds: Thank you so much! I hope it will be helpful to you and others. : )

lasertek lm on May 30, 2011:

You have some great info and links for homeschooling. Well done!

We actually cover the same topic, hereâs mine: Homeschooling 101: Guide to Free Curriculum and Other Resources.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on May 27, 2011:

Starting homeschooling next year and this is very helpful. Adding it as a featured lens on my homeschooling lens so I have instant access. Great lens, you've don the work for me. Angel blessed.

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on April 05, 2011:

@JulieS LM: Thank you, Julie! I'm looking forward to checking out your website. =D

JulieS LM on April 05, 2011:

We studied the orchestra with the multi-level curriculum, Konos Unit Studies many years ago. This would have been such a great resource for that unit study. I can tell you put a lot into it. I hope to put up a post on my website, Best Homeschool Buys, about some of your homeschool unit study lenses.

flutestar123 lm on March 22, 2011:

Great lens! I LOVE listening to woodwinds, especially flutes. I love how you incorporated information about some of the lesser known instruments in the woodwind family. I had heard of an English Horn, but I didn't really know anything about it.

Missmerfaery444 on February 03, 2011:

My goodness! What a wonderful resource lens, this is fantastic! I loved learning about instruments and pieces of music back in school. I don't play any woodwind instruments but love to listen to them. And the comment below mine made me smile - isn't that just what Squidoo should be about - providing helpful and interesting info for others! This is definitely being blessed by a MerAngel :)

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on November 30, 2010:

@SashaAlexandra: That's fantastic, Sasha!! I'm so proud of you for earning your A!!

SashaAlexandra on November 29, 2010:

@SashaAlexandra: Received an A on my essay. So thankful for people like you. God Bless

SashaAlexandra on November 06, 2010:

@JoyfulPamela2: I will let you know what grade I receive. Pray I get an A+! :D

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on November 03, 2010:

@SashaAlexandra: You are very welcome, Sasha! You just made my day knowing that my love of woodwinds is helpful to someone. I hope you get a wonderful grade on your essay. =D

SashaAlexandra on November 03, 2010:


julieannbrady on September 09, 2010:

Holy mackerel andy, but this is an incredible page you have created -- I've not ever played a woodwind ... but the piano! Many years of classical lessons. "And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel." Isaiah 30:29