Woodwind instruments are those that involve the use of a reed or double reed to create their sound. They are driven by breath. Such instruments include the clarinet, oboe, saxophone and bassoon. Woodwind instruments have different registers of vibration and can create a wide range of musical colours and sounds, from dark, warm, low sounds to bright, sparkling, high sounds. Woodwind instruments are wonderful solo instruments and are often given solo roles in rock bands, jazz ensembles, chamber groups and orchestras. They also sound beautiful when played together. Woodwind instruments are easy and fun to learn - you can create a nice sound quite quickly.
The study of the oboe involves the development of fine motor skills and a specific embouchure suitable to the playing of a double reed woodwind instrument. For this reason it may not be the ideal starting instrument for a very young child but may suit a student who has started by learning the recorder, clarinet or flute. However, the oboe is a beautiful instrument with a unique and expressive tone. It has a key function in an orchestral context and can also be featured as a versatile solo instrument.
The study of saxophone involves the development of physical coordination, posture and breath management, and knowledge of many different styles of music. Students can choose to work towards examinations or learn for pleasure. Building skills and knowledge that will enable the player to perform and enjoy music both as a soloist, or member of an ensemble is central to learning saxophone.
The study of clarinet involves the development of physical coordination, posture and breath management, and knowledge of many different styles of music. Students can choose to work towards examinations or learn for pleasure. Building skills and knowledge that will enable the player to perform and enjoy music as both a soloist, or member of an ensemble is central to learning the clarinet.
Flute and Recorder
Flutes and recorders are also important members of the woodwind family, but they do not use reeds to create their sound. The flute is said to be closest in tone to the human voice and has a very beautiful, highly expressive sound. Recorders can be learned at school and also as an adult, with a wide range of recorders available including the soprano, treble and bass recorder. They have a pure and clean sound. The flute family also includes the smaller piccolo and the larger baritone and bass flutes. These instruments are very convenient and portable and can be played as a solo instrument or part of an ensemble.
The study of flute involves the development of appropriate posture – hand, wrist, shoulder and neck positioning, also the ongoing development of embouchure. The development of breath management and diaphragmatic support to enhance tonal production is a vital aspect of the flute technique. An understanding of tuning-pitch is ongoing and necessary to assist in orchestral and ensemble repertoire. This is appropriate to the individual student and may be related to set examination programs.
A recorder is an excellent instrument being easy to hold, which facilitates the development of fine motor skills in both hands. Valuable skills of note recognition, rhythm patterns, note reading, and understanding music are acquired through the learning of the recorder. Building skills and knowledge will enable the player to perform and enjoy music both as a soloist, or member of an ensemble.