The Woodwind Family

Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments under the general category of wind instruments. What differentiates these instruments from other wind instruments is the way in which they produce their sound. All woodwind instruments produce sound by splitting an air stream on a sharp edge. Contrary to popular belief, not all woodwind instruments are constructed with wood. The following woodwind instruments are offered:


The flute is the highest-pitched instrument of the beginning band with a bright, clear sound. It is played by blowing air across an opening and moving fingers to change the pitch.

Physical Characteristics: a slight "frown" to the upper lip with no tear drop shape in the middle, agile fingers, and no extreme overbite of the jaw.

Flute Personality Traits: "conscientious", "detailed", and "consistent"


The oboe is similar in appearance to a clarinet, but it is played using a double reed instead of a single reed to produce sound. Soloistic and melodious, the oboe is a unique member of the band and only a few students each year will be selected to play it. Students wanting to play the oboe must take private lessons.

Physical Characteristics: no extreme over or underbite, agile fingers

Oboe Personality Traits: "studious", "dependable", and "diligent"


The bassoon is played with a double reed and is a larger, lower sounding instrument. With its dignified and majestic sound, the bassoon is also a unique member of the band with only a few special students selected to play it each year. Students wanting to learn the bassoon must take private lessons.

Physical Characteristics: a slight overbite, agile fingers, a medium to large hand span.

Bassoon Personality Traits: "serious" and "aspirational"


The clarinet uses a single reed and a mouthpiece to produce its sound. With an extensive range, the rich and lustrous sound of the clarinet is very popular choice for band students.

Phyiscal Characteristics: the ability to make a flat chin, no rounded lower teeth

Clarinet Personality Traits: "focused" and "detailed"

Alto Saxophone

Although it gives the impression of being a brass instrument, the saxophone belongs to the woodwind family and produces its smooth sound with the help of a single reed. All beginners start on the alto saxophone, with some students getting the opportunity to move to the deeper tenor or baritone saxophones at the start of their second year.

Phyiscal Characteristics: the ability to sit up tall, agile fingers

Saxophone Personality Trait: "mellow"