This is a Clilstore unit. You can link all words to dictionaries.

The instruments of the orchestra

In this lesson, we are going to learn about the main musical instruments in the orchestra, and the different families they are divided into. 

Which instruments make up the orchestra?

Why are they divided into different families?

How they produce sound?

I'm sure you will be able to answer these questions (and more) after this lesson. 



You are going to learn some new vocabulary about musical instruments, but don't worry, meanwhile I will help you with this "Illustrated glossary" (Green buttons: Illustrated glossary-1 and Illustrated glossary-2). It will be very helpful during the lesson. You can consult, as well, the map of the orchestra (green button). 



1.- Try to answer these questions.

Think of what you know now about musical instruments.   

  1. How many musical instruments do you know?
  2. And how many English names of instruments do you know?
  3. Think about these three instruments you have surely seen or listen before: guitar, flute, drum….:


2.- Now, in groups, share about exercise 1, and try to make a list of musical instruments that you know.  

Watch this video now. Remember you can download a Glossary and a map of the orchestra that will help you a lot. 


Now, a little bit of language support. This is the text of the video regarding the 4 families of instruments of the orchestra. Read it carefully. Remember that you can click any word you know to consult its meaning, and you have the glossary as well.


The method used to correctly classify them is, by the way, the instruments produces sound.

Once the way an instrument produces sound is determined, it can be placed in one of the families of instruments. We’ll start with the orchestra’s four families of instruments.

The STRINGS produce sound by causing a string to vibrate using three methods: bowing, plucking and strumming. Examples include the violin, viola, cello and contrabass.

The WOODWIND produces sound by simply blowing air or wind into their instruments. Sometimes the air is used to vibrate a single reed as with the clarinet, or a double reed as with the oboe and bassoon. The air itself may even be used to vibrate and cause sound as a flute does.

The BRASS family produces sound by buzzing the lips into mouthpieces. Examples include the trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba.

The PERCUSSION family all produce sound by either hitting, shaking or scraping. Examples include snare drum, bass drum, crash cymbals, xylophone and timpani.

These four families of instruments make up the orchestra.


3.- I'm sure you're ready now to do this exercise. 

You can find it here: Fill in the gaps with the correct word


4.- Pairs activity

Discuss with your partner about exercise 3. Was it difficult? Did you have all the information you needed?


3.- Let's play

You are going to be provided 2 sets of cards: 

- green cards, with the name of the four families

-  blue cards, some concepts, verbs, nouns that you have to match with the green cards.


5.- Complete this concept map about the four families of instruments, including this information:

- The name of the family is...

- It produces sound by....

- This family includes...

4.- Now, let's checked what you all have learnt. You will have to complete these sentences in as many different ways as you can. 

The _______ belongs to the _______ family.

The _______produces sound by _______.





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