Woodwind Instruments


To play a woodwind instrument you must:

  • have all your front teeth (top and bottom), and

  • be able to reach the keys on your instrument

This is normally around school year 3 to 4, but every child is different. If unsure, speak to the woodwind teacher in school.

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“Woodwind instruments make their sound when you blow air into or across the mouthpiece. Most were originally made from wood, although today they can be made from metal or plastic. The bigger the instrument the lower pitch sound they make.”


You can play the flute from year 3. You’ll start learning on the fife (a smaller version of the flute) and learn the basics of making sound, finger position and music reading. Then you’ll move on to the metal flute we see in orchestras and bands. As you progress you can play other members of the flute family, like piccolos, alto and bass flutes, at area music centres.



The clarinet is a popular and versatile single reed instrument part of the largest family of the woodwinds. Students start on the Bb clarinet from year 3. But in a few years you can be playing bass clarinet in one of our area music centre bands.



You can play a wide range of music styles on a saxophone. It has a single reed like the clarinet, but is made of brass. These instruments share many features and students sometimes play it as a second instrument after playing the clarinet for a few years. You can learn the alto saxophone from Year 6 not before, as it weighs 3.7kg!



The oboe is the highest pitch member of the double reed woodwind instruments. It makes a clear unique and strong sound. We need more oboe players, and students taking up this instrument will be considered very highly in ensembles and orchestras!


The bassoon is the lowest pitched double reed instrument and has great character. It often plays the all-important bass line in ensembles, but is also a melodic solo instrument. You can start lessons on mini bassoons from year 5.