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Instrument Families String Family: For example, show a picture of the string family and explain that it is the string family because it has strings. Show pictures of each individual instrument using the site below. Pictures should include violin, viola, cello, double bass and harp. Explain that the smaller the instrument the higher the pitches it plays and the bigger the instrument the lower the pitches it plays. In the string family the highest pitch instrument is the violin and the lowest pitch instrument is the double bass. The harp has both short and long strings so it can play relatively high and low. Brass Family: Show students a picture of the brass family and tell them, "This is the brass family." Explain that you have to blow air into the mouthpiece (point to one) to make the instrument sound. Show pictures of each individual instrument and have students repeat the name with you. Pictures should include trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba. Tell students that since trumpets are the smallest they play the highest pitches. Let students guess which instrument will play the lowest pitches in the brass family (tuba). Woodwind Family: Show students a picture of the woodwind family using both single reed and double reed instruments. Explain that the sounds are made by using your breath to vibrate a wooden reed, except for the flute which uses breath blown across the hole in the mouthpiece. Show pictures of each individual instrument and have students repeat the name with you. Pictures should include flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon which are used in "Peter and the Wolf". (You may also want to show them the saxophone picture which would not be a part of the symphony but one they will probably recognize.) Let students guess which instrument will play the highest pitches (flute) and which instrument will play the lowest pitches (bassoon). Percussion Family: Show students a picture of the percussion family. Explain that an instrument you strike or hit with your hand or an object (like a mallet) is a percussion instrument. Show pictures of each individual instrument. Pictures should include tympani, bass drum, snare drum, and cymbals. Let students guess what other instruments might fit into the percussion family (triangle, gong, woodblocks, etc.).
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