4 Musical Instrument Families

Part One - Introduction

Course Introduction

Teaching Plan

Target Learners: P.3 students

Size of class: 20

Learning mode: in-class

Learning materials: words, images, and videos

Learning Objectives

  • LO1: Identify four types of musical instrument families 
  • LO2: Distinguish pieces for each selected instrument
  • LO3: Explain construction, playing posture and characteristics of each selected instrument

Part Two - Teaching Materials

Course Overview




Famous Piano Pieces:

Fantasie Impromptu Op. 66 

(composed by Chopin)

performed by Yundi Lee

La Campanella

(composed by Liszt)

performed by Yundi Lee


The piano is a stringed instrument. Its contains 5 general structural and mechanical components of either grand or vertical pianos. These are:

  1. the case of the wing-shaped grand piano or the cabinet of the vertical or upright piano
  2. the soundboard and the ribs and bridges


        -  the soundboard amplifies the vibrations of the strings, which are transmitted through bridges

 3.   the cast iron plate

      -  it is installed over the soundboard and pinblock, for attaching legs and tuning pins and provides the strength to anchor the strings under tension

 4.   the strings

      -  the 220 to 240 strings of the piano are attached to hitch pins along the curved edge of the cast iron plate and to tuning pins across the front of the piano, roughly parallel to the keyboard

5.   the keys, hammers, and piano action or mechanism

Sources: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Piano.html#ixzz4ybZOJ4sx

Playing posture

A row of levers which are pressed by the fingers

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_instrument


  • it can be played solo or accompaniment for other instruments and the voice 
  • the name piano is actually short for pianoforte, which in Italian means "soft-loud" 
  • pianos are touch -sensitive instruments, and in general, the better the quality of the piano, the greater the touch-sensitivity, and the greater the range of expressive possibilities •
  • the control of dynamics in a piano is in the keys themselves
  • it does take a fair degree of skill and practice to be able to gaugehow much pressure it will take to play a note at a given volume

Source: http://www.pianofinders.com/pianomanual/PianoUnique-print.htm





  • Brass Tubing bent twice into an oblong shape

Source: http://jaz.wikia.com/wiki/Trumpet_-_Construction

Playing posture

  • Blowing air through closed lips 
  • “Buzzing” sound 
  • Fingers cover certain valves to obtain various pitches
  • Advanced – pitch can be further changed by changing the lip aperture and tension

Source: http://jaz.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Trumpet


  • Shorter the tube length, smaller the instrument, higher the sound 
  • Other instruments of brass family include horn, trombone, tuba 
  • Trumpet is the highest sounding member

Source: https://www.mydso.com/dso-kids/learn-and-listen/instruments/trumpet


Family :

Flute belongs to woodwinds.

Origin :

The word 'flute' comes from the Latin word 'flare' which means to flow.



Sample pieces

Canon flute performance 

Takamatsu Rina

Classical music

"Sonata Solo Flute in A Minor Fl 02"


Three pieces are taken from a length of a metal tube. 

How to play

The player blows air across the Lip Plate in the mouthpiece to produce a sound that can be either soft and mellow or high and piercing.




A flute has three registers.

Source: https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Concert_flute/Sound_Characteristics/

Low register

B3 – B4

The lowest notes can sound rather dull, dry and hollow which gives them a melancholy character.

Middle register

C5 – B5

The flute sounds mellow, light, wafting, bright and rich. 

These characteristics are often used for solo work

In quiet passages the flute’s middle register sounds particularly graceful.

Upper register

C6 – D7

The higher notes possess great brilliance and can sound penetrating and shrill.

Suitable with the violins

Fulfilling precisely this task in practically every orchestral work.

Solo performance.



The violin is belonging to string family.



Violins are likely to have been developed from a number of other string instruments of the 15th and 16th centuries


Materials: wood (glued)

Body: hollow body as a resonating box for the sound. Four strings made of animal gut, nylon, or steel are wrapped around pegs at one end of the instrument and attached to a tailpiece at the other. They are stretched tightly across a bridge to produce their assigned pitches.

Playing Posture

it is held under the chin, resting on the shoulder.


The violin is the soprano voice in the string family. The violin has a lovely tone that can be soft and expressive or exciting and brilliant.

Easy Practice

Question 1

Which FAMILY does PIANO belong to?

  • String
  • Woodwinds
  • Keyboard
  • Brass

Question 2

Which FAMILY does VIOLIN belong to?

  • Keyboard
  • Woodwinds
  • Brass
  • String

Question 3

Do you know which instrument plays this music?


  • Trumpet
  • Violin
  • Piano
  • Flute

Question 4

Do you know which instrument plays this music?


  • Paino
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Trumpet

Concept Applications

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Mayer's Principle of Multimedia Learning

Emotional State

Emotional interaction

  • What makes students to learn Music more effectively, efficiently, happily and leisurely? 
  • Why students become emotionally attached when learning Music?
  • Can students just simply memorize all the theories without digesting related information?

Indirect emotion detection

  • To infer and predict students’ behavior 
  • To predict students’ willingness and readiness to learn Music theory
  • To predict how will they respond during the lesson