Christchurch School of Music

Woodwind Instruments

Woodwinds are a range of musical instruments that make their sound when a musician blows air into or across the mouthpiece. They get their name from the fact that most of them were once made of wood. Today many are made of other materials such as metal or plastic.

  • LEARN! Recorder

    The recorder is a great instrument for children to start their musical training on any time from 6 years old. It is inexpensive, lightweight and has a simple design and is an easy instrument for children to master. Similarities in fingering make it very easy for children to move on to other woodwind instruments. The recorder is not just for beginners, as there is a wide variety of music written specifically for the recorder.

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  • LEARN! Flute

    The flute is popular, versatile, affordable, readily portable, and unparalleled for its expressive colour and the sheer beauty of its clear bellbird-like sound. With a curved head joint, students are also able to start learning the flute earlier than most other woodwind instruments, usually around age 7. Learning through CSM means that students will have the unique opportunity to try the piccolo, alto flute and bass flute.

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  • LEARN! Clarinet

    The clarinet enjoys great popularity for many reasons. It is a wonderfully portable and versatile instrument played in many different styles of music. The clarinet is relatively small and lightweight, so children can usually start learning from around 8 and tend to make fairly rapid progress once they master the art of blowing. The clarinet’s plaintive, clear sound can be perfect for a romantic melody or when agitated for creating angular accented textures and effects. They can make a surprisingly loud sound or play incredibly softly.

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  • LEARN! Oboe

    The oboe has a beautiful, slightly haunting sound and is well worth the effort it takes to master. The oboe is an integral part of the wind section in the orchestra and is often featured as a soloist in classical music. The name of the instrument, coming from a root meaning “loud wood”, will come as no surprise to orchestral music fans as the oboe can be heard soaring above the orchestra. Students often move onto the oboe from other woodwind instruments, but can start learning from around 10.

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  • LEARN! Bassoon

    Often called the “clown of the orchestra” due to its ability to sound “comic”, the bassoon can vary from silly to melancholy and could be described as a veritable chameleon. As the bassoon is the largest (and lowest) of the woodwind instruments, students often move to the bassoon from another instrument. Generally students can start learning the bassoon at around age 11-12, but as it is quite a large instrument that can depend on the size of the student’s hands. Like oboists, bassoonists are always in demand, but students choosing this wonderful instrument should be aware that it requires a bit of extra practice to master.

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  • LEARN! Saxophone

    The saxophone is always popular, particularly with students who love jazz, but the tone and music of the classical saxophone shouldn’t be overlooked. Most students start learning on the alto saxophone which is the most versatile and has the largest repertoire, but CSM also offers soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones for hire. Although the saxophone is only occasionally used in orchestral arrangements, CSM students can opt to play the saxophone in jazz, rock or saxophone only ensembles as well as in our range of wind ensembles and concert band. Generally students need to be at least age 9 in order to be large enough to play the alto sax.

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