Virtual Concert: Instrument Families

Instrument Family Thumbnail
Hannah Rosholt/MPR

Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will be able to identify the four primary instrument families and list an example of an instrument from each family.

Note to Teachers: Each classroom is unique. Each teacher has their own style to create an experience to meet students’ needs. This lesson is designed to be a simple, no prep lesson that works in most environments. It’s a great activity for a sub or lost-voice day! Please customize the lesson to fit your needs, resources, and teaching style.

ENGAGE students

ASK. “Can you think of three different instruments? Write them down or whisper them to a friend.”

EXPLORE sounds

EXPLAIN. “There are thousands of different kinds of instruments. Instruments make sounds in different ways. Most instruments are put into four groups, or families, based on how they create sounds.”

SING. Sing “Instruments Belong in Four Families” to teach students the definition of each family. You might stand and sing the song between each video to reinforce learning and to stretch! Download the score!





Thanks for learning about the instruments. See learning extensions and adaptations below to test students’ comprehension and enhance their learning.

EXTEND learning

Choose one or more of the following activities to extend learning.

REVIEW. The following Class Notes performances feature a mix of instrument families. Test students’ comprehension by asking them to name the instrument families in each video below.

LEARN. Check out one or all of our instrument demonstrations to learn a little more about each instrument: Marimba, Vibraphone, Hand Drums, Goat Hoof Shaker, Tabla, Mbira, (Percussion), Bassoon, Oboe, Clarinet, Flute (Woodwinds), Violin, Viola, Cello, Guitar (Strings), Tenor Trombone, Alto Trombone, Tuba, and French Horn (Brass).

PLAY. Reinforce the learning objective by utilizing online resources such as instrument family coloring sheets or an instrument scavenger hunt!

Related Lesson Plans

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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