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Play like a pro with a great selection of Woodwind Instruments & Accessories

From the sultry and smooth sounds of a jazz band saxophone to the bright, penetrating tone of the oboe in a classical orchestra, woodwinds have a place in nearly every style of music. If you have the lung capacity to make beautiful music with the power of your own breathing, then you may want to take a look at the vast selection of Woodwind Instruments & Accessories available.

What is a woodwind instrument?

The term “woodwind” may be considered a bit dated. In earlier times a woodwind generally referred to any instrument made from wood which required the musician to blow in order to produce a sound. As the “wind” from the players breath causes a vibration in either the tube or reed of the instrument (depending on the type of woodwind), it creates a uniquely pleasing tone, hence the name “woodwind”.

Of course today these instruments are often manufactured from a variety of different materials. However, according to historians woodwinds are among some of the earliest musical instruments known to have been discovered and played by early civilizations, so it stands to reason that after all this time the name has stuck around.

Types of woodwind instruments

The woodwind family of instruments is very large, and ranges is size and style from the enormous baritone saxophone that is a staple of marching bands to the palm-sized harmonica that you might find playing lonely, bluesy tunes around an open campfire. Here are a few of the most popular types of woodwind instruments.

The saxophone

The saxophone (or just “sax” for short) is one of the most popular woodwinds, made famous by nearly every generation from the big jazz orchestras and smokey blues beatniks of the mid 20th century straight through to the rock n’ roll 80’s and beyond.

The sax comes in a number of different sizes and styles. The baritone sax is the largest, and most often found in orchestras or big jazz bands, while the tenor saxophone is next in line, and quite at home in rock bands or modest jazz ensembles.

The alto and soprano saxophones round out the family on the smaller end of the scale, with the alto sax in particular being a great starting point for learners with its more manageable size and easier handling.

The flute

The flute is generally considered to be a more reverent woodwind in contrast to the saxophone. Its softer tone plays well in classical orchestras and chamber music, although it is a staple of the marching band as well. The flute is believed to be one of the oldest woodwinds, dating back over forty thousand years!

Of course no instrument is truly ever relegated to one corner of the music world, as Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson proved by taking his rock n’ roll flute playing to the top of the charts throughout the 1970’s and beyond.

The clarinet

The clarinet is another favourite among young woodwind beginners, and a standard in orchestras and marching bands. It is a single reed instrument that plays in the key of Bb—often a recommended key for new woodwind learners—and its capacity to be manufactured in different sizes allows it to grow along with young players as they develop in both skill and stature.

The recorder

Most school children have their first encounter with a recorder very early on in life. It is both very economical to purchase and very easy to pick up and play relative to other woodwinds, which makes it a staple for elementary age music programs everywhere.

Woodwind accessories

Keeping your woodwind instrument in top shape and ready to play is made easy with a number of convenient must-have accessories for any serious woodwind musician. If your woodwind is a reed instrument, then it is always handy to have a few spare reeds available. They do break or wear out, and must be replaced at regular intervals.

You’ll also want to keep your woodwind instrument clean—both inside and out. Special cloths and brushes are designed to clean the tubes and hollow areas inside a woodwind. It’s also important to keep any moving parts such as keys clean and oiled/lubricated as necessary.

Larger woodwinds such as the saxophone or oboe may also require a strap to hold them in place while playing. In particular those playing in a marching band will want to invest in a strap that offers both comfort and quality while playing on the go!