Title:   Exploring Musical Instruments of the Orchestra

By:      Natalie Babiak

Grade:            9-12



1.         Students will gain knowledge about the orchestra and its seating arrangement.

2.         Students will identify orchestral instruments and their sounds.

3.         Students will demonstrate knowledge of the use of the computer and internet.



The goals and objectives of this lesson can be met in either the computer lab or a one computer classroom. This lesson is designed to promote Core Curriculum Content Standards and the National Standards in the Arts, Technology and Language Arts Literacy.



Computer(s) with internet access, CD of Microsoft Musical Instruments or Sibelius Instruments, CD of Rossini╣s William Tell Overture, worksheet, questionnaire and pencil.


Anticipatory Set:

The William Tell Overture will be playing as students enter class. The following instructions will be placed on the blackboard:

1.         Please take worksheet (prepared by teacher).

2.         Answer questions on worksheet in section │A▓ as you listen to The William Tell Overture.



1.         Students will complete worksheet.

2.         Discussion will follow, using worksheet as guide.

3.         Students will be guided to computer(s) along with questionnaire and pencil. As the students discover the various instruments and their sounds, they will be asked to complete questions regarding the four families of the orchestra.


Student Understanding:

Have students tell you at least 5 new things they have learned from this lesson. Replay an excerpt from The William Tell Overture and have students respond again to the questions on the worksheet in section │B▓. These worksheets will be turned in and used for assessment.



Students will discuss how they can differentiate the various instruments and how the timbre of these instruments affects musical compositions.



Students can reinforce their knowledge of musical instruments by making an │Orchestra▓ crossword puzzle using www.puzzle-maker.com.

Students can search for websites about instruments and orchestras such as The Guide to Symphony Orchestra Instruments @ www.mathics.duq.edu or Musical Instrument Chart @ www.dsokids.com/2001/instrumentchart.htm.  










1.         Does this piece sound like it is played with a large band or orchestra; or does it sound like an electronic performance (keyboards, computers, etc.)?


A.                                                                                B.





2.         What instruments do you hear in this piece?


A.                                                                                B.










3.         Is a particular mood suggested by the instrumentation of this piece? If so, what is it?


A.                                                                                B.







4.         What are some of the visual images that come to your mind as you listen to this piece?


A.                                                                                B.



















1.         Name the four families of the orchestra.



2.         What is the highest instrument in the woodwind family?



3.         To what family does the French Horn belong to?



4.         How many double reeded instruments are there? Name them.



5.         Name the instruments in the string family from highest to lowest.



6.         What is the lowest instrument in the whole orchestra?



7.         The percussion section is divided into two types of instruments, what are they?



8.         How many instruments are in the Woodwind family? Can you name them?



9.         What instrument is played using a slide? What family does it belong to?



10.       Draw and label a seating arrangement of an orchestra.