Unit 1, LESSON 3:


Central Focuses:


The central focus is students will recognize different families of classical instruments.


Learning objectives: 

  • Students will identify musical timbre through classical instruments families by sight (woodwind, brass, percussion, strings). (MU:Pr4.3)
    • Brass
    • Woodwind
    • String
    • Percussion



The focuses of this unit are to guide students to explore self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. 

  • Students will be able to discover their roles, contributions, and importance of sharing and making decisions as a group.
  • Students will develop reflection and evaluation skills ("I notice"), gratitude, and appreciation ("I value"), as well as a sense of curiosity and the ability to give constructive feedback ("I wonder"). This tool can help students improve self-confidence and engagement and help them open to the ideas and perspectives of others.


 TIMBRE/TONE COLORS Classical Music Instruments


Key Questions:
  • What do you notice about how the instruments were grouped into families?
  • What are some ways to describe tone color/timbre?
  • Do we all experience the same feelings when we hear different tone colors?

Class format: ftf Think/ Pair /Share, Modeling, Discussion Questions

Entrance Task/Check-In: (be sure to review virtual class norms)

Activity 1: Four Families of Classical Instruments

Divide the class into four groups. Each group will watch each family's videos and answer the questions below. Note to teachers: Please carefully consider assigning students to different groups. Mixing students with talkers and non-talkers, high and low social IQs should be put into consideration. 


Teacher-led Instruction (“I do”):
Teacher briefly introduces students to instruments that are included as a part of the classical orchestra. Explain that these instruments are classified into instrument families based on what they are made of and how they produce sound. Describe different tone colors: bright, light, thin, nasal versus dark, heavy, deep, thick.  

Independent Practice (“You do”) or Group-work with deliverable:

Music & SEL - Relationship Skills & Responsible Decision-Making:

Divide students into four groups – one for each instrument family. They will watch the demonstration videos for their group,

Name the instruments and describe the tone colors of the instruments:

  • Name instruments:
    • Brass: trumpet, trombone, euphonium, horn, tuba
    • Woodwind: piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone
    • Strings: violin, viola, cello, bass
    • Percussion: bass drum, timpani, cymbals, maracas, tambourine
  • Describe the the colors of the instruments:
    • Bright, light, thin, nasal 
    • Dark, heavy, deep, thick

and fill out the Google Doc for their instrument family.


Guided/Collaborative Practice (“We Do”):
Discuss the results of the jigsaw.  Have individuals from each group share.  Ask students what their favorite instruments were based on timbre/tone color.

Activity 2


Guided/Collaborative Practice (“We Do”):
Discuss the results of the jigsaw.  Have individuals from each group share.  Ask students what their favorite instruments were based on timbre/tone color.

  • During this process, students may use sentence starters such as "I notice...," "I value...," and "I wonder..." as an assessment tool to find out what students think/believe, feel, or understand/apprehend about a given topic. It provides a positive framework for students to work together collaboratively.

Questions :

  • I notice more boys play brass instruments than girls.
  • I wonder if violins can play rock and roll music or just classical music.
  • I value my peers' putting in their best efforts when playing their instruments to make the ensemble sound better.
  • When you listened to the instruments, how did you feel? Can you relate the tone colors to the feelings? (i.e., Do specific timbres make you feel a certain way?)
    • Terms: Sad, happy, scared, pleasant, nervous, relaxed, excited.
  • Each of you writes your answers (favorite instrument) on a piece of paper:
    • Instrument - based on how the instrument produces sound, then
    • tone color - feelings
    Lay the papers on the floor. Find and discuss similar and different answers. Note that there is no wrong answer. Collect your answers and share with the class the instruments you have chosen.

Independent Practice (“You do”) or Group-work with deliverable:
Individually, have students fill out this reflection on the group work process.

  • In your group, was there anyone open to others' ideas? Was there anyone (do not mention names) who opposed others' ideas without reason? How did someone in your group value your ideas? Even though each of you has different answers, how did the group build supportive relationships?

SPED Supports

Allow SPED students to share verbally or to draw responses.
Students may sign with hand signs by modeling the teacher (no notation).
Depending on ability level, they may abstract just a chunk of the song using manipulatives.  
They may also utilize a feelings chart when discussing musical style and feelings.


  • Google froms/Exit Ticket
  • Self-Reflection
  • FlipGrid (optional)


Summative - Unit Summative will come at the end of Lesson 3.