Brass Family Instruments of the Orchestra

Brass Family Instruments of the Orchestra
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This is the fourth lesson in the Instruments of the Orchestra Unit Plan for 5th grade Music students.

LESSON 4: The Brass Family

Duration: Forty minutes

Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with information about the brass family, its members, and their characteristics through the use of a Music software program called Musical Instruments Multimedia Encyclopedia.

Objectives: Students/learners will:

  • Identify the main brass instruments: trumpet, trombone, euphonium/baritone, and tuba
  • Identify and recognize various types of mutes
  • Listen to sounds of the various brass instruments
  • Explore a multimedia encyclopedia for information on the brass family

National Music Standards: See the first lesson in this series, Instruments of the Orchestra: An Elementary Music Unit Plan for Grade 5


  • A Brass instrument for class demonstration (i.e. trumpet)
  • Worksheet on the Brass Instruments and corresponding transparency
  • InFocus machine
  • Student laptops with appropriate software
  • Teacher laptop or PC
  • Overhead projector
  • Large overhead screen
  • Writing utensils for students
  • CD player and CD of the Canadian Brass Quintet Music.

Class Organization: Students will start on the carpet area for the instrument demonstration. They then will go to their desks/tables and will be on their individual laptops. The teacher will be at the front of the class for demonstration but will come around to the students as well. The teacher will be using the overhead and InFocus machine in the front of the classroom for the guided activity.


  • The teacher will have all of the students sit on the carpet area (in chairs if necessary) in a semi-circle.
  • The teacher will then review with the students some of the characteristics of the brass family and show them pictures of each of the instruments in the family. The students will be asked to guess what the instruments are by name.
  • The teacher will then take out the trumpet for the students to see and hear. The teacher will explain how to hold the trumpet, the material it is made out of, and how the sound is produced. The teacher will then play it for demonstration.
  • The teacher then passes the trumpet around to the students to see and explains to the students that they are going to explore the Brass family more by using an “electronic” encyclopedia called Musical Instruments Multimedia Encyclopedia
  • The teacher then will set up the program on the large pull-down screen using the InFocus machine.
  • The students will follow the teacher in opening up the program from their desktops and will be guided through the program. The students will read the entries for the brass instruments aloud as well as the entry on mutes and the various kinds.
  • The teacher will then hand out a worksheet for the students to complete (using the encyclopedia) with the guidance of the teacher via transparency and overhead.
  • When the worksheets have been completed together, he teacher will have the students listen to a few selections of music from the Canadian Brass Quintet CD.
  • The teacher will collect the worksheets for participation evaluation.

Assessment: Students will be assessed on their ability to complete the brass worksheet and will also be assessed informally on their participation by means of a participation rubric.



Musical Instruments Multimedia Encyclopedia-1999. Published by Simply Magazine Inc. Written by: James Romeo: Harvard University PhD in Music


Musical Instruments and the Voice: 50 Ready-To-Use Activities for Grade 3-9 by Audrey J. Adair. Parker Publishing: New York. 1987.

This post is part of the series: Instrument Families of the Orchestra

This is a great unit plan that will get your 5th grade Music students better acquainted with the various types of musical instruments of the orchestra. There are several lessons that incorporate technology as well. Enjoy!

  1. Instruments of the Orchestra Unit Plan and First Lesson
  2. Instruments of the Orchestra: The String Family
  3. Instruments of the Orchestra: The Woodwind Family
  4. The Instruments of the Orchestra: The Brass Family
  5. Instruments of the Classical Orchestra: The Percussion Family