Our new video series “Case Files” gives people of all ages an inside look at each instrument in the orchestra, how they work, and other things professional musicians carry with them. Each Case Files video is 6-10 minutes long, and introduces an ambassador for a featured instrument in the orchestra. This series was produced during the 2020-21 season to replace our education program – Discover Music – and provide a resource for teachers to introduce students to the instruments of the orchestra.  A special thank you to The Nell J. Redfield Foundation and The Sato Foundation for their support of our education programs and this project, and to Tyler Bourns and Bourns Productions for his generosity donating his time to create this video series.

Brass Family

Instruments in the brass family include horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba. Brass players use their lips to create a vibration against a mouthpiece, which is then amplified by their instrument. There are usually valves on the instrument that allow players to change the pitch, but trombone players change pitch by using a slide.





Woodwind Family

Instruments in the woodwind family include flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon. Playerscreate sound by using their mouth to blow into the instrument. Some woodwind instruments use a single reed or double reed, and the instrument amplifies the vibration of the reed. There are keys and holes on the instrument that allow players to change pitch.





Strings Family

Instruments in the string family of an orchestra include violin, viola, cello, and bass. String players create sound on their instruments by getting one or more strings to vibrate, usually through drawing a bow across the string, but sometimes by plucking the string. That vibration is amplified inside the body of the instrument and projected back out. Players can change pitch by moving their fingers up and down the strings.






Percussion Family

Percussion instruments are anything you can scrape, shake, or strike. This family includes both pitched and unpitched instruments, like timpani, marimba, xylophone, cymbals, and bass drum, plus many more! Piano and harp are also sometimes included in the percussion family because of the way they are played, even though they have strings.
We are currently working on percussion Case Files to share with you!