All About the Instruments – Brass and Percussion Families


We’ve explored the string and woodwind families of the orchestra and now it’s time to have some fun with the other two families of the orchestra – the brass and percussion instruments.



The Brass Family

The sound starts on a brass family instrument when a musician buzzes their lips into the mouthpiece to get the air inside vibrating. The main brass instruments in an orchestra are the trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba. These instruments are located along the back of the orchestra because you otherwise may not be able to hear the other instruments over their large, bright sound.


The Percussion Family

The percussion family contains hundreds of instruments, though only about 10-20 are used regularly in an orchestra. They are any instrument you strike or shake to make a sound. The percussion section usually has 1-5 musicians at a concert with one musician who only plays the timpani and none of the other instruments.


Explore the Orchestra

Click on each instrument below to hear it play. Once you’ve explored, take our fun quiz to see if you can match the instrument with its sound – or save the quiz for another day and keep listening to your heart’s content!


Easy DIY Trumpet

Check out this simple trumpet DIY made with things you likely have around your house. Directions can be found on this site.


Brass and Percussion Playlists

Get ready to really jam with these (mostly) fast and loud pieces of music.