Explore the Instruments of the Orchestra

On this page, you can learn all about each instrument of the orchestra, what they sound like, and even test your skills by identifying instruments in a sound quiz. To start, let’s explore each instrument more in depth.

Click on each instrument to:

  • Hear its name and its sound
  • Watch original Inside the Orchestra videos that feature the instrument: from introduction videos to duets, silly videos to performances.
  • Find additional activities and resources about each instrument.

Now Explore the Instrument Families

Test yourself! Check out the individual instrument families, click through the instruments in each family, and then take a fun quiz to see if you can identify the instruments of the orchestra by their sound!

String Family

The string family instruments make their sound when their strings vibrate, either by pulling the bow across them or plucking them with your fingers.

Woodwind Family

Woodwind family instruments make sound when air vibrates through the instrument, usually caused by the vibrations of a reed.

Brass Family

In the brass family, sound is made when the musician buzzes, or vibrates, their lips into the instrument.

Percussion Family

Percussion family instruments make sound when the instrument is shaken or hit, causing a surface on the instrument to vibrate.


Listen to all the instruments of the orchestra in our Classical Music 101 playlist or search our full playlist library.

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