Strings or winds?

The children explore the various timbres of wind and string instruments as they imitate the motions of the musicians playing them.

Learning : Timbre wind  / strings


Priority areas of development

Secondary areas of development

  • Physical and motor : develops an awareness of their body


  • Cognitive : explores their
    environment by engaging in
    activities related to the arts
  • Emotional : explores autonomy


  • Language : demonstrates
    phonological awareness


  • Social : Regulates their own behaviour


Prerequisites : none


  • For each child, a wooden baton or stick or a ruler or any other long, thin object that can be used as a recorder or as a bow (for the violin)


  •  An interactive whiteboard, a computer, a tablet or a smartphone


  •  Install the Mazaam app and open the World of Eagles (timbre)


Music to listen to online or to download

Wind: Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, performed by Flûte Alors! (recorders)

Strings : Bartolomeo Campagnoli : Divertimento for solo violin, Op. 18, No. 7, performed by Angèle Dubeau (violin)

Lesson plan

Setting the scene

1. Introduce the activity

“Today, we’re going to discover the different sounds made by wind and string instruments and we’ll imitate the movements of the musicians who play them.”

2. Play the first game in the Mazaam app’s World of Eagles with the children.


1. As a reminder, ask the children:

  • “What are the two families of musical instruments that we’ve just heard?”
    Answer : Wind and string instruments.


  •  “Which instruments belong to the string family?”
    Possible answers : Violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, etc.


  •  “Which instruments belong to the wind family?
    Possible answers : Flute, trumpet,
    saxophone, clarinet, oboe, etc.

2. Give out the sticks and teach the children the motions to imitate a recorder player or a violinist :

  • Recorder player: The stick serves as the recorder. Hold the stick with the fingers of the left hand on the stick’s upper half and the fingers of the right hand on the lower half. Bring the top of the stick close to the chin and move the fingers on it as if playing a recorder.


  •  Violinist: The stick serves as the bow for the “violin.” Raise the left arm and turn the palm of the hand towards the face as if holding a violin. Grasp the “bow” with the fingertips of the right hand and move it back and forth above the left arm as if playing a violin.

3. Explain to the children :

“We’re now going to imitate the movements of a violinist when we hear the violin and the movements of a recorder player when we hear the recorder.”

4. Ask the children to listen to two pieces of music

Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Divertimento for solo violin, Op. 18, No. 7 – one after the other, reminding them to “play” the instrument corresponding to the music they hear.

5. After each piece, ask the children :

“Was there one or more instruments in that piece?”

Divertimento for solo violin: one violin.

Toccata and fugue in D minor: several recorders.

6. If necessary, listen to both pieces again. Tell the children: “This time we’re going to focus on the number of instruments in each piece.”

To go further

  • Divide the group into two: recorder players and violinists.


  •  Explain to the children: “When we hear the recorder, only the recorder players will pretend to play their instrument. When we hear the violin, it’ll be the violinists’ turn to play.”


  • Listen again to short selections from the pieces and guide the children in each group to “play” at the right time.


  • Listen to a piece in which the violin and the recorders play either alternately or together. Tell the children: “This time, we’re going to hear both the violins and the recorders. At times they’ll play one after the other. At other times, they’ll play together. You should try to play your instrument whenever you hear it in the music.”

Suggested piece of music : strings and winds:

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 Recorders, Strings and Continuo in D minor, RV 535: II. Allegro, performed by Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute


Wind : Georg Philipp Telemann: Suite in A minor for Recorder, TWV 55:a2, II. Réjouissance, performed by Ensemble Masques (recorders)