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Woodwind instruments use vibrating air to produce many different musical sounds. Despite their name, they are not all made of wood. They may also be made from metal, bone and ivory. They look like long sticks, and players blow air into them to create sounds. The different shape and materials of each instrument help to create its unique sound. Some woodwind family members that play in the orchestra are the flute, the clarinet, the oboe, and the bassoon. Sometimes the saxophone also joins the orchestra.
Woodwinds can be played either as flutes or with a reed. Flutes have a hole that the player blows across. The air vibrating through the instrument creates a sound. Something similar happens with instruments that have a reed attached to them - like the oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. A player blows air through the reed, the vibrating reed sets the air inside the instrument in motion, and this creates the sound.
The orchestra often has two, three, or four of each of these kinds of woodwinds. They often play solos in a big piece for the whole orchestra, because woodwind tone carries well and can be heard even when there are many other instruments playing.