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Instruments (English Vocabulary)

ESL Vocabulary for Instruments

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The following page has learning games and example sentences using the following 22 words from the "instruments" category:
Learning about musical instruments enhances one's appreciation for music and enables discussions about music genres.

Memory Game

Pairs: getting ready...

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getting ready...
  • Your mission is to pair pictures with their correct titles in as few a clicks as possible.
  • Click on a card to turn it. Next, try to find its partner by clicking on a second card. (If you fail to find a match with your second click, both cards will turn again.)
  • This is a memory game as well as a vocabulary-learning game.
  • Click on your first card to start. Good luck!
Scoring System

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Example Sentences

saxophone

saxophone icon

a musical instrument in the woodwind family, known for its brass body and single-reed mouthpiece, played by blowing air into it and using keys to produce different pitches

Easy Examples

  • A saxophone is a musical instrument.
  • It makes music when you blow into it and press keys.
  • People play saxophones in bands and concerts.

Harder Examples

  • She played a beautiful saxophone solo during the jazz concert.
  • Saxophones are versatile instruments used in various music genres.
  • He practiced his saxophone scales to improve his technique.

trombone

trombone icon

a brass musical instrument with a long, sliding tube and a large bell, played by changing the length of the tube to produce different notes

Easy Examples

  • A trombone is a musical instrument with a long slide.
  • You move the slide to make different sounds.
  • Trombones are in marching bands and orchestras.

Harder Examples

  • The trombonist performed a powerful solo with the brass band.
  • Trombones are known for their distinctive sliding action.
  • She practiced her trombone exercises to master smooth transitions.

trumpet

trumpet icon

a brass instrument with a flared bell and three valves, played by buzzing the lips into a mouthpiece and pressing the valves to change pitches

Easy Examples

  • A trumpet is a musical instrument with three buttons.
  • You blow into it and press buttons to play music.
  • Trumpets are loud and used in many types of music.

Harder Examples

  • He played a lively trumpet fanfare at the beginning of the ceremony.
  • Trumpets are commonly used in orchestras, marching bands, and jazz ensembles.
  • The sound of a trumpet can be both majestic and jubilant.

tuba

tuba icon

a large, low-pitched brass instrument with a wide bell, played by blowing air through a cup-shaped mouthpiece and pressing valves to change notes

Easy Examples

  • A tuba is a big musical instrument with a round shape.
  • You blow into it and press buttons to make low sounds.
  • Tubas are heavy and part of brass bands.

Harder Examples

  • The tuba player provided a deep and resonant foundation for the orchestra.
  • Tubas are often used to add depth and richness to musical compositions.
  • She practiced her tuba scales to improve her range and control.

violin

violin icon

a stringed musical instrument with four strings, typically played with a bow, producing sound through the vibration of the strings

Easy Examples

  • A violin is a musical instrument with four strings.
  • You use a bow to make music by moving it on the strings.
  • Violins are used in classical music and orchestras.

Harder Examples

  • She performed a heartfelt violin solo at the classical music recital.
  • Violins are essential in orchestras and chamber music ensembles.
  • He tuned his violin carefully before the rehearsal.

xylophone

xylophone icon

a percussion instrument consisting of wooden bars or plates of different lengths, played with mallets to produce musical tones

Easy Examples

  • A xylophone is a musical instrument with wooden bars.
  • You hit the bars with mallets to make sounds.
  • Xylophones are fun to play and make music.

Harder Examples

  • The xylophonist played a catchy melody on the colorful xylophone.
  • Xylophones are commonly used in schools and music education programs.
  • She practiced her xylophone scales to improve her accuracy.

accordion

accordion icon

a portable musical instrument with a bellows and a keyboard or buttons, producing sound when air is squeezed through the bellows and into reeds

Easy Examples

  • An accordion is a musical instrument with keys and a bellows.
  • You squeeze and press keys to play music.
  • Accordions are used in folk music and dance.

Harder Examples

  • He entertained the crowd with lively accordion tunes at the street fair.
  • Accordions are associated with folk, polka, and traditional music.
  • She learned to play the accordion from her grandparents.

banjo

banjo icon

a stringed instrument with a round body, a long neck, and several strings, often used in folk, country, and bluegrass music

Easy Examples

  • A banjo is a musical instrument with a round body.
  • You pluck or strum the strings to make music.
  • Banjos are common in country and bluegrass music.

Harder Examples

  • They played a toe-tapping banjo melody by the campfire.
  • Banjos have a distinctive twangy sound that adds character to songs.
  • He practiced fingerpicking techniques on the banjo.

bell

bell icon

a percussion instrument typically made of metal, producing sound when struck by a clapper or mallet

Easy Examples

  • A bell is a musical instrument that rings when you hit it.
  • Bells come in different sizes and shapes.
  • Bells are used in music and as alarms.

Harder Examples

  • The church bells rang out to announce the wedding ceremony.
  • Bells are used in orchestras, carillons, and as signals in various contexts.
  • She struck the bell with a mallet to produce a resonant tone.

cello

cello icon

a large stringed instrument played with a bow, known for its rich and deep tones, used in classical and orchestral music

Easy Examples

  • A cello is a big musical instrument played with a bow.
  • You press the strings to make deep, rich sounds.
  • Cellos are used in classical music and orchestras.

Harder Examples

  • The cellist performed a soulful cello solo in the symphony orchestra.
  • Cellos are often featured in chamber music and solo performances.
  • He carefully rosin-ed his bow before playing the cello.

clarinet

clarinet icon

a woodwind instrument with a single-reed mouthpiece and a cylindrical body, played by blowing air through the mouthpiece and using keys to change pitches

Easy Examples

  • A clarinet is a musical instrument with a mouthpiece and keys.
  • You blow into it and press keys to make music.
  • Clarinets are used in classical and jazz music.

Harder Examples

  • She played a beautiful clarinet melody in the school band.
  • Clarinetists are valued in classical, jazz, and marching bands.
  • He practiced his clarinet scales to improve his agility.

double bass

double bass icon

a large stringed instrument played with a bow or plucked with the fingers, known for its deep and resonant tones, used in orchestras and jazz ensembles

Easy Examples

  • A double bass is a big string instrument, also called an upright bass.
  • You play deep, low notes with a bow or fingers.
  • Double basses are used in orchestras and jazz bands.

Harder Examples

  • The double bassist provided a strong rhythm in the jazz quartet.
  • Double basses are the largest and lowest-pitched instruments in the orchestra.
  • She tuned her double bass strings before the performance.

drum

drum icon

a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow shell and a membrane (drumhead) stretched over it, played by striking the drumhead with hands, sticks, or mallets

Easy Examples

  • A drum is a musical instrument you hit to make sounds.
  • Drums come in many shapes and sizes.
  • Drums are used in bands and for dancing.

Harder Examples

  • The drummer set the rhythm with a series of well-timed drum beats.
  • Drums are essential in various music genres, including rock, pop, and world music.
  • He practiced drumming patterns to enhance his drumming skills.

electric guitar

electric guitar icon

a stringed musical instrument with an amplified sound, typically played with a pick or fingers, used in rock, blues, and other contemporary music genres

Easy Examples

  • An electric guitar is a musical instrument with strings and pickups.
  • You strum or pick the strings and use an amplifier to make it loud.
  • Electric guitars are used in rock and pop music.

Harder Examples

  • The electric guitarist shredded an impressive solo during the concert.
  • Electric guitars are known for their versatility and wide range of sounds.
  • She adjusted the settings on her amplifier to achieve the desired tone.

french horn

french horn icon

a brass musical instrument with a coiled tube and a flared bell, played by buzzing the lips into a mouthpiece and using valves to change pitches

Easy Examples

  • A French horn is a musical instrument with a curved shape.
  • You blow into it and use valves to change the sound.
  • French horns are in orchestras and brass ensembles.

Harder Examples

  • The french horn player added a warm and melodic touch to the orchestra's performance.
  • French horns are known for their unique and mellow sound.
  • He practiced his french horn scales to master challenging passages.

guitar

guitar icon

a stringed musical instrument with a body, a neck, and six or more strings, played by plucking or strumming the strings with fingers or a pick

Easy Examples

  • A guitar is a musical instrument with strings that you strum or pluck.
  • Guitars come in different styles and are used in many types of music.
  • Guitars are fun to play and sing along with.

Harder Examples

  • They gathered around the campfire, playing acoustic guitars and singing songs.
  • Guitars are one of the most popular and versatile instruments worldwide.
  • She learned to play the guitar by taking lessons from a skilled guitarist.

harmonica

harmonica icon

a small wind instrument with multiple reeds and a series of holes, played by blowing and drawing air through the holes to create musical tones

Easy Examples

  • A harmonica is a small musical instrument you blow into.
  • It makes music when you blow and draw air through it.
  • Harmonicas are easy to carry and used in blues and folk music.

Harder Examples

  • He played a soulful harmonica tune on the street corner.
  • Harmonicas are portable and often used in blues, folk, and rock music.
  • She carried a harmonica in her pocket to play whenever inspiration struck.

harp

harp icon

a large stringed instrument with multiple strings stretched vertically and played by plucking the strings with fingers or thumbs

Easy Examples

  • A harp is a musical instrument with strings that you pluck with your fingers.
  • You can make beautiful music on a harp.
  • Harps are used in classical and Celtic music.

Harder Examples

  • The harpist performed a captivating solo at the elegant ballroom event.
  • Harps are known for their ethereal and angelic sounds.
  • She tuned her harp strings before the orchestral performance.

keyboard

keyboard icon

a musical instrument with a set of keys, typically producing sounds through electronic or acoustic means, used in various genres and settings

Easy Examples

  • A keyboard is a musical instrument with keys you press to make sounds.
  • Keyboards can make many different sounds and are used in bands.
  • Keyboards are fun to play and create music with.

Harder Examples

  • She played a beautiful melody on the electronic keyboard during the concert.
  • Keyboards include pianos, synthesizers, and digital keyboards.
  • He practiced his keyboard skills to perform complex compositions.

maracas

maracas icon

percussion instruments consisting of a pair of handheld shakers, often filled with seeds or beads, creating rhythmic sounds when shaken

Easy Examples

  • Maracas are musical instruments with handles.
  • You shake maracas to make a shaking sound.
  • Maracas are used in Latin and Caribbean music.

Harder Examples

  • The percussionist added a lively rhythm to the band's music with maracas.
  • Maracas are commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean music.
  • She shook the maracas in time with the salsa beat.

piano

piano icon

a keyboard instrument with strings and hammers, played by pressing keys to strike the strings and produce musical notes

Easy Examples

  • A piano is a musical instrument with keys and strings inside.
  • You press the keys to make music on a piano.
  • Pianos are used in classical and popular music.

Harder Examples

  • He played a classical piano piece with great precision and emotion.
  • Pianos are widely used in classical, jazz, and contemporary music.
  • She practiced her piano scales to enhance her finger dexterity.

recorder

recorder icon

a woodwind instrument with a whistle-like mouthpiece and finger holes, played by blowing air into it and covering and uncovering the holes to change pitches

Easy Examples

  • A recorder is a small musical instrument with holes.
  • You blow into it and cover holes to make music.
  • Recorders are used for learning music in school.

Harder Examples

  • She played a sweet melody on the recorder during the school recital.
  • Recorders are often used in beginner music education programs.
  • He learned to read sheet music while practicing the recorder.
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