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Woodwinds vs. Brass



Woodwinds vs. Brass
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.68

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cup-shaped, flute-like, flutists, highest-pitched, Merrick, piccolo, piped, trombone, warm-up, warm-ups, pressing, section, clarinet, lowest, mouthpiece, pressed
     content words:    Wendy Wood, Barry Brasso, Sara Saxon, Xavier Fone


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Woodwinds vs. Brass
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     On the right side of the band room, Wendy Wood sucked on a reed. It was a key part of her clarinet. The other woodwind players had reeds in their mouths, too. The reeds were thin, flexible strips of wood. Damp reeds make better music than dry reeds.
 
2     The flutists -- whose flutes do not require reeds -- were the only members of the woodwind section not wetting anything. Instead, they held their flutes up and to the side. They blew across the hole while pressing different keys. It was part of their warm-up exercises. The other woodwind players slipped their reeds into place. Reeds fit into the mouthpieces of the clarinets, oboes, and bassoons. Wendy blew through her mouthpiece. She pressed the keys on her long, black clarinet and made different notes come out.
 
3     On the left side of the room, Barry Brasso warmed up in the brass section. The brass section was made up of trombones, trumpets, French horns, and one tuba. Their mouthpieces were cup-shaped. Players placed their lips inside the cups to blow. They had to make their lips buzz to play their horns. Only three of those horns had valves for changing notes. Barry changed notes on his trombone by moving his slide in and out. It was fun, but sometimes he hit the person sitting in front of him. He had to be careful with the slide.
 
4     In the center of the room sat the saxophone players. They were between the woodwind and the brass sections. Their instruments were brass, but because saxophones are played with a single reed and a mouthpiece like a clarinet, they are considered woodwinds -- but just barely. Sara Saxon and Xavier Fone huddled together like sheep encircled by wolves. Someday they would get out of the marching band. They would join a jazz or blues band and shine!
 
5     In the back of the band room stood the percussion section with their drums, cymbals, and other rhythm instruments. Those players kept to themselves. Wendy, Barry, Sara, and Xavier stayed away from them. How could you trust a musician who didn't use air to play his instrument?

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