A woodwind is a type of musical instrument that you play by blowing into its mouthpiece. Flutes, clarinets, and oboes are all woodwinds. So are bagpipes—but you might have a hard time convincing your music teacher to let you play bagpipes in the marching band.
Most woodwinds have a mouthpiece with a thin strip of material called a reed that vibrates when air passes. Blowing into a saxophone or clarinet is different than blowing across the opening in a flute or piccolo, but they're all woodwinds. Each requires wind, or a stream of blown air, to play notes. While today most woodwinds are made from metal and other materials, the original woodwinds were wooden—which explains the wood part of the name.
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