“What’s a xylophone?”
“How does a violin work?”
“This instrument is weird, what is it?”
“What’s the secret to a perfect drumroll?”

If you’ve ever heard any of these questions (or wondered yourself!) and did not know the answer, you’ve come to the right place!

We asked the wonderful Albert’s Band to introduce families to the orchestra from their homes, which will answer some of the above questions.

In the following video series, members of Albert’s Band will present their instruments, show you how they make their sound, and play you some short pieces. We’ll be adding lots more videos over the following weeks, so come back to learn about the next section of the orchestra!

NEW: Oboe
NEW: Tuba
French horn
Double Bass

Also, make sure to have a look at our My Great Orchestral Adventure booklet for a brief introduction to each instrument before you watch the videos!


Claire introduces us to the wonderful world of percussion, showing us the xylophone, snare drum and the marimba. We’re even given the secret to the perfect drumroll!

Once you’ve watched, why not check out some pieces with great percussion sections:

Mars (from The Planets) by Holst
West Side Story Symphonic Dances (Mambo section) by Bernstein
The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Variations (Percussion) by Britten
Bolero by Ravel
Rodeo by Copland


In the following video, Albert’s Band member Sophie shows us her violin and gives us a taster of the different sounds it can make. We love the sound of the bees!

Now go and have a listen to some of these pieces and their beautiful violin parts:

Ladies in Lavender by Hess
Piano Trio in A Minor by Tchaikovsky
Violin Concerto by Sibelius
I Will Survive by Igudesman and Joo
Violin Sonata No 3 by Grieg


In this video, Seb explains why trumpets have been used to carry messages for hundreds of years and shows us the many sounds it can make!

Seb has also made a list of some great trumpet pieces which you can check out below:

Gloria in excelsis deo by Andre
Trumpet Concerto by Hummel
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? by Al Hirt
The Asteroid Field by John Williams
When You’re Smiling by Louis Armstrong

French horn

In this video, Richard introduces us to the French horn and even summons up a dragon with his playing!

Once you’ve watched the video, have a listen to these great French horn pieces selected by Richard:

Horn Concerto No.1 by Strauss
Bohemian Rhapsody by The London Horn Sound
For No One by The Beatles
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Nocturne by Mendelssohn
Princess Leia’s Theme from Star Wars by John Williams


In this video, Jon shows us how the trombone can make silly noises, heroic sounds and soft melodies. The song Mardi Gras in New Orleans will get you up and dancing!

Having had so much fun listening to Jon’s playing, why not listen to some other great trombone pieces:

Thoughts of Love by Pryor
Urbieplicity by 21 Trombones in the 21st Century
Symphony No. 2 by Mahler
Tommy Dorsey playing Well, Git It!
Trombone Circus by German Brass


In this video, Lawrence takes us on a journey and summons up a whole host of characters with his bassoon!

Peter and the Wolf: The Grandfather by Prokofiev
Bassoon Sonata by Saint-Saëns
Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon by Poulenc
Bassoon Concerto in E Minor by Vivaldi
The Rite of Spring (opening) by Stravinsky

Double Bass

In this video, Alice introduces us to the MASSIVE double bass that she keeps in her living room and shows us all the different ways it can make sounds.


In this session, Hannah shows us what the flute sounds like, how it works and the very important job that it has in the orchestra…

Here are some songs Hannah suggests to listen to if you like the flute:

► Andante in C Major, K.315 by Mozart
► Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov
► Flute Solo Improvisation by Jethro Tull
L’apres Midi D’un Faune by Debussy
Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev


In this session, Harry introduces us to the clarinet and its role in the orchestra.

Here’s what to listen to if you enjoyed the many sounds the clarinet can make:

Artie Shaw’s Clarinet Concerto by Artie Shaw
Gerald Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto played by John Denman
Sing Sing Sing by Eddie Daniels
Peacock Tales by Anders Hillborg performed by Martin Frost
Brahm’s Clarinet Quintey performed by Sharon Kam
Stranger on the Shore by Acker Bilk


In this session, Lauren tells us all about the history of the oboe and the very important job that it has in the orchestra…

Now you’ve watched Lauren play, have a listen to some stand-out oboe pieces listed below:

Swan Lake Suite by Tchaikovsky
Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel
Crazy for You by Madonna
Oboe Blues by Yusef Lateef
Handbags and Gladrags by Stereophonics


Mike shows us how to play the tuba. In fact, he even reveals how we can make music in our own back gardens!

Once you’ve finished the video, have a listen to some of Mike’s favourite tuba pieces:

Montagues And Capulets from Prokofiev’s Romeo And Juliet
Fnugg by Øystein Baadsvik
Tubby the Tuba by George Kleinsinger and Paul Tripp
Brooklyn by Youngblood Brass Band
Jabba the Hutt by John Williams


Support us through Coronavirus

This is a really difficult time for many of you and we wish you all the best for this period, which is a test to us all.

Some of you will be in a position to support organisations like us to help us make sure we are here for everyone once this situation is over. Please consider joining the others who are supporting the Royal Albert Hall right now.