The piano has several less known cousins which are important for us to introduce into the music classroom: the celesta, harpsichord and organ.

Show and talk about the different aspects and characteristics of the keyboard instruments. The keyboard instruments are related to each other in that they are controlled by a similarly laid-out key mechanism. Technically, however, they belong to different instrument families according to how they produce sound.

The harpsichord and the piano are string instruments (chordophones). The hammers on the piano strike the strings, while the harpsichord mechanism plucks the string.

The pipe organ is actually a series of wind instruments (aerophones). Wind is blowed through the pipes, sometimes like a whistle, and sometimes through a reed like a woodwind instrument.

The keyboard on the celesta plays bells, just like the Glockenspiel, hence why it can be called a “bell piano”

There are lots more of these interesting points in the music lesson plans on instruments of the orchestra.

Here are some other observations: the piano and the celesta have a single manual (row of keys), whereas some harpsichords and virtually all organs have multiple manuals. You might also notice the various ranges of the instruments – Organs and Pianos have an extremely wide range, while the range on the harpsichord and celesta are much more limited.