Woodwinds are a type of musical instrument that create their sound when a musician blows air into or across a mouthpiece. The name derived from the fact that at one point in history, all of the instruments in this family were in fact made out of wood. Today other materials, such as metal or plastic, are used in the construction of the instrument. Woodwinds can be divided up into two main types of instruments: flute instruments and reed instruments. Flute instruments create sound when air is blown across an edge in the instrument. Reed instruments use a thin piece of wood, called a reed, that vibrates when air is blown past it. New research suggests that playing a woodwind instrument changes the shape and power of the brain, and can be used to improve cognitive skills. This includes bettering your mathematical ability, improving reading comprehension and enhancing your hand-eye coordination.