Teacher Hub

Nuvo WindStars – musicianship made simple

Written by Tom Wild26/03/24

One of the most fulfilling experiences in a musician’s life is playing alongside others in ensembles. Whether it’s the intimacy of a small chamber performance or the huge team effort of an orchestral concert, making music as part of a group can seem like a privilege reserved for those with some level of experience on their instruments. After all, surely to have a chance of putting a piece with multiple moving parts together, everyone needs a decent base level of ability, right?

‘Not so fast!’, say Nuvo.

Nuvo was established in 2008, aiming to eliminate the trope of students tediously practising scales alone before engaging in collaborative play with their peers. They have devoted themselves to allowing young musicians to learn from scratch alongside their classmates instead. Learning their first instrument within a group setting grounds students in a properly musical environment, encouraging them to appreciate it as something more than just blowing air through an object to make noise (although I think that’s pretty fun in itself).

On a more serious note, there are good reasons for Nuvo’s range to feature wind instruments in particular. Wind instruments can be found in almost every musical genre, with their versatility empowering exploration of a wide range of styles, from classical to jazz to contemporary styles and beyond, with different technical aspects to learn. Moreover, the physical interaction with the instrument, whether it be the gentle breath needed for a flute or the more powerful embouchure required for a brass instrument, fosters a deep connection between the player and their music.

There are also health benefits to the wind playing; they require controlled breathing techniques, which can strengthen the lungs and improve respiratory function over time and the precise fingering systems can help students improve their fine motor skills.

The Nuvo WindStars method is designed with all these principles in mind. In Nuvo’s own words:

‘WindStars is a simple, effective, and affordable way for primary school kids to experience the joy of playing music together. Through WindStars, children learn to play a musical instrument and develop a life-long love of music at an early age.’

We are hugely proud to have been Nuvo's official distributor since they arrived in the UK, helping to bring these practical, durable and accessible instruments into the hands of thousands of young musicians in schools and music hubs.

Our Nuvo instruments range

Nuvo's design process starts by taking a fresh look at the form, mechanisms and materials commonly found in traditional instruments, many of which have their design roots in the 1800s. They aim to manufacture instruments which 'respectfully preserve the musicality of traditional instruments while adding modern innovations that make learning more effective, especially for children'.

Their instruments are lightweight, durable, and easy to play, making them perfect for young beginners. Nuvo also make each of them available in various colours, adding an element of fun and personalization for the young musicians.

Nuvo Recorder


Nuvo's take on an entry-level classic, available in fun colours and including reward rings, a fun feature to help kids celebrate reaching learning milestones.

Nuvo Recorder+


The recorder becomes easier to play by adding silicon flap keys to ensure the holes are always covered. This creative adaptation opens up all sorts of opportunities for less able children. It’s a simple idea when you think about it, but one that only Nuvo has!

Nuvo Dood


A fun way to introduce single reed skills at an early age, and a natural next step for children playing the recorder. The DooD has a clarinet-like mellow tone.

Nuvo Toot


For a child ready to progress from the recorder, the TooT is a perfect next step to ultimately playing the flute.

Nuvo jFlute


Weighing in at about half the weight of a traditional flute, the jFlute plays chromatically with a standard flute fingering down to low D and, if required,  can be upgraded with a C foot joint.

Nuvo Student Flute

Student Flute

Also roughly half the weight of a typical flute, fully chromatic, and with a straight head joint, the Student Flute has silicone pads for comfortable playing, also eliminating any issues caused by nickel allergies.

Nuvo Clarineo


A junior clarinet in the key of C and ideal for young beginners. Much lighter and smaller than a Bb clarinet with easy finger stretches, but still with a fully chromatic 3 and a half octave range

Nuvo jHorn


A revolutionary brass training instrument suitable for beginners and casual players of any age, the jHorn offers the opportunity to learn important brass playing skills from as young as four years old.

What is Nuvo WindStars?

WindStars is a book-based program with extra music and materials available online. All the materials have been created by highly experienced music educators and are easily accessible for teachers with no previous experience with wind instruments. It provides a holistic and cost-effective option for generalist and music-specific educators to teach young students the basics of musicianship.

Notation Systems

The WindStars books feature two different types of notations, designed to make them usable for a wider range of learners. One is standard, staff-based musical notation, and the other is Nuvo’s bespoke iconic notation system, as shown in the sample below:

There are three levels of WindStars:

Level 1 - Designed for ages 5-9, with an emphasis on Sound Before Sight. Level 1 books are written for the just the DooD and TooT instruments. Intended for the general music classroom, level 1 encourages students to learn by ear as much as possible and features only the simplest of tunes. This level is available in either standard or iconic notation. Students will use instruments to explore their own musical creativity, develop fine and gross motor skills, and proper playing techniques.

We offer a handy classroom pack for level 1, including the student and teacher books as well as 24 instruments for around £650, making this an excellent and valuable program for any young music class.

Level 2 - Designed for ages 6-10, with an emphasis on transitioning to notation. Level 2 books are written for the jSax, jFlute, jHorn, and Clarineo instruments, and are intended to build on the experiences of Level 1 and those learned in general music classes. Level 2 is written for individual and/or class lessons that extend woodwind and brass skills while playing fun tunes in various genres.

The classroom pack for level 2 is significantly more expensive at around £2600, but includes a much greater variety of instruments than level 1, resulting in a richer and more developed musical experience.

Level 3- Designed for ages 7-10, emphasizing pre-band ensemble playing. Level 3 introduces multi-part music for the jSax, jFlute, jHorn, and Clarineo in a variety of styles. It's also written for individual and/or class lessons that extend woodwind and brass skills while playing fun tunes in various styles. The music is written and arranged by renowned American composer Robert Sheldon, in standard notation:

The levels are designed to flow seamlessly from each one to the next. For instance, the beginning of book 2 gives you a chance to review the methodology and rhythms that were taught in the first instalment, even before introducing the new instruments.

The 'whole-child' approach

WindStars is not just about learning to get a few notes out of a clarinet. It is about creating and inspiring well-rounded young musicians, giving students a strong grounding in various aspects of musicianship which will stand them in good stead moving forwards, not just in music but in all walks of life. The 'WindStar' of music education (pictured below) is fundamental to Nuvo's approach:

To emphasise this, the books include some extra bits of learning advice, focusing on more than just playing the notes. For example. the end of book 1 features a few exercises for building teamwork, with group exercises not involving the instruments at all, and some advice about incorporating movement (marching, swaying etc.) into practice and performance. This variety helps to make the WindStars method great for class music lessons, motivating the children to keep learning with creativity and teamwork at the forefront.

Designed for accessibility

The WindStars program is designed to be accessible to students of all backgrounds and abilities. Its multi-levelled structure provides suitable entry points for students with different experience levels and learning styles. Whether they prefer to learn by ear or through traditional notation, WindStars students are well-catered for. The design of the books themselves is vibrant, colourful and features loads of helpful diagrams to aid with things like posture, fingering and even instrument maintenance!

Moreover, a comprehensive selection of backing tracks and video materials are provided to go along with the books. These backing tracks really enliven the tunes, which can be especially crucial for some of the more simple melodies in Level 1!

Teacher and Student books

Each level comes with separate books for teachers and students. The teacher books include all the content required to teach the method, including notation, diagrams, tips and tricks and playing advice.

The student books are optional, but they’re a fantastic tool for helping parents and guardians to engage the students in home practice, helping them to learn a lot faster. They include basic instructions for playing the instruments as well as the music in either iconic or standard notation. They even have quickfire quiz questions to test recall on notes and concepts learned in class!

Helpfully, the teacher books show page references to the student ones, allowing teacher to know for certain what the students are seeing in their books.


Unsurprisingly, Nuvo WindStars has proved a popular method with educators, especially in the UK and US:

“My passion is ensemble playing and with the NUVO instrument range and their support through Windstars, this makes it much more accessible to younger children. The instruments are so lightweight and colourful that it makes learning an instrument fun without the financial commitment usually associated with music lessons.”

- Mandy Larcombe, Music Teacher, Somerset, UK

“I am always looking for innovative ways to instruct and inspire my students and Nuvo Instrumental provides just that! The DooD, TooT, and jSax, are pre-band instruments used in my program to get students excited and develop a love for music.”

- Chad Guess, K-5 General Music Teacher, Youngstown, OH

All things considered, Nuvo have provided a fantastically comprehensive and nurturing set of educational resources with the WindStars. The method encourages students to learn not just their instruments, but to gain a sense of collaborative musicianship too. The books provide excellent, well thought-out teaching and learning guides, and the video and audio resources are smart and perfectly pitched. The instruments themselves are innovative, without losing sight of tradition and simplicity. We're proud to partner with Nuvo, and look forward to distributing the WindStars long into the future.