Background — sometimes musicians refer to woodwinds simply as “winds,” which can be a little confusing because technically brass instruments are also “winds.” I normally use the term “winds” to mean both woodwinds and brass, but this is not universal from conductor to conductor.
  • Me at rehearsal this evening: Winds only please for just a moment.
  • Jon, our principal trombone: Do you mean “woodwinds” or all “winds.”
  • Me: Anything into which one blows air — in other words, not strings or percussion.
  • Jon: I just thought it would be good to clarify.
  • Me: Indeed, thank you. This situation is like ordering a cheeseburger. Is it better to say “no pickles or onions” or “only ketchup and mustard?” 
I think in the future I might start referring to the woodwinds as ketchup, the brass as mustard, the strings as pickles, and percussion as onions. I don’t think it would make anything clearer, in fact, it would make things downright chaotic — but, at least we could brag about being original and interesting.