A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that makes a sound when hit, shaken or scraped. Most of the time, when talking about percussion instruments, people immediately think of drums but in reality there are plenty of other examples from around the world. They can be made from many different materials, such as wood, metal or plastic and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some instruments from the percussion family can be tuned in order to sound different notes (like the piano) while others are untuned with no definite pitch (like the bass drum).
Excluding the human voice, the percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments in the world.
As mentioned previously, there are too many percussion instruments out there to list, however we’ll go over some of the most popular ones.
Drums - Drums are considered to be the oldest musical instrument mainly due to their simplistic design which has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Drums consist of at least one membrane, which is called a drumhead and is stretched over a shell and struck either with the player’s hands or with a mallet/drum stick in order to make sound. Modern day drum kits consist of drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments.
Piano - Although there are still disagreements, most musicians classify the piano as a percussion instrument rather than as a stringed one, because the strings are struck rather than plucked. Furthermore the keys of the piano are also being pressed/hit by the fingers of the performer. The classical piano was first invented around the year 1700 in Italy. Nowadays, most modern pianos consist of 88 black and white keys and are split into two types: grand pianos and upright pianos.
Xylophone - The Xylophone is a percussion instrument that consists of wooden bars which are struck by mallets. It originated somewhere in Africa and Asia and the name literally translates to “sound of wood”. It has wooden keys, like those of a piano, which the player hits with a maller. Attached to the bottom of the wooden bars are metal tubes, where the sound vibrates. This gives the xylophone its bell-like sound.
Whether you want to play percussion instruments as a full-time job or you simply want to learn a skill and enjoy a new hobby, there are many benefits to playing percussion instruments.
Because percussion instruments are about hitting or shaking, we need to use both our hands to make sounds. This increases our coordination skills significantly. Furthermore they encourage working with both the left and right hand, this is a great exercise for ambidexterity. Last but not least, drums can be a great stress reliever.
Learning a musical instrument takes a lot of time and patience, regardless of which one you choose. However, with the amount of resources available nowadays, it’s never been easier to start. You can attend classes, read books or watch Youtube videos. If you want to progress quickly, however, your best choice might be signing up for private tutoring.
TutorExtra offers a wide variety of qualified tutors waiting for you to contact them. Pick your favourite, send them a message and set up your first lesson as soon as possible.
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