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5 Instruments to Play, part 3 – Mallet Percussion!

Now for part 3 in our series, 5 Instruments to Play Instead of Piano

Instrument #3 – Marimba and Vibraphone, aka Mallet Percussion

No, they’re not new countries or names of poisonous snakes. The marimba and vibraphone are mallet percussion instruments. Never heard of them? Think large pianos that you hit with mallets.

Marimba and vibraphone are among some of the coolest and most pleasant sounding instruments you’ll ever hear. Made of wooden bars, the marimba’s sound is warm, deep and reminiscent of nature. The vibraphone, a smaller more portable instrument, has metal bars that sound ethereal and angelic.

Like the piano, the marimba and vibraphone teach the basics of rhythm, pitch, and harmony, providing a solid musical foundation. But unlike most classical instruments, mallet instruments originate from non-western cultures, primarily from Central & South America and Africa. So your child isn’t limited to learning Mozart or Beethoven, but also learns fun, grooving music from cultures around the world.

On mallet instruments, your child can learn a whole repertoire of songs that prioritize rhythm, improvisation, and musical interaction. Children who play marimba or vibraphone often develop an even stronger sense of rhythm, groove and social skills, such as active listening and confidence through self-expression.

Physically, mallet instruments differ in a big way from most instruments. They require locomotive activity to play. In other words, you have to move forward, backward, or even side-to-side in order to play these instruments.

How does this benefit your child? By playing and moving at the same time, your child will develop spatial awareness, balance, four-limb coordination, large/small muscle control, and amazing peripheral vision. Sounds like quite a list of superhero abilities, right?

With all these amazing benefits, these gentle giants are sure to bring joy and fun into your family’s life.

Visit for more info about learning the marimba and the vibraphone.

Listen to the marimba

Listen to the vibraphone

Stay tuned for Instrument Number 4, coming soon! And if you’re not already on our newsletter email list, don’t forget to subscribe below for more info on instruments, games for the whole family, and more:

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