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How to Play Xylophone for Beginners

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Published on Feb 1, 2011

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If you're looking to take up a musical instrument and need an easy one to start with, you might want to consider learning how to play the xylophone.  Some music teachers consider the xylophone an "easy start" for beginners, because playing it doesn't necessarily require the detailed technique other instruments require.  The xylophone produces a ready tone for beginners and masters alike, allowing budding musicians to learn quickly and get more immediate results for their efforts.

The xylophone is a musical instrument with a long history - the first instrument of its type originated in Africa.  The xylophone is part of the percussion family - you play it by hitting wooden bars of varying lengths with a mallet that's made of rubber or wood. 

To play the xylophone, you'll first need to familiarize yourself with the instrument.  Different xylophones may have different note ranges, for instance - some as small as 2.5 octaves or as large as four.  Take note of the xylophone's bars: the longer the bar, the lower the pitch it produces.  Most xylophones are set up like a piano, with lower notes played on the left and bars for flat and sharp notes located in sets of two and three just above the main bars.

Go ahead and strike some keys to see what sounds they produce.  You might want to experiment with different mallets, as well, as tones will vary depending on the type you use.  Harder mallets will likely produce brighter, sharper sounds - soft mallets will produce more gentle tones.

Now that you're a bit more familiar with the xylophone, you'll want to learn the instrument's various notes.  The xylophone is made up of a series of notes that are repeated across the instrument - just like a piano.  Larger xylophones allow you to play a larger range of these notes.  Also, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the sharps and the flats of the notes.  Take the time to label your xylophone with the appropriate letters of the alphabet - and name each sharp and flat on the instrument as well.  You can use stickers to do this, or you can tape small pieces of paper onto the bars to help you memorize the placement of the notes.

Once you've got the basics down, you can begin playing the xylophone.  As a beginner, you're going to need to take things slowly: try to choose a simple song in the key of C to avoid sharps and flats in the music.  As your playing improves, you can begin branching out into other keys.

Finally, remember that practice makes perfect!  As with any instrument, regular practice is a must if you want to become a skilled xylophone player.  Learn some basic melodies and keep practicing them until you become proficient.  You might also consider practicing xylophone "drills" each day to help increase speed and accuracy and to properly hone your xylophone-playing skills.


REFS

http://www.mallet-percussion.com/for_...

http://ghscomlab.genevacsd.org/Hosted...

http://www.dsokids.com/listen/instrum...

http://www.playmusic.org/percussion/x...

http://www.musictheory.halifax.ns.ca/...

http://www.musictheory.halifax.ns.ca/...

http://www.playpiano.com/keyofCmusic.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHP5xj...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fW5cF...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvWUqt...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzJUf9...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2SwhD...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1e0k9...

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