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How To Play The Vibraphone

The vibraphone can be an exciting challenge to learn for music students of any age. It can help teach the basics of music on an instrument that has a classic look, strong tradition and a rich sound. Playing the vibraphone can lead to playing in jazz bands or percussion sections in a music group. Vibraphones can even be played as a solo instrument.

Playing the vibraphone is easy and can be learnt in 5 easy steps.

1. Learn to read music

Although you might still be able to play by ear, you would be wise to teach yourself to read music. A lot of the music written for malleted percussion instruments is hard to remember and difficult to play without reading music.

2. Learn the layout of keys on an keyboard instrument

Although the vibraphone is not a keyboard instrument, the layout of the bars are similar to that of a keyboard / piano. Once you learn where the notes are on a piano, you will be able to find them on the vibraphone.

3. Position yourself

You need to get yourself into position to play your first note. This means holding both of the mallets in a light grip that allows the mallet to bounce off the bars of the vibraphone. Also place your preferred foot on the sustain pedal.

4. Play a long note with the pedal down

Press the pedal down and strike a bar with the mallet. This will make a note that lasts for a long time and rings out. This is good if you are playing chords.

5. Play a short note with the pedal up

Lift your foot off the pedal when you are not playing chords. This will stop the melody your are playing from becoming mixed together and unrecognisable. The pedal is similar to the sustain pedal found on a piano.

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