7 Essential Percussion Instruments

Essential percussion instruments

Percussion instruments are among the oldest musical instruments we know of. In fact, the oldest depiction of music making can be found in a French cave. It is of a shaman playing rhythm sticks, and it is 17,000 years old.

Almost all cultures play some kind of simple hand percussion, and thanks to the migration of these cultures and their music, the rhythms of the World Village are ready and waiting at your local music retailer.

Easy-to-play and inexpensive, percussion instruments are a must for any music room. Percussion can be used to give an extra musical dimension to a jam session; as a great way to entice friends who say they “don’t play” to join in the fun; or on their own for an impromptu drum circle during a summer barbecue.

Making Music asked renowned percussionist and president of California-based Premier Leasing Group Jackie Bertone to name the essential percussion instruments any music maker should own.

“A shaker, tambourine, and cowbell are probably the easiest and most affordable of all the percussion instruments,” says Bertone, who has played percussion with The Beach Boys, “but they can be fun and complex at the same time.”

You don’t have to be an expert percussionist to have a blast on these or the other instruments Bertone recommends. “I have always believed that if what you’re playing feels good and sounds good to your heart, then keep playing!”

Don’t forget—cowbells and agogo bells are typically played with drumsticks designed for Cuban timbales drums. So, if your drummer doesn’t want to sacrifice one of her prized Japanese oak drumsticks (ordinary drumsticks can be reversed to use with bells), ask your music retailer about timbales sticks. Vic Firth World Classic timbales sticks are a good choice.


Instead of being dedicated to one instrument, young musicians, or professionals, MakingMusicMag.com is a lifestyle resource for all music makers, regardless of age, instrument, or ability. We focus on providing educational articles teaching people how to play an instrument, but we also favor travel pieces, music related health articles, interesting news stories, and plenty more.

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