What is the Percussion Family?

Beginning Music Guide: All About Percussion


What is the percussion family? How do percussion instruments work? The percussion family is both similar and different from the instrument families we have covered so far.


Percussion instruments create sound through vibration, like brass and woodwind instruments. But, while the vibration from wind instruments comes from the motion of the mouth against the mouthpiece, vibration in percussion instruments is created by striking the instruments with either your hands or a mallet. 


 There are many different percussion instruments which create a variety of sounds. Students in beginning band will typically start out on a bell kit and/or a snare drum. Read on to learn about bells and drums. 



Yamaha bell kit

 The Bell Kit

1.) The bell kit lets students in beginning band learn to play notes, along with those students who are playing brass and woodwind instruments.

2.) Each bar of the bell kit plays a different note.

3.) The player makes different notes using a rubber mallet.



Yamaha drumThe Drums


1.) Beginning students typically start out on the snare drum.


2.) Players use drumsticks to create rhythms on the drum.

3.) The percussion section produces the grounding rhythm, or beat, of the band through various drums. 



Is the percussion family right for you? To find out, try listening to the sounds of both different bells and drums. Also, consider whether you prefer a wind instrument or an instrument that is not mouth blown.


Percussionists are very versatile players and will learn to play many different percussion instruments throughout the years, often switching between instruments for different pieces. If you enjoy the idea of holding together the band with your grounding rhythm and switching between different instruments, then the percussion family may be right for you!



Other Beginning Music Guide Posts:

What is the String Family?


What is the string family? What are the characteristics of the string family? The string family forms the basis of the orchestra. 



What is the Brass Family?

trumpet player

What is the brass family of instruments? The brass family encompasses a wide variety of sound, from the bright brassy tones of a trumpet to the more mellow sound of the French horn.