Place the Instrument: On a Glockenspiel Xylophone, the longer the metal key, the lower the note will sound. Begin by placing your traditional-style instrument on the table with the longest and lowest Blue Letter “C” note on your left. (If you are playing a curved-style Glockenspiel Xylophone, place the larger, lower note Blue Letter “C” at the bottom while you hold the instrument in your left hand.)
Hold the Mallet: Hold the mallet with your dominant hand – unless you are using two mallets. The circular ball on the end is used to strike the metal keys. The end without the ball should rest near the center of your lower palm. Hold the stick a little further up between your thumb and index finger. The mallet should rest on the middle side of your index finger with the large surface of your thumb providing counter pressure on the top. Do not squeeze the mallet too tightly because this adds unnecessary tension and may keep the note from ringing clearly.
Strike the Key: Hit the keys gently and quickly in the center of the metal key so that the mallet ball quickly bounces away from the key. This will produce the best
Play a Scale: The Upado Unlimited Glockenspiel Xylophone is a precision tuned percussion instrument like a piano, and you can start by playing a scale. Each metal key is engraved with the letter of the note, so you can read the letters and play along. Play the “C” scale on the instrument by starting on the largest blue “C” note, and then play the “D”, “E”, “F”, “G”, “A”, “B”, and “C.” You just played the “C” scale!
Keep the Beat: It is important to learn to keep a steady beat. Using a metronome can help, and there are free options online. Click here to try one out. Now go back to your “C” scale and play it along with the metronome. You can change the speed of the beats on the metronome too.
Try a Song: Now you are ready to open the Xylophone Music Book that came with your instrument. The folk songs and classic songs in the book were chosen from the music program created by Dr. Suzuki who selected them because of their patterning ease for new students. The crew at Upado Unlimited created the Music Patterns for the songs so that the ability to read music is not needed, and everyone can play.
Listen Along: On the Upado Unlimited website, you can listen to the songs being played which allows auditory students to learn in the way that suits them the best while visual students can focus on the Music Patterns in the Song book. When you are ready to move on to more complicated harmonies and rounds, you can try the songs in the Popular 8 Note Songs music book.
To become proficient takes practice, but the joy that comes from playing music is well worth the effort!
The crew at Upado Unlimited is here to help, so contact us if you have any questions at info@UpadoUnlimited.com!
By Debra Newby, December 15, 2016
Debra Newby started taking piano lessons when she was 7 years old after spending all of her young life listening to her pianist mother play for various concerts and their local church. She enjoys playing the Glockenspiel Xylophone and marvels at how many songs can be played with just eight notes!