Playing Percussion

Percussion Instruments in Memphis, TN


Student Playing Xylophone

When someone hears the word "percussion," they may think of their favorite rock band’s drum set player or perhaps the drumline they see performing at their favorite sporting events. In reality, the percussion family includes a veritable world of instruments. They can include orchestral percussion instruments such as concert bass drum, timpani, marimba, and chimes; exotic world percussion instruments such as Afro-Cuban congas, Trinidadian steel drums, and African djembes;  or even sound effects like gongs, slapsticks, sleigh bells, and wind chimes. The common thread among these instruments is that they produce sound by being struck, scraped, shaken, or otherwise activated by an implement such as a stick, mallet, or hand.

In addition to a large number of instruments in the percussion family, there is also a vast range of sounds and meticulous techniques involved in playing percussion instruments. A percussionist can be responsible for the rhythmic basis in a piece of music, providing the tempo and musical stability for other ensemble members to embellish upon. Yet within the same piece, that same percussionist might take over the melody and even harmony, all at the same time.

Snare Drum

Because of the many techniques involved in playing percussion instruments, a beginner percussion student must start with the basics so that they can learn to apply those basics to the other instruments in the percussion family. The combo percussion kit we offer contains a snare drum, bells, stands for each, a practice pad, sticks, mallets, and a carrying case. These items are perfect for a beginning student to learn all of the fundamentals of percussion and to begin to develop proper technique.



How to change drum heads

Changing the top head on a concert snare


  1. Select a replacement drum head.
  2. Use a drum key to start loosening the tension rods.
  3. Use your fingers to further loosen the tension rods.
  4. Remove the rim from the drum.
  5. Clean the drum and rim.
  6. Place the new drum head in the right position.
  7. Reattach the head.
  8. Tune the head.


Changing the bottom head on a concert snare


  1. Select a replacement drum head.
  2. Remove the snare system
  3. Use a drum key to start looening tension rods.
  4. Remove the rim. 
  5. Clean the drum.
  6. Position the head and rim.
  7. Tighten the head into place.
  8. Tune the new drum head.
  9. Reattach the snare system.
  10. Test the snares.

For more detailed information, check out our blog on the topic! We also have a how-to for changing marching snare drum heads.