How to play the Kalimba for beginners: the basics

The Kalimba is a musical instrument that originated in Africa and is classified as a metal instrument. If you're a beginner and want to learn how to play the Kalimba, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll explore the basics of the kalimba and how it will help you get started with this unique and captivating instrument.

How to play the Kalimba

The Kalimba is usually made from bamboo or wood, with several metal rods protruding from the main body. Each rod represents a note, and you'll need to use your fingers to make the notes sound. Most kalimbas are equipped with cause notes, and you have to play them with the fingers of each hand. To find the right note and play it correctly, the best way is to test and let your hands adapt naturally to the instrument.

Kalimba fingering

Kalimba fingering is very important. You need to learn the right fingers and movements to be able to understand and master the instrument quickly. For beginners, it's best to start with the simplest fingering. You look at the position of your hand, then start with the largest finger closest to the note and move each finger to the next note. It's also important to make sure your grip is correct for the metal stems, and to practice letting your fingers slide along the edges of the stems.

Playing techniques

It's important to familiarize yourself with the different Kalimba playing techniques. The most common techniques are thumb and forefinger, sweeping and hammering. The hammering motion is the easiest and most effective. You'll need to place your fingers on the stem and move them within the plane of the instrument to produce a melody. Another popular technique is the sweeping movement, which involves placing your fingers on the stems and moving them in a circular motion. This technique is more difficult to master and takes a little more training and practice.

Playing pieces

Once you've mastered the basics, it's time to move on to more complex pieces. Before you start, you'll need to choose pieces that are suitable for your level. You should also take the time to discover the keys of the pieces, as each piece has its own key, and the kalimba has a large number of keys. If you want to play a particular piece, you'll also need to familiarize yourself with the different tempo signatures. Once you've chosen a piece and know all the details, you'll need to practice until you reach the desired level.


The kalimba is a fascinating musical instrument that can produce a variety of beautiful sounds, but it's important to understand and master it well before embarking on more complex pieces. In this article, we've discussed the basic principles of the Kalimba and the techniques involved in playing it. We hope this information will help you learn how to play this instrument properly and make your first kalimba piece.