How to play the kalimba using percussion techniques

The kalimba is an ancestral percussion instrument that enables us to produce melodious sounds using small metal or bamboo plates. It's a very relaxing and intuitive instrument that can be played without any training. However, for those wishing to develop their playing techniques, there is much to discover.

Many kalimba users rely on percussion techniques to produce more varied and rich sounds. These techniques may seem intimidating, but they really are accessible even to beginners and can offer extra variety and flexibility.

Some percussion techniques for beginners

Hammering is one of the most common percussion techniques. It simply involves striking the bars with the hands. It's a simple, highly intuitive technique that can add a richer, more complex layer to the melodies played. Hammering is particularly effective with two-octave kalimbas, as it enables melodies to be played in two or more tempos simultaneously.

What's more, you can play melodies by lightly tapping the bars with your fingertips, known as beating. This technique is perfect for playing softer, more subtle melodies. You can also use the snare drum to play more rhythmic melodies. All these techniques can be used to create a rich, varied sound.

Finally, you can freely combine hammering and snare techniques to create richly varied melodies. What's more, some techniques can add interesting audible effects, offering even more variety to your playing.

How to proceed?

You can start by familiarizing yourself with the various techniques before putting them into practice. For example, you can search the Internet for videos and tutorials to help you. This will help you familiarize yourself with the game and give you tips on how to develop your skills.

But there's no substitute for practice. Start by playing simple melodies and mixing techniques. Don't be in a hurry, and take the time to familiarize yourself with the different sounds and find creative ways of using them. You'll be amazed at what you can produce.


Using percussion techniques with the kalimba can be intimidating for beginners. However, if you take the time to familiarize yourself with these techniques, you'll discover that learning them isn't all that complicated, and the results can be very satisfying. Don't hesitate to put these tips into practice and explore your creativity. The kalimba is a very rich and profound instrument, and it can offer you wonderful experiences if you master it.