How to Play Percussion Mallets

Proper hand position allows you to use percussion mallets effectively.

Having the knowledge to properly play percussion mallets will make it possible for you to perform at a higher level. Proper mallet control comes from a proper posture and grip on the mallet sticks. Learning to use the mallets in the most efficient way will reduce the amount of tension in the wrists and prevent injury. All percussionists start with basic mallet training before moving on to complex pieces and training exercises.

Step 1

Hold the mallets with your palms facing down with the sticks between your index fingers and thumbs.

Step 2

Divide the mallet into three imaginary parts. Adjust the mallet so that the side of your hand, opposite the thumb, falls about a third of the way from the bottom end of the mallet.

Step 3

Wrap your index finger, middle finger and ring finger loosely around the mallet. The mallet should easily rock back and forth if you move your hand. Use the index finger and the thumb as a rotating axis point for the mallets to move.

Step 4

Strike the drum with both mallets simultaneously. Allow the mallet to bounce back to the starting position. Suspend the mallet with your index finger to prevent it from striking again. Hit the drum several times using a steady beat to get used to the rhythm of the mallet bouncing.

Step 5

Alternate drum strokes to play faster passages.


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