Resources For Teaching Percussion in the Music Classroom

Music Classrooms can often have loads of percussion instruments laying around. The question is what do you do with them all?

Sure, you can play simple rhythms and percussion grids with them, but what do you do beyond this when your students are ready to learn bigger, more inspiring ensemble pieces?

For a start, there are some things for you to try out. By clicking this e-book download link below, you’ll find ideas for beginning percussion in the classroom and some ideas if you’ve got students who need a little extra challenge. So this is a great place to start, it’s free and it gives you an instant start without needing too many instruments.

Click to check out the free download of percussion music from

For some extra ideas, here are three well written and easy to use pieces which will make use of the instruments. They all suit mid- upper junior level classes really well and come complete with teacher notes and play along sequences so that if you don’t have all the instruments, you can still play the pieces.

DISCLAIMER: These pieces are all written by my husband Kevin – so yes I have a financial interest in showing them to you. But I simply wouldn’t be telling you about them if I didn’t believe that they would be helpful in the classroom, so now we’ve got that over with lets get on with seeing what the music is!

Calypso Dream is easy to implement and is a great “catchy” beginner percussion ensemble piece which uses xylophones, glockenspiels and any other tuned percussion instruments you may have  laying around as well as the smaller untuned instruments such as the guiro, maraccas and claves . This piece has fifteen adaptable and easy to play parts altogether which fit together without too much effort and sound instantly rewarding. Whether you have a small group of 5-6 children or a large group of thirty, Calypso Dream is sure to suit.

Linstead Market is based on a traditional Jamaican tune which is light spirited and easy for students to remember- which helps students to have a successful experience playing it first time.  In this piece you’ll be able to make use of the drum kit and piano as well as the tuned percussion instruments in your classroom such as xylophones, marimbas, glockenspiels and vibraphone along with the instruments of Latin America such as the Bongo’s, Conga’s and Ago- go bells.

Lemon Merengue Pie is based on a repetitive, groovy bass line, which even if children have had limited experience playing music they should be able to learn to play on a Xylophone or Marimba. This is accompanied by a harmony part, which can be learned easily in one lesson!

Drummers and Untuned percussion players get an opportunity to learn a different rhythm than they have ever learned before! This is not a standard “Rock Beat” – like many of the arrangements available for school band!, so drummers enjoy the challenge of something they have not encountered before.

Perhaps the best news about these percussion ensemble pieces is that you don’t need to be a percussion major to teach them! All the pieces come with teacher guides which help you to implement the pieces quickly and effectively.

So go to the KT percussion junior school music page and check out these three pieces.


  • By Stephanie Newingham Reply

    I agree that these may be very helpful pieces. Often trying to find music for begining percussion players to learn other rhythm patterns can most certainly be a challenge. One of the most important aspects of being a percussionist is being able to play a suitable rhythm for any style of music and these pieces could certainly help. In my area percussionists were not often exposed to many other styles than rock or jazz and that can often lead to a sense of confusion when trying to play even a simple rhythm in another style. This exposure to new styles is a must for all percussionists and musicians as a whole.

  • By Sandy Erickson Reply

    Does anyone have something written for classroom “garbage” percussion, i.e. coffee cans, popcorn tins, etc.?

    • By janice Reply

      Hi Sandy- There is a junk percussion piece called “Hittin it” on the Kt Percussion website- you can play this with hub caps, buckets, coffee cans, water bottles and other junk you can find.
      Another blogpost you may be interested in is called “Resources for Teaching Percussion in the Classroom” and is about the group STOMP- it talks about some teaching ideas and has some links to youtube videos.
      On the homepage of the KT Percussion WebsiteThere are also some free downloads of basic arrangements for the classroom percussion. There are two pieces called “I don’t like doing homework” (which you can make a junk percussion piece out of using rulers and desks) and “I like eating Hotdogs” which may be useful.
      I hope these links help Sandy, If there’s anything else I can do to help, just let me know.
      Kind Regards,

  • By primary music resources Reply

    I didn’t come across these kind of music percussion before. Nice description. Very good. Thanks.

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