Ever wanted to jump out from the drums and play an actual melody? Dive into the exciting world of 2 & 4 mallet playing!


51 lessons inside 5 modules.


Discover the transformative power of mallet instruments with the Keyboard Percussion Workshop. If you're a drummer seeking to broaden your musical skills and explore the enchanting world of marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, and beyond, this online video course is your ultimate guide.

Whether you're a complete beginner or have some musical experience, this course will take you on a captivating journey, providing step-by-step instruction and expert guidance to help you unlock your full potential as a mallet player.

From mastering the basics of technique to diving into intricate melodies and harmonies, this course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to excel in the captivating realm of keyboard percussion.

Is this you?

  • You're interested in jumping into the mallet world, but don't have zero idea about all the different instruments and how they work
  • You want to play mallets but don't read notes in treble clef or know what a key signature is
  • You want to enjoy playing some melodies instead of drumkit beats all the time, just for fun at home
  • You aspire to play in a symphony orchestra, concert band or theatre show pit...

Jack Bennett

Jack has been playing and teaching both drumkit and percussion for many years. 

  • Asked to join Cirque du Soleil's "NYSA" in Berlin 2020 on drumkit and¬†keyboard percussion.
  • Currently touring Australia with La Cage Aux Folles on drumkit and keyboard percussion.
  • Teaches classical, solo and Afro Cuban percussion online through Icanplaydrums.com and in many schools.

Here is what is covered in the 5 modules.

MODULE 1: The Instruments.

  1. Marimba: A wooden percussion instrument with resonators beneath the bars, producing a rich and warm tone; it is played with mallets and has a wide range, making it a versatile instrument used in various musical genres.
  2. Xylophone: Consisting of wooden bars arranged in a graduated series, the xylophone produces a bright and piercing sound when struck with mallets; commonly used in orchestras and ensembles to add a distinctive percussive element to the music.
  3. Vibraphone: Similar to the xylophone, but with metal bars and motor-driven rotating discs inside the resonators that create a vibrato effect; it has a mellow and ethereal sound, often used in jazz and contemporary music.
  4. Glockenspiel: A percussion instrument with metal bars arranged like a piano keyboard and played with mallets; it produces a bell-like sound and is commonly used in marching bands and orchestras to add a sparkling and rhythmic texture.
  5. Tubular Bells: Large metal tubes of varying lengths suspended horizontally and struck with mallets, creating a deep and resonant tone; popularized by the musical composition "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield and often used to create a haunting and mysterious atmosphere in film scores.
  6. Balafon: A West African wooden xylophone with calabash resonators, played with mallets or sticks; it has a bright and percussive sound, often used in traditional African music to create lively rhythms and melodies.
  7. MalletKat: A MIDI percussion controller that resembles a xylophone or marimba and is played with mallets; it allows musicians to trigger a wide range of electronic sounds and samples, making it a versatile instrument for modern electronic and experimental music.

MODULE 2: Keyboard Fundamentals

  1. Introduction to Keyboard Percussion: Mallet percussion instruments, like marimba and xylophone, are played by striking bars with mallets, offering a wide range of pitches for various musical genres.

  2. Instrument Construction: Keyboard percussion instruments consist of bars attached to resonators or tubes, with bar length and thickness determining pitch, while resonators amplify the sound.

  3. Tuning Marimba Bars: Marimba bars are tuned by adjusting their length or thickness, carefully removing or adding material to ensure correct pitch and harmonious sound.

  4. Holding The Mallets & Where To Hit: Mallets are held with a relaxed grip between thumb and fingers, allowing comfortable and controlled strikes for different techniques and playing styles.

  5. Mallet Selection: Mallet choice depends on desired tone and articulation, with harder mallets producing brighter sounds and softer mallets creating warmer tones.

  6. How to Roll Sustained Notes: To roll a sustained note, smoothly draw the mallet across the bar with consistent pressure and steady rhythm, creating a blooming and lyrical sound.

MODULE 3: Theory & Reading

  1. Notes on the Instrument: Mallet percussion instruments have a range of notes represented by the bars. Each bar corresponds to a specific pitch when struck with a mallet, allowing performers to create melodies and harmonies.

  2. Notes on the Stave: In musical notation, notes on the stave represent specific pitches. Each line and space on the staff corresponds to a different note, indicating its pitch and duration in a musical composition.

  3. Why Do School Bands Start in B Flat Key: School bands often start in the key of B flat because it is considered a more beginner-friendly key for many wind instruments. B flat instruments, such as clarinets and trumpets, are often easier to learn due to their simpler fingerings and greater stability in pitch.

  4. How Key Signatures Work: Key signatures indicate the key of a musical composition and are represented by sharps (#) or flats (b) placed at the beginning of each staff line. They determine which notes are raised or lowered throughout the piece, helping musicians play the correct pitches and maintain consistent tonality.

  5. Trick for Working Out Any Key Signature: A helpful trick for determining a key signature is to look at the last sharp in the key signature. One trick for sharp keys, one trick for flat keys.

  6. Circle of Fifths: How the circle of fifths works for sharp keys (moving clockwise around the circle), and also for flat keys (moving anti-clockwise around the circle).

  7. Improving Note Accuracy: To improve note accuracy,these exercises are a must. Don't think of it as boring scales, think of it as "I want to hit the right notes, and I know I need real tangible technique to facilitate that".

MODULE 4: 2 & 4 Mallet Technique

  1. 2 Mallets - Major Scales: all major scales across multiple octaves with 2 mallets.
  2. 2 Mallets - Major Arpeggios: all major arpeggios in all 12 keys across the marimba
  3. 4 Mallet Intro - Burton Grip: How the Burton Grip works, and it's advantages over traditional cross grip. 
  4. The 4 Basic Strokes: inner mallets, outer mallets, alternating (both double verticals or double laterals) and playing both mallets together in unison.
  5. 4 Mallets: 1, 2, 3, 4 Ascending: Developing dexterity between the hands playing mallets from let to right (1, 2, 3, 4). Either slowly as double verticals, or faster as double laterals.
  6. 4 Mallet Tech: 4, 3, 2, 1 Descending: The opposite of above, starting in the upper register and working down from right to left.
  7. 4 Mallet Tech: 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2: This is a fantastic triplet exercise that sees you play from right to left back to right in a continuous seamless fashion. Great for playing tunes like Gordon's Bicycle.
  8. 1 Handed Flams. If you're having trouble alternating 2 mallets in 1 hand, practice R or L lead flams in one hand is a great exercise.
  9. Scales In Octaves. Being able to play consecutive octaves between all 4 mallets is a challenging and important technique that develops your horizontal peripheral vision.
  10. 1 Hand, 2 Mallets: Chasing Fives. A brilliant exercise in any key that develops all the small intervals from a 2nd to a 5th.
  11. 1 Hand, 2 Mallets: Chasing Arpeggios. A similar exercise but for larger jumps like 3rds, 5ths and octaves. All 12 keys.
  12. 1 Hand, 2 Mallets: Rhythmic Alternating. It's important to be able to control your alternating strokes and play specific rhythms. These exercises walk you through common 8th and 16th (quaver and semiquaver) patterns to play between the mallets.
  13. 13. Consecutive Intervals. Another great exercise for your peripheral vision across the instrument - this time with wide intervals - octaves!

MODULE 5 - Free Bonus:

Book & Piece Recommendations

* These videos are already free on youtube, but compiled here under 1 easy playlist as a bonus.

20 video reviews of some of the best books and solo pieces on the market today.


  1. Sound Innovations
  2. My First Book For Xylophone & Marimba
  3. DIY Pop Tunes & Backing Tracks
  4. Andrew Lloyd Webber playalongs
  5. Disney playalongs
  6. Classical Themes playalongs
  7. Classic Rock Themes playalongs


  1. Mallet Minded
  2. Masters On Marimba
  3. Funny Xylophone
  4. Funny Vibraphone
  5. Irish Jig Medley
  6. Super Mario Bros
  7. In Dreams


  1. 24 Etudes For Marimba
  2. Gordon's Bicycle
  3. Forgotten Memories
  4. Intermezzo No 1
  5. Rockabye
  6. Available In Blue
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Keyboard Percussion Workshop

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