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8 false myths that prevent you from learning to play percussion, ¡debunked!

Author: Facundo Alvarez, Percussion teacher and Facilitator

  • Playing music is only for musicians

The belief that music is just for musicians is a common idea between people who want to start to play percussion, but they doubt whether or not they will be able to fulfill that wish.

I´ve verified myself in the different activities and projects I developed, in which I taught to play percussion to people of different ages, from little kids to seniors. People that obviously didn’t have any kind of musical background and for whom that was not an impediment and who were able to happily fulfill to start their learning path in percussion.

As I said in previous videos, the ability of expressing musically is innate in us, and it can be awakened and developed through music learning and practicing in any stage of our lives.

So, It’s always a good time to start.

You just have to face the challenge.

  • I don´t have a musical ear

I don’t have a musical ear is one of those limiting beliefs that strongly resonate in a lot of people who has the desire to start learning and making music. And in most cases that belief makes them give up trying to start or even quit learning when they are just starting their learning path in percussion.

To make it clear, having a musical ear is not an innate ability, on the contrary is an ability that each of us acquire and develop along different musical experiences.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Music is a language, like for example spanish, english, chinese, among others.

And in a way the process of learning the music language, in a sense, is similar as any other language you want to learn,

So, Can you say that you don’t have an ear for english or, maybe, spanish language, or for chinese?. Of course not.

Actually, If you don’t understand any of them it is because you never studied or used them. And obviously, when you start to learn to write, read and speak any of them you are going to be able to gradually understand them more.

Well the same criteria applies to the music language. Music also is learned progressively and by practicing.

So what is commonly known as “Musical Ear” in fact is an ability that any of us can start developing in any stage of ourr life and that we can improve with the progressive study of a musical instrument.

  • I don´t have talent for music

I was born with no talent for music. That is a really dark and negative idea, and also a really hurtful thought.

Everyday we watch hundreds of people that show us a specific ability that they have or something that they can do. When we see them our desire to learn to do that arises.

Also, at first glance it is simple and easy to do, but then when we try to do it but we don´t get it right at once, we get frustrated and quit doing. Mostly is in that moment where the “Lack of Talent” belief arises reinforcing in ourselves the wrongful idea that we´re not talented enough.

As I said before, that’s a big lie.

What Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok videos don’t show is that in order to achieve to do what is shown in the video any person has to go through a learning process in which there is a lot of trial and error, a plan and a learning path and a lot of time of practice.

In any case, the key factor in this it’s not if you have a specific amount of talent or not, but to ignore the limiting beliefs and take action and be consistent with your desire. Because you´re going to be able to achieve it, on your own time and terms.

To sum up, there is no hard evidence that supports the idea that from the beginning you do not have the talent to do that thing that you wish.

So, You just have to propose it and start your own learning path to achieve it.

  • To learn to play percussion you need to know how to read music

Again another great limiting belief.

I say it loud and clear, reading music is not necessary to begin learning and playing music.

Therefore, musical language is capable of being learned in the same way as any other language, through listening, exploration and practicing, like in the case of the spanish, the english and the chinese that we talk about before.

  • I´m not creative enough to play percussion

What a heavy and dark thought, no?. And so unverifiable!.

Let’s take a moment to see how limiting beliefs work and affect us.

In general with limiting beliefs what we do is assume that something that has no real support or can be verified is true and that we debunk any other argument.

In this case, if you take a minute to think you going to see clearly that actually making music and playing percussion is what will help you be more creative and not the other way around.

Therefore, to begin your learning path in percussion there is no requirement that you “have to be creative”, however make sure that you´re going to be more creative once you´ve gone through that learning path.

You´ll be surprised what people can achieve once they leave behind this limiting belief and give themselves up to the challenge of creating and playing their own rhythms and music on percussion.


Learn to play percussion online

¡Choose the way to learn to Play Percussion
that best suits your times and needs!

Learn to Play Percussion: Bongó, Conga, Cajón, Djembé, Timbal Brasilero

Percussion Online Classes

In the Online Percussion Classes, I offers individual and face to face classes for you to start learn to play percussion from scratch and learn to play and make music with the percussion instrument you like – Bongó, Cajón, Conga, Djembé or Timbal Brasilero.

Percussion Online Courses

In the Online Percussion Courses I offer you different options for you to start to play percussion from scratch, develope as percussionist and learn to play and make music with the percussion instrument that you like: Bongo, Cajón, Conga, Djembé or Timbal Brasilero 

Activities suitable to all ages and levels

You don´t need to have previous knowledges of music or percussion to get started.


  • I´m too old to learn to play percussion

The idea “I´m too old to….” is one of the main limiting beliefs and prevents a lot of people from daring themselves to achieve something they wisht to do.

As in previous limiting beliefs there is no hard evidence that supports that age is a key factor in learning to play percussion.

  • I don´t have enough time to learn to play percussion

There is a maxim that says that “Time is relative” that we can apply to the percussion learning process.

I have a suggestion for you, quit thinking about how long it supposedly takes to learn to play percussion and instead just take a moment to think about the specific goals that you propose to carry out this activity. What I mean, think about what you are seeking for by learning to play percussion: have fun?, learn something new?, release stress?, join and play with friends?, develop your creativity?, become a professional musician? or whatever you´re seeking.

Once you make that clear, then it will be possible for you to start thinking about how much time it will take you to learn to play percussion.

Following this logic, the time that you´ll have to dedicate to percussion learning is going to be defined from the goals you set for yourself and not based on an “objective measure” that isn’t related to your times and needs.

To make it clear, the key factors here are your goals, your learning path and the time you can dedicate to practice.

  • Learning to play percussion requires a lot of practice time

There a lot ways in which you can organize yourself to learn and practice percussion, but in the end they all result in three basic points

First, you have to present and focus on each practice routine. What I mean is, you have to avoid any kind of distraction that may interrupt you and steal your attention.

Second, you need to have well defined practice routines that help you develop good practicing habits. In this aspect, learning to play percussion is similar to going to the gym. What I mean is you need a routine that organizes the different exercises you need to do to improve your playing craft with your percussion instrument.

Third, for this organization to be effective you must keep the same routine for a specific period of time, maybe weeks or months, and follow and evaluate your progress. In that way, with the repeated practice of the different exercises you are going to achieve to gradually improve your playing skills both the technical, rhythmic and musical ones.

Again, quality over quantity is the key to success in the percussion learning path.

  • Conclusion

This is the end of the post!.

Before ending in it I like to share a concept that I repeat in several of my videos, that´s: Percussion is for everybody and everybody can learn to play percussion.

So, you don’t need any particular condition or particular skill to learn to play and enjoy percussion.

So, what are you waiting for?. Cheer up!


percussion facilitator

Facundo Alvarez
Percussion Facilitator

For 20 years I´ve dedicated myself to develope educational and recreational materials and experiences, with the goal of facilitate access to percussion learning to people of all ages

In all the projects I work motivated by the premise that "Percussion is for everybody" and that "Everyone can learn to play percussion".

My main goal is to help, as many people as I can, to live the unique experience of making music with percussion instruments.