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Do you want to learn to play percussion?, YouTube may not be your best option!

Author: Facundo Alvarez, Percussion teacher and Facilitator

Have you tried to learn to play percussion with YouTube videos but you didn’t succeed?

Maybe you feel frustrated because you think that anybody can learn to play percussion on YouTube and you couldn´t achieve that.

Don’t worry, because learning to play percussion on YouTube is not as easy as everybody thinks.

As the title of the video says. If you want to learn to play percussion, YouTube may not be your best option.

Why? I tell you all the reasons along the post.

For beginner percussionist YouTube is like Lottery

Think about this for a minute.

Each time that you type something in the search box, like “learn to play percussion” and press enter It’s like pushing a button on a slot machine. After you press it, the algorhythm is going to search and bring to you all the videos that it can find for your quest, that simply meets the combination of words that you use, no matter if the content is helpful or not.

A lot of videos are listed in front of you, so you got to take a lucky guess and pick one video crossing your finger and wishing you picked the right one.

As anybody who started to learn something from scratch, you are new to this. So what I mean is you know very little about percussion. So how you can decide which of the videos that you have on a screen is the best for you. And also how you can say that if the content of the video you choose is correct or not, to learn to play percussion.

So maybe what will happen from here is that after a couple of tries with different videos, you’re going to end up empty handed and frustrated because any of the video worked for you and you didn´t to move forward even in each in your learning path in percussion.

That’s a common situation for people who try to start learning to play percussion in that way. And this is something that I heard a lot from the students that comes to my online classes of courses, after failing to learn to play percussion on YouTube.

So, although YouTube is a great resource, in my opinion It is not the best option for beginner students to start their learning path in percussion.

Why people can´t learn to play percussion in YouTube.


Maybe you already tried to learn to play percussion in YouTube and you didn’t succeed. And maybe because of that you think you not have what it takes to learn to play percussion. Well, you’re totally wrong.

If you tried and didn’t succeed is because the content of the video that you chose wasn’t the right learning plan for you.

So what happened is that you landed on a “Lucky Guess Video”, and that video doesn’t take under consideration things that are important in your learning process, like your needs, your abilities, your learning times, the way that you learn your musical patterns, among others.

Main Issues that prevents you from learning to play percussion in YouTube


So to understand the situation, let’s see what happens when somebody lands in a YouTube video to learn to play percussion.

In most of the cases, the guy in the video just start teaching from a specific point, assuming that anybody who arrives at the video is going to be okay with that and will manage to learn. The reality is that most of the time you are going to struggle with the following issues.

  • You can’t fully understand the concept that are taught in the video because the video lacks vital information for you to have a successful learning process.
  • You can’t follow the pace of the lesson because contents are taught faster than you can incorporate and understand them.


  • You can’t play the exercise or the rhythm that is taught because they are some practice step, which are important in your planning process that are missing.

In all these cases the result is the same. You end up not moving forward an inch in your learning path in percussion.

In YouTube you can´t find the learning path that you need to learn to play percussion


One of the key elements to succeed in percussion learning is to have a learning path, that suits your abilities and needs. That path is going to provide you with a map that organize all the contents needed for you to learn to play percussion. Also, it’s going to give you a step by step learning route following some specific goals that you have to achieve in order for you to learn to play the percussion instrument that you love.

And in YouTube you can´t find any of this, because most of the videoss that you can find in there are not part of the big learning plan, they are just little pieces of knowledge lost in the big library of the app.

So in the end you’re going to end up jumping from one video to another and getting lost in that immense world of YouTube. And without being able to build the right learning, practicing plan that will help you to move forward in your learning.

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.

In you tube you can´t get any kind of feedback about the mistakes and success you make when you learn to play percussion

Having someone who guide us and give us feedback along our learning process is vital when we are learning something new from scratch, for several reasons:

  • First one is that a teacher or a facilitator will help us to build the best learning path possible. Taking under consideration our strengths and weaknesses and most important of all, our goals and needs. He also will build a class and practice plan that will improve our learning process.

  • In second place. He will help us to avoid struggling with the common mistakes that self thaught students made, basically because he’s been through that learning route several times and knows it in detail. So bottom line is his knowledge and his experience is going to make your learning route easier and shorter.

  • In the third place, he will keep track of your progress. He will help you with that difficulties. Basically, he’s going to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. And in this last case, he also will provide the knowledge and resources to solve the difficulties and improve your playing skills.

  • An last, you will have someone to play percussion with. And someone who will always challenge you to try new and different ways to play the percussion instrument that you love.

None of this you can find on YouTube. On the contrary, the learning process in YouTube is a lonely road in which you are on your own to solve any difficulties you may face.

So, It’s most likely that you will make several mistakes and also you don’t even realize that you are making them. The most common consequence of this is again, you will develop several playing vices that will compromise your playing skills and your development as a percussionist, and most important of all, you won’t be able to confirm if you’re making any kind of progress or not in your learning path.

Mixing and Mashing up several YouTube videos is not the best way to learn to play percussion

Learning to play percussion by mixing and mashing up videos from different sources is a common behavior nowadays?. And YouTube is one of the places where that is done the most. Although this way of learning is popular is not that most recommended for beginner percussionist, because it has several negative consequence in their learning process.

Jumping from one video to the other with no sort of connection or coherence results in a absolutely chaotic learning part in which confusion and contradiction are the main elements.

Also, you’re going to end up learning very little pieces of knowledge about percussion, but at the same time know knowing vital information that is important for you to succeed in your learning path in percussion.

Another consequence of this way of learning is that the lack of coherence in your learning plan is going to make you´ll develop a lot of playing vices to fill the voids between the little pieces of learning puzzle you are trying to solve.

All of this makes your learning process in percussion chaotic, more difficult, even longer, and also makes you become a Frankenstein percussionist, something that has a terrible consequence in your playing craft as percussionist.

In YouTube you´re going to find a lot of great percussion player, but not as many great teachers.

As percussion student, I had a diverse learning experience which include taking classes with several percussion teachers and facilitators. Some of them were really good teachers, while others, although they were excellent percussionist, weren´t good teachers. There is a simple explanation for this. Sometimes when someone is so good at doing something, what I mean is so good that he can do it almost naturally and without thinking, it is really difficult for him to teach others how to do that.

Basically, because for him is something that happens so naturally and without struggle that is difficult for him to put in the shoes of someone who find it difficult to do it.

And in YouTube is something that happens a lot. What I mean is in most of the video, you can watch people that are really good and showing what they can do, but they are not good at explaining or teaching it. And that is because the lack of a teaching method they take on their consideration all the possible difficulties that a beginner percussion student can face when he is starting his learning path in percussion.

Most of the videos on YouTube propose a learning process based on the sequence “watch – copy – repeats”, but you need to know that that is just a little part of the learning process in percussion. And also for some people it’s not enough because there are a lot of other elements that you need to know and learn in order to succeed in the learning to play the percussion instrument that you love.

So there you have it.

These are the main reasons why I think that YouTube is not the best option for you to study or learn about the percussion.

I hope you like the post and I helped you put some light about this important issues.

Thanks for reading it

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.