Handpan 101 – Scales, Rhythms, Chords, Tips and Tricks for Beginning Hang Drum Players

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When you first get a handpan, there is so much to explore it can seem overwhelming. Our Handpan 101 video will introduce you to some fundamentals of handpan playing including playing with a metronome, polyrhythms, paradiddles and drum rudiments, learning the scale of your instrument, playing chords and more!

Handpans are resonant steel instruments that evolved out of the Trinidad Steel Pan. Originally made by just one company in Switzerland, there are now (at time of writing) over 100 handpan makers worldwide.

The instrument used in this video is a PanArt 2nd Generation D Hijaz:

Hijaz Scale tones: (1) 5 b7 1 b2 3 4 5
D Hijaz Scale on this instrument: (D) A C D Eb F# G A

Music theory is especially important for handpan players to develop the knowledge of how scales work, how to build chords and how to play with other musicians.

The Paradiddle is an essential rhythmic figure for hand percussion or any instrument that features the interplay of two rhythmic elements. The basic paradiddle pattern is:

L R L L R L R R

This concept can be applied to linear instruments (those that play one note at a time) by simply alternating between two notes, with one note assigned as “left” and the other assigned as “right”.

The 40 Drum Rudiments (essential for any percussionist): http://vicfirth.com/40-essential-rudiments/

 

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AJ Block is the director of Didge Project and is active as a didgeridoo teacher and performer. In addition to didgeridoo, AJ has spent years studying music traditions from all over the world including jazz (trombone and piano), western classical music, Indian Classical Music, guitar and world percussion. AJ has developed a number of programs for Didge Project including The ABCs of Didgeridoo, The Didgeridoo Skills Course, and Circular Breathing Mastery. He is also the author of Didge For Sleep, a didgeridoo learning method designed specifically for people with Sleep Apnea. As a performer AJ is the leader of the Didge Project Music Collective and a member of Dream Seed: A Shamanic Sound Journey. AJ is a founding member of Sacred Arts Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sacred art traditions through education, ritual and study. As a student of spiritual teacher Maestro Manuel Rufino AJ is an active member of the Golden Drum community.