Starting Percussion

Four Session

Four sessions for the beginner percussionist, listen to the complete tracks at

Download the sheet music from

Free play a long tracks available at

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April 1st

Decoys and whistles

Toot Tango 2 for some April first fun

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Strings and Bells

Spring Daffs

Welcome to Spring

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Demands of many deadlines


The track a day, #atrackaday, challenge has been very useful in concentrating my mind on an effective use of time and resources. I have uncovered many unreleased recordings as I delve through the archives and this week have put together the album of the Work In Progress series.  The first books in this series are now twenty years old and the publications for a percussion ensemble of 10 players included the score, parts and music minus one recordings for each part.

It was interesting to listen to them all again with more experienced ears especially the various standards of recording and production.  I have put them together as a short album on the Bandcamp site

Research for my previous post revealed that 66% of resolutions for the New Year are broken before the end of January.  By curating the music I have discovered into themed collections I am already approaching the end of March.  Not a bad start to the year.

(c) Peter R. Birkby 2018

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A Track A Day


Or for some social media #atrackaday

Introducing my New Year’s good intentions, after a holiday period of coughs and splutters, even though George Arnett in the Guardian article a few years ago found that 66% of resolutions last less than a month and 86% don’t last the year. My aim is to post a new track each day during 2018 and I’m now on day 9 (started early).

During my housebound weeks I listened to music and found lots of it, many pieces that I had composed during the past few years and then stored, suppressing all those creative ideas to complete the PhD now doesn’t seem worth it. Now it has been rediscovered the obvious action is off the hard drive and into the ether so you can give it a listen and decide for yourself rather than just reading about it in the blogs.

I hope some of the music resonates with you in some way, there are always percussion sounds on much of what I produce, and there may be some surprises in there as well. The more complete tracks will be available to listen to at

The mainly MIDI versions will be posted on

And there will be some tracks with film that you can access at

Any sheet music to go with the tracks will be available on (priced in £s) and (priced in $s)


Hope you all have a happy listening year and today’s track is Within The Glass Copper Skin from Urban Music

© Peter R. Birkby 2018

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A to Z of Percussion


A couple of years ago I published a collection of blogs about percussion. It was an A to Z of percussion instruments and to save searching I have now collated all the links on one page. Here are all the links:





E, F and G

H, I, J, K and L

M, N, O, P and Q

R and S

T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z

I did receive some helpful comments after the last publication and I updated the collection with the information from colleagues and fellow percussionists. If you spot an omission of error please get in touch and I will rectify it. Keep striking, or in my case bashing.

© P. R. Birkby 2017

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Sing, Sing, Sing and Sing


It has been a busy ten days working with, and enjoying the sounds of, four very different choirs in Yorkshire. Performances in the sympathetic acoustic of Wakefield Cathedral to the unresponsive dryness of the Holiday Inn Barnsley function room and somewhere in the middle a refurbished factory that is Hope Bank Works.

There have been a number of studies promoting the benefits of singing in a choir, and music in general, for all ages. Here are a few links to some articles and research.

Each choir has been a pleasure to listen to and accompany with a diverse collection of music including Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man sung by the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, gospel and Coldplay from the Barnsley Youth Choir, Salsa favourites with the Hope Bank Community Choir and anything goes with the Monday afternoon Hope Bank sing song that can include cake, sherry and lots of conversation as well.

Catch future concerts if you can although the 8th and 9th December Christmas concerts by Barnsley Youth Choir sold out a few days after going on sale, the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir sing again in Wakefield Cathedral on the 16th December and Hope Bank Christmas concerts are the 10th and 17th December featuring bands, choir and small groups.

© Peter R. Birkby 2017

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