Photo by Scott Pickering

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Shake Tambourine's Old Testament Cousin

King David and his companions were obviously excited about 
bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem.  In the 
procession, a number of instruments are being played 
according to Scripture:
"And David and all the house of Israel played before the 
LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on 
harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, 
and on cymbals."                               2 Samuel 6:5 KJV
My research indicates that the band for this event may have
included a distant relative to the shake tambourine.
Some versions of the Bible use the word, castanets instead
of cornets (as the above KJV).
"This word (castanet) is incorrectly translated “cornets” in 
the King James Version.  The castanet was probably about 
the same instrument as the Egyptian sistrum…a loop-shaped 
metal frame through which were passed loose rods at the 
ends of which were rings.  The instrument was held by a 
long handle and was rattled during songs and dances." 
Fortune, A.W. "Castanets,"  The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
edited by James Orr.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: by William D. Eerdmans 
Publishing, 1939
The sistrum seems to be a Biblical percussion instrument
with a sound and playing technique that resembles the shake

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Which Backbeat To Play?

...2 or 4?

Doubling the snare drum back beat with a single strike on the tambourine is quite common and can give some variety to the groove. I usually choose one backbeat or the other; seldom do I play both 2 and 4. Less tedium and greater variety occurs when the snare drum is heard alone on one of the beats and the doubled sound on the other. Sometimes my choice is arbitrary but often I make a studied decision based on the lyrics of the song.

Listen to the phrasing of the lyrics and you will often find less vocal activity around either beat 2 or beat 4. Playing on that back beat allows the tambourine’s tone color to do its job without competing with the vocals.

Both lyric and tambourine get their space.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Percussion How To Series

My video series, Percussion How To is on the web.   Check out these short video tutorials at either or .

Here's a sample:

Monday, January 9, 2012

January Set Up of the Month

Percussion For Worship featured an interview with Len Barnett (percussionist with Daystar Television) back in November 2011.
Check out the arrangement of gear for his work on Celebration.

I want to jump into the photo and start improvising!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alt Rock Cajon

This Alt Rock Groove for cajon was inspired by the drum set version found on Carl Albrecht's DVD Drum Grooves for Worship.
See Posting December 13, 2011

The notes in parentheses are ghosted (played very lightly).  
Bottom space in cajon staff is the bass tone (center) and top space is the slap tone (corner).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Percussion For Worship Tribe

It's exciting to see how many page views that Percussion For Worship has received since the launch in 2010.   It is my desire that this blog brings you information and inspiration for your ministry (whether you are a percussionist, worship leader, producer, songwriter, or just interested in percussion).

How about your ideas?  What do you want to see in upcoming posts?  Do you want to be a guest writer?  How about sending in a photo of your set up? 

Please send your suggestions to me at or post in the comments section on the blog.

Be a part of the Percussion For Worship tribe !