History and Information
The vibraphone, also known as the vibraharp or the vibes, is a pitched percussion instrument consisting of metal bars (usually aluminum) that are struck with mallets. It also has a sustain pedal, similar to that of the piano. Although it is in the same family of instruments as the xylophone or marimba (idiophones), it did not exist in its current form until the early 20th century. There is an extensive repertoire of both jazz and classic music for the vibraphone.
When to Start
Students can start vibraphone lessons as young as age 6. However, because it is such a large instrument, younger students may feel more comfortable starting on another percussion or keyboard instrument and then switching to the vibraphone when they are physically able to do so. Most instructors will incorporate reading music into their lessons, so students should know at least some reading and counting fundamentals.
Getting a Vibraphone
There are many brands and models of vibraphones available. It is a very large instrument that will take up a significant amount of space in your home; there are digital versions available from some shops. It also can be very expensive, although most music stores will offer rental instruments. For very young students, it is especially recommended to rent for two reasons: 1) they will most likely grow out of instruments quickly and 2) they may lose interest (although we hope they don’t!). Most stores will provide repair services for instruments that they rent out. We can give you recommendations for places near you to buy or rent your vibraphone or digital alternative. Please contact us, and be sure to include your location!
Books and Supplies
Your instructor can tell you which books and supplies are appropriate. Most books and many supplies, including mallets, are available online. We can recommend stores near you where you can purchase supplies and music for your vibraphone, if you prefer to do so in person. Please contact us, and again, remember to tell us where you live!
**Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We can help provide you with additional resources.**