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Use the tabs below to find out about each section of the orchestra, watch video clips, and read interviews with musicians.

What is a percussion instrument? Well, in the simplest terms it's something you hit that isn't your brother or sister! This group of instruments is sometimes known as the kitchen department.

Tuned percussion instruments include the xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, bells, crotals and many more.

The xylophone is made of bits of wood that are tuned to different notes.

The player uses sticks, or beaters, to hit the wooden bars, sometimes as many as six at a time!

The percussionist has to play hundreds of instruments. Here are a couple more:

Marimba - Like the Xylophone but a lot softer and warmer sounding.

Glockenspiel - This is made from metal bars and sounds very high.

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Meet the orchestra

David Hockings, Percussionist
BBC Symphony Orchestra

  • How old were you when you first started playing?
    I was given my first real drum at four years old. I had been given a Woolworth's kit at two.

  • Why did you choose this instrument?
    I didn't, it chose me.

  • Do you play any other instruments?
    A little bit of piano.

  • What do you like most about playing in an orchestra?
    The feeling of being one of many musicians, especially in large performances with the orchestra and choir.

  • Do you play any other kind of music?
    I play solo concerts from time to time as well as playing in small groups.

  • What is your favourite music?
    Choral music from the 18th Century (Baroque).

  • Do you have any hobbies?
    Too many to list but they include skiing and horse riding.

Have you been listening to an orchestra without realising it?

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