Getting Started with the Kalimba - Easy to Learn Instrument

Here you are, you fell for this little wooden piano, you already have it in your hands, or you will soon get one.

Now, you will have to tame this original instrument and discover its secrets. Its 17 steel blades (or keys), if you have chosen this model, will amaze you with the crystalline and pleasant sound they emit, but also with their ease of use.

You will see that learning this small African instrument is not very complicated, even for a beginner and that with the help of good guides, you will quickly manage to play some nice melodies which will have the most beautiful effect on your entourage. .

And what a pleasure to be able to impress your friends with an extraordinary object! Can you already imagine carrying it everywhere with you to liven up dinners, entertain your co-workers during breaks or why not, delight passengers in public transport?

Its relaxing music will delight all who listen to you and will also be a good way to soothe, relax and free yourself from the stress of everyday life.

Enjoy playing and have fun!

Now let's see how to quietly learn to master your instrument.


Two nice kalimba on the table

Getting to know your kalimba

Start with tuning

Before you start playing, you will need to tune your instrument. If you are already familiar with music and tuning techniques, you will have no trouble making adjustments to your small wooden piano.

If you're discovering the world of music and it's your very first time, don't panic! This process is not rocket science, you will only have to familiarize yourself with the tuner and the notes of English music. Some tuners display French notes.

To help you in this step, consult our complete guide which will allow you to easily tune each of your notes.
How to Tune Kalimba 17 blades, 10 blades and 21 blades.

Use a small mallet to tap the reeds and raise or lower them until you reach the desired note.

Play Kalimba

Getting started with the instrument

Your thumb piano is now well tuned and sounds right. You can already have fun pressing the keys to locate the location of each musical note.

It is not essential to know music theory to play this instrument, even novices in music can learn easily and quickly to play melodies in a completely satisfactory way. You will find that the simplicity of learning is both pleasant and stimulating.

If you've ever got into the habit of flexing your thumbs on video game controllers or smartphones while texting, you'll quickly acquire the skill of juggling percussion blades.

Hold your instrument between both hands and imagine you are holding your phone. But instead of sending messages to your friends, you will send them beautiful musical notes.

Now let's get down to business and find out how to play your first tunes with your small wooden kalimba piano .

Learn to play the Kalimba on your own

How to learn music on your own, when you are a complete novice, when you don't know where to start to play your first songs, and with an unusual instrument to boot?

Generally, music schools offer to teach the practice of piano, guitar, violin... In percussion, you will manage to find drum lessons, but finding a kalimba teacher will be extremely difficult, they do not run the streets .

Fortunately, the magic of the internet is there and you will find many courses and tutorials on the web!

You have already understood that you only need to press the reeds with your thumbs to produce notes, the goal now is to learn how to play them in the correct order.

There are three ways to do this:

  • Sheet music
    The scores use music theory and are therefore reserved for people who are already musicians. If you don't know how to decipher them, it doesn't matter; the following two solutions are made for you.
  • Simple tabs
    Tablature is much easier to read for novice musicians than sheet music. It is a kind of map showing the note numbers and their location on the instrument. This way, you know which key to press to produce the desired note.
    You will find many tablatures on the net to allow you to practice. Start with the simplest, nursery rhymes for example, and then look for slightly more complex tablatures as you progress.
  • Video tutorials
    We've saved the best for last with the easiest way to learn: video tutorials.
    Here, you don't need any knowledge of music or knowing how to read a map. You play the melody at the same time as the video, the notes are animated and fall on the blades which you must press.
    By practicing regularly with this technique, you will memorize the notes very quickly and will be able to play all kinds of themes easily.
    Nothing is easier with these tutorials than learning music alone!

We advise you to play at least 10 to 15 minutes each day in order to better assimilate everything you learn. If you play for too long, your thumbs will quickly hurt. It's normal, it's the job that comes in, like on the guitar. With practice, this inconvenience will dissipate.

Kalimba Blades

How to start? Quick Start

Many musicians prefer to improvise or play their music favorites by following the free tabs found on Youtube, rather than learning theory.

For example, this Kalimba cover of Yann's "Rhyme from another summer" Tiersen contains music AND the accompanying tablature.

With the notes engraved on the blades, it is intuitive to learn the Kalimba, just follow the scrolling notes.

In addition, the red strips included with your Kit serve to differentiate the notes in a more obvious way.

Follow the News Pawpaw at the bottom of the page to stay informed of new releases Kalimbas , guides and more! 

Do you dream of becoming a musician?

The Kalimba has been modernized and is used around the world. Perhaps its practice will trigger in you a vocation as a musician?

After a promising start thanks to the learning techniques seen above, and with regular training, you will improve and increase your level of skills; you will be able to play more and more complex pieces.

Little by little, you will discover all the sounds, all the nuances that can be produced with this simple, yet magical little instrument.

Some film music is composed from this cousin of the xylophone from Africa. Perhaps you will become the brilliant composer of our next hits?

In any case, at, you will find quality kalimbas at low prices!

← Back to Guides

Listening support

A question ? A concern?

Secure payment

We use the latest technologies in the field.

Home delivery

Receive your order in 48 hours at your doorstep.

Satisfaction guaranteed

We offer a money back guarantee.