Centre Opening Times

Colwell Arts Centre is now open on a strict appointment-only basis. To collect, return or exchange an instrument, please contact us at glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk to make an appointment.

Orchestral Percussion

Lessons you can take:

We offer orchestral percussion lessons through some of our music centres such as Five Valleys Music Centre in Stroud or Brookfield Music Centre in Churchdown.

When to start:

From school years 4 - 5. Many percussionists don't start until secondary school but the earlier the better



We charge £12 per term for a percussion 'starter pack' (a pair of drum sticks, pair of beaters, glockenspiel and practice pad). Find out more about hiring from us.


Varies depending on which instrument is to be purchased. A percussion 'starter pack' is about £129. Small instruments (woodblock/tambourine/triangle etc.) cost £5 - £10. Snare drums start at around £50. Students would not be expected to buy larger instruments, (tympani/xylophone etc.) unless they were in a position to do so when much more advanced. Buying second-hand offers good value, but always seek your teacher's advice before you buy.


Very few. Drumsticks cost about £7 a pair and can last quite a long time depending on usage, Beaters for tuned percussion instruments are slightly more expensive, £10 - £30 depending upon which instrument they are for.



Playing orchestral percussion instruments is as diverse as one can imagine. There are an infinite number of instruments (a percussion instrument being anything that is struck) and percussion instruments feature in virtually all styles of music. There is also a wide variety of music written for the solo percussionist and many works for percussion ensemble.


Practise can be a problematic because of the volume. However 'practice-pads' are available and practise on them is very beneficial. Transport for instruments such as tympani will require the use of a large vehicle.

Find out more about the orchestral percussion from the BBC’s guide to the orchestra.

Find out more about the history of percussion in music and theatre.

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