How To Play RAV Drum For Absolute Beginners

Learn to play rav drum with this free video tutorial and article.

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If you are new to RAV Drum or handpan, or maybe you just want to improve your skills, learning some of the basic techniques in this video, How To Play RAV Drum for Absolute Beginners, will help you. The RAV Drum (aka RAV Vast) is a metal tongue drum instrument that is played similar to a handpan or hang.

The first thing to learn about percussion instruments is that you need to let your hand bounce off the instrument in order for it to resonate. If you make contact but do not remove your hand, the vibration will be dulled. By making sure that your hands are bouncing off the instrument, the tongues (RAV) or tone fields (handpan) will be able to vibrate unhindered. You will see a tip in this video where Matt shows how he starts pulling his hand away from the instrument a split second before he even makes contact.

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There are two types of beginning RAV drum strokes we look at in this video: a soft sound and a slap sound. To get the soft sound, you need to have your finger loose, perpendicular to the drum. Matt uses his middle finger but a lot of players use their index finger. This is all personal preference. The second stroke we explore is the slap sound, which is more percussive and uses the pads of the fingers (long sides). The slap is used when a louder sound is desired.

There are a number of patterns useful for beginners shown in this video. We highly suggest practicing going up and down the scale of your instrument. This is an indispensable exercise for melodic RAV drum playing. Then there are many more patterns you can play with, two or three of which are shown in this video.

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when you play RAV Drum is to have fun. These techniques are a starting point for you to find what moves you on the instrument. Practice these techniques and then take some time to creatively explore the instrument. You can practice playing notes in random order, or making up your own patterns that go up and down the scale. An example would be 3 up, 1 down, 3 up, 1 down, etc.: play the scale ascending from the bottom, first the 3 lowest notes, then down one, then the next 3 notes up, etc. In number order (with 1 being the lowest note), it would look like this: 1 2 3, 2 3 4, 3 4 5, 4 5 6, etc.

Question of the day: Where do you want to take your RAV Drum playing? What do you want to learn? Do you see yourself collaborating with others and/or using the instrument for meditative purposes? Write your answer in the comment section below.

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Matt Bazgier
Originally from Poland, Matt (Mateusz) Bazgier is multi-instrumentalist and music producer, currently living and creating in New York with the Golden Drum community. Under the guidance of Maestro Manuel Rufino, Tito La Rosa and Elders of many traditions, he studies the use of sacred music in many forms. His music is deeply rooted in a world of spirits and is treated as a spiritual practice. “I understand sound and music as a tool to create energy, transform, heal and communicate with the higher planes. I am particularly interested in combining styles and musical worlds to discover new musical grounds. Music is my way of service to the world.”

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