4-Mallet Video Lesson Series

Over the past 5-10 years, there has been an enormous growth in 4-mallet percussion at the high school level. Today's high school percussionists are playing literature with techniques that would only be heard at college recitals ten years ago! The techniques have been around for more than 25 years, but the players attempting them are getting younger and younger.

With the rapid increase in popularity, there comes the possibility of students moving too quickly through the learning process, or not having adequate instruction.

In these cyber lessons, Vic Firth signature artist Gifford Howarth will detail each step along the road to developing command and control over 4 mallet keyboard percussion technique.

Throughout these lessons, Mr. Howarth will explain concepts detailed in his book, Simply Four; 4-Mallet Percussion as Easy as 1-2-3 (4). To follow along and utilize specific exercises and etudes, we recommend that you purchase a copy of the book, available through Tap Space Publications. The book breaks down the Stevens and Burton grips step by step from (1) how to hold each mallet in your hand, (2) how to use the different basic strokes, (3) how to combine the strokes through the use of exercises and etudes and (4) how to develop your technique correctly.>


 Lesson 1: Introduction from Giff
   Giff welcomes you to his cyber lessons and discusses the range of upcoming lessons.
 Lesson 2: Holding the Inside Mallet
   Proper placement of the inside mallet in the Stevens grip is paramount to your future success!
 Lesson 3: Holding the Outside Mallet
   Giff covers the basics of gripping the outside mallet and gives you some common problems to watch out for.
 Lesson 4: Keeping the Mallets Level
   Giff gives you a trick for keeping the mallets level and reinforcing the proper grip.
 Lesson 5: The Double Stop Stroke (double verticals)
   Start playing with the basic wrist stroke.
 Lesson 6: Changing Intervals in the Double Stop Stroke.
   Learn to change intervals with the inside mallets by using the "index finger shuffle."
 Lesson 7: Changing Intervals - Outside Mallets
   Add wrist positioning to help smooth interval changes with the outside mallets.
 Lesson 8: Changing Intervals - Combining the Two Motions
   Giff gives us an exercise to work on combining the two motions.
 Lesson 9: Changing Intervals - Double Stop Exercise #1
   More exercises to isolate the interval changing motion of inside and outside mallets.
 Lesson 10: Changing Intervals - Large Intervals
   Giff explains how to handle larger intervals without getting into bad habits.
 Lesson 11: Body Orientation to the Instrument
   Establish the proper distance from your lower body to the instrument.
 Lesson 12: Individual Mallet Rotations
   Learn the correct way to rotate the mallets for individual strokes.
 Lesson 13: Individual Mallet Rotations - Outside Mallet
   Learn the correct way to rotate the mallets for individual strokes.
 Lesson 14: More About Mallet Rotation
   Giff talks about the pathway of the mallets.
 Lesson 15: Mallet Rotation Exercise
   Accenting individual mallets within a 3 note Permutation.
 Lesson 16: More Fun with the "Three's" Ecercise
 Lesson 17: NEW! Suggestions for an Effective Warm Up Routine

Giff Howarth Signature Marimba Mallets:

Gifford Howarth Signature Keyboard
Very soft. Huge sounding low-end mallets. Great for cello suites or general use bass mallets. Produces a full overtone-rich bass sound.
L = 17 5/8"
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Gifford Howarth Signature Keyboard
Soft. For use in the lower two-thirds of the instrument. Produces that deep open bass sound while still speaking through the mid-range.
L = 17 1/2"
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Gifford Howarth Signature Keyboard
Medium. Adds a lush quality to the lower range while providing the attack needed through most of the upper range.
L = 17 3/8"
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Gifford Howarth Signature Keyboard
Medium hard. For general playing on the entire range of the marimba. Produces excellent clarity in the upper range and rich tones in the lower and mid-ranges.
L = 17 1/4"
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Gifford Howarth Signature Keyboard
Multi-tone. Hard to medium. Provides sharp clarity in the highest range of the instrument without a harsh "core attack" sound in the lower range. Great for much of the contemporary literature.
L = 17 1/4"
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Simply Four
4-Mallet Technique as Easy as 1-2-3...4

by Gifford Howarth

Simply Four is available at:

For band directors, percussion instructors, and percussionists of all ages.

Finally, a clear-cut method on the fundamentals of four-mallet percussion technique! While this style of performance is becoming standard in modern percussion, never before have you had such a clearly defined resource to answer all your questions. This book is sure to take the fear out of playing with four mallets!

Included in this book:
• Step-by-step breakdown of the Stevens and Burton style grips.
• Technique enhancing exercises.
• Progressive and inventive etudes.
• Tons of detailed photos.
• plus much more!!

Listen to an etude sample:
"Call and Answer," page 68 (mp3 Audio - 684K)

View book page samples:
Table of Contents (Adobe PDF, 2 pages - 88Kb)
Sample Book Pages (Adobe PDF, 4 pages - 196 Kb)
Etude Samples (Adobe PDF, 4 pages - 112 Kb)


    Listen to selected cuts from Giff's CD: Rosewood Resonance

"Lupita" - Dave Grusin/arr. Rounds, Howarth
   -From The Milagro Beanfield War Suite
"Cavatina" - Stanley Myers/arr. Howarth
   -Theme from The Deer Hunter
"Prelude" - Bach/trans. Howarth
   -From The Suite No. 3 in C Major
"Asturias (Leyenda)" - Isaac Albéniz/arr. Howarth
   -From The Suite No. 3 in C Major