Learn How To Play Them
There are two styles of rhythm bones playing, Traditional and Percussive, though many play a bit of both. Traditional is built on the Triplet and Percussive is built on the Tap. Basic instruction consists of how to hold rhythm bones and how to play the tap and the triplet.
This is one of the first instruction materials edited by Sue Barber and produced by Andy and Bill Spence of Andy’s Front Hall. NOTE: You may have to change your browser’s PDF reader to Adobe Reader to listen to the audio files. Alternatively after clicking ‘Read the Booklet,’ download the file, open it and if you get a security message, click ‘Trust.’
Dr. Fred Edmunds wrote a book and made a video titled ‘Bones Unlimited.’ His complete course that emphasizes the percussive style of play. The original book and video and the on-line version are copyright 2007-2011 by the Rhythm Bones Society. All rights reserved.
Percy Danforth – How to Play the Bones
This is the definitive work on playing the bones! It was the first rhythm bones instructional video in the VCR format and now available as a DVD. Produced and sold by Lark in the Morning who gave use permission to put the non-instructional parts of the DVD online – click HERE.
Aaron Plunkett – Bones From the Beginning
This is the other definitive rhythm bones instructional DVD by multi-percussionist Aaron Plunkett. A bit more expensive, but well done with good exercises. Click HERE for sample from the DVD.
There are several good instruction videos on YouTube. Check out these:
With people spread out over the world. we are interested in exploring online instruction using some teleconferencing technology. We were recently contacted for this and provided an instructor who will soon report on this in the newsletter.
Workshops are part of annual Bones Fests and have great instruction. Check out these:
Early issues of the Rhythm Bones Player had a ‘Tips & Techniques’ column. Below are a few of the best.
The Rudiments of Rhythm Bones
Playing Eight Rhythm Bones by Yirdy Machar
Care and Maintenance by Walt Watkins
How to Hold by Walt Watkins
Rhythm Bones Etiquette by Walt Watkins
Dutch Penny Bones by Dutch Kopp
Quadruplet Roll by Bill Vits
After triplets, Now What? by Skeff Flynn
Learn a Lick by Steve Wixson
The Rhythm Bones Society has not figured a way to teach large numbers of children so that rhythm bones continue in future generations. Shown below are anecdotal experiences that may inspire.
Getting Kids Started by Bill Rexroad
Youth Track by Constance Cook
The Young Player by Constance Cook
The Young Player 2 by Constance Cook
The Young Player 3 by Constance Cook
The Young Player 4 by Constance Cook
The Young Player 5 by Constance Cook
The Young Player 6 by Constance Cook
The Young Player 7 by Constance Cook
Bones Infect School by Adam Klein
Teaching Kids by Jennifer Ranger
Boy Wonder by Steve Brown
Children’s Workshop by Jonathan Danforth
When Principal Plays Bones by Sandor Slomovits
Great Lesson Plan by Teri Davies Wolin
Taught During COVID-19 by Teri Wolin
Irish Kid Letter to Steve Brown
Bones at Camp by Adele Megann
Rhythm bones in Germany are called Klepperle, and there is a long tradition of children playing them as part of Easter season. Children make them, learn how to play them and learn several pattern that allow them to play together, compete using set patterns for honors with winners leading a Mardi Gras like parade. The following videos are in German, but the images tell the story. The last four videos are stories from some of the towns that carry on this tradition with some towns playing one handed and others two handed. Unfortunately, the pandemic has stopped this tradition and leaders are wondering if it will continue after the pandemic. For more information go to klepperle.de (it is in German, but there is help on Page 4)