This year at Open School, Red and Silver Clusters are learning basic keyboard percussion, mostly on glockenspiels. And, Yellow Cluster is learning more advanced percussion on glockenspiels, xylophones, metallophones, bass bars, hand drums, and other percussion instruments.
Students are not in any way required to have a mallet percussion instrument for home practice. However, students who do practice at home will excel more quickly in class and will typically be given more fun and challenging parts to play with the group.
Please Note: I have not tested all of the instruments and options recommended below. I have chosen these recommendations mostly based on three factors: included features, overall perceived value, and word-of-mouth/online reviews. I encourage everyone to do their own research before making a purchase.
If you indeed choose one of the options listed below, please use the links in this post to make your purchase. A small portion of the purchase amount will go towards a budget for improvements and upgrades to the instruments used at Open School.
Most Affordable Glockenspiels
For the category of Most Affordable Glockenspiels, there are really three worth mentioning: the Lyons 25-Note Glockenspiel, the Ravel 25-Note Glockenspiel, and the inTemenos 25-Note Chromatic Glockenspiel.
While all are definitely the cheapest glockenspiels worth considering, they have a lot going for them. At a standard price range of just $25-$40, they all have a few extra keys beyond the glockenspiels we use at school, including all of the accidental keys (sharps and flats).
In addition, all three come with a case, which is incredibly helpful for transporting the instrument and ensuring pieces are not lost in storage.
The biggest drawbacks to these glockenspiels are:
1) They come apart easily, and
2) They may not be the brand that is advertised
The first issue is only a concern regarding the loss of parts. Some reviewers reported that keys seemed to have fallen off the instrument during delivery, but that it is easy to put them back to their proper places. If you choose one of these options, just make sure all the keys are on the instrument when closing the case and that the case is always fully closed when not in use.
The second issue is almost a non-issue. It appears as though several brands make the same identical product. Likely, it is one manufacturing company distributing to several different sales companies. It may be that the glockenspiel has a different brand on it when you receive it, but it should work just the same.
Now for the differences between these three glockenspiels…
This glockenspiel is the most basic with silver keys and a plastic case. And, while the colored keys of the Ravel Glockenspiel might be more fun, the silver keys on this glockenspiel look a bit more professional.
The best part of this option is that the standard price is right about $25, so it is the cheapest of the three.
The Ravel Glockenspiel is the most fun of these three glockenspiels. It has colored keys!
Just like the Lyons Glockenspiel, it has a plastic case, but it usually comes in at a bit higher price at around $35. However, at the time of writing this, the Ravel Glockenspiel is actually on sale for just $26.
Note, I have come across an almost identical glockenspiel advertised as made by inTemenos. I can see no difference between the two other than the Ravel is usually listed at a lower price point.
This inTemenos Glockenspiel is very similar to the Lyons Glockenspiel, with the added benefit of a more sturdy, wooden case.
For only $40, it is very professional looking.
The Best Glockenspiel for Dedicated Beginners and Pros On-the-Go
If your child is serious about keyboard percussion and would like to take advantage of a full-size glockenspiel, this glockenspiel is quite superior to the three listed above.
Of course, it comes in at about $70, but that’s a deal compared to brand name glockenspiels which can easily cost hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.
This glockenspiel even folds up and packs nicely into a simple travel case.
Probably the best feature of this glockenspiel is that the keys screw down and will not fall off as easily as the with glockenspiels listed above.
Clearance & Used Items
If these glockenspiels don’t quite cut it for you, but you don’t want to spend much more than $35-40, there are many places to get a used glockenspiel or xylophone at a steep discount.
Musician’s Friend also has an open box section for mallet percussion.