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For those of you that read one of my recent reviews on a Yamaha recorder you will know that I am a massive music fan and take my role as head of the recorder club at school very seriously. After two years perseverance my amazing abilities at teaching children to play the "Three Blind Mice" has finally been recognised and I've received a promotion. It's not quite conducting the Halle orchestra yet (I feel that will be around Christmas) but I have been promoted to head of the percussion club. Now you may well mock me but this is quite a responsibility, not only do I get the pleasure of hearing 20 tuneless recorders on a Tuesday lunch time, I also get to throw into the mix a few tambourines, a few triangles and some random wooden blocks that children seem to like to tap to no particular rhythm!
In reality I feel that this "promotion" must be a punishment for something really bad that I did in a previous life, there is no other explanation for it other than that no one else was stupid enough to say yes when offered it. Parents never seem to tire of hearing the percussion club, baring in mind they only hear it once a year at the Christmas concert for a capped time of two minutes (the head said it could never go over two minutes as she couldn't last any longer). When I looked at the rather tired looking tambourines we had I decided we needed to upgrade, my theory was that the more expensive they were then surely the better they'd sound? Apparently not! However we did purchase six Meinl Nino 15 tambourines at the price of £21.99 each from Amazon in the hope they'd be automatically tuneful!
The tambourines look like your typical tambourine in that they're made of a light wood and are circular in shape. The diameter is approximately 10 inches and all around the circumference are the steel plates which, when shaken, result in a noise. The plates are made from nickel silver plated steel which does result in a nicer tinkling sound. They are available in a one row construction with 8 plated steel jingle pairs, or as a two row construction with 16 plated steel jingle pairs which are the ones we bought... I figured we might as well double the sound! They've got a small circular hole which allows you to place several fingers through in order to hold it when playing it. To make a sound you simply need to hold it and beat it against your other hand or leg and the steel jingle pairs will produce a sparkling sound.
The wooden frame is really sturdy, they've withstood being banged and dropped numerous times in the month that we've had them and I'm pretty certain they'd also withstand me hurling them across the room (I'll probably find out next year)! The steel jingle pairs are also held firmly in place, obviously there does need to be some flexibility to allow them to vibrate when you bang the tambourine but they wouldn't be easy to damage or pull out in anyway. Prior to investing in these we had some rather cheap looking plastic tambourines which made quite a harsh sound, these ones actually make quite a nice tinkling sound that's light and nice to listen to. You can alter the intensity and volume or the sound depending on how hard you force the plates to vibrate... we're still working on the quieter option!
If you are in the habit of making music and fancy setting up your own percussion band then I'd fully recommend the Meinl Nino 15 tambourine. They make a nice sound, are easy to use and are sturdy too. I always do wonder who actually buys things like this, apart from schools, so please do enlighten me if you have any ideas or even if you own your own tambourine! As I mentioned they're currently priced at £21.99 on Amazon and this does seem to be the cheapest online price, they also offer a percussion set too if you're serious. So now I have a merry band of about thirty children playing their hearts out on various percussion instruments every week in preparation for our annual two minute concert... all I can say is tune in for the next series of Britain's Got Talent... I'll be there in a strait jacket!
Thanks for reading.