The purpose of this article is to provide the reader with practical information on how to practice mallet keyboard instruments and to differentiate these practice concepts from concepts involving other percussion instruments. There are six basic skills to be mastered in order to play mallet instruments (vibraphone, bells, xylophone, and marimba), and they are as follows:
1. proper grip and stroke action
2. speed and accuracy in technique (legato and non-legato)
3. sight-reading ability
4. muscle memory skills
5. smooth rolls (tied and untied)
6. ability to assign good sticking patterns to written music.”
Check out this excellent Percussive Notes article from 1990 that retains its relevance today regarding our approach to keyboard percussion instruments.