You have permission to be weird. You have permission to be creative, take risks, and make mistakes. Still unsure? Brian Hehn tells you exactly how easy, cheap, and fun it can be to introduce percussion to your choir, and the reasons why you should. Listen for some creative ways to incorporate percussion into the elements of your worship service in ways that are engaging and organic.


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Highlight to Tweet: “Hit a trash can with a stick. Does it sound kind of bassy? You’ve got your bass.” -Brian Hehn

Show Notes:

  • When learning a new percussion instrument, the 8 year old and the 80 year old are on equal ground. Any age can have fun with percussion.
  • No money for instruments? Take some inspiration from “Stomp.” Check out your recyclables and trash cans for different percussive sounds! Go to Goodwill and start smacking things with a stick.
  • Percussion can be:
    • Body percussion
    • Speech percussion
    • Percussion instruments
    • Anything that makes a fun sound when you strike it
  • Think of ways to weave percussion creatively into your service. Add speech percussion to the scripture reading, or as a Call to a Prayer or Assurance of Pardon.
  • Use rhythm to engage singers and get their attention at the beginning of rehearsal, and let that body percussion lead into you vocal warm ups.
  •  Percussion in the body as we sing
    • Internalized Rhythm
    • Body movement


Brian is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an acapella singing of “It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored the book All Hands In: Drumming the Biblical Narrative, published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also adjunct professor of church music at both Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.

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