The carillon might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to musical instruments, yet there are striking similarities with the piano and the organ. With the variety of activities at Erasmus University, carillon playing is something that you should definitely try out at least once.

Use your fist

The class started with learning the basics of the carillon. The main technique of playing the carillon is to use your fist to hit the notes. Mathieu explained the different techniques that one can use while playing the carillon. “You usually do it with the fist, and you can play louder and softer by using more or less force when you hit the notes.”

The lesson continued by letting Adinda get used to the keyboard, then with some improvisation and lastly with some note reading. Mathieu also mentioned the difference between a carillon and an organ. “A carillon has pedals just like an organ. They are not as long as organ pedals, so you have to hit them with the point of your foot. They go from the C note to the G note.”


The whole experience was very new to Adinda, but it was not that difficult, once she got a grasp of the technique. Mathieu highlighted how people who have had previous experience with playing the piano or organ might have an easier time getting acquainted with the carillon.

The most difficult part of the lesson was getting used to the rhythm and simultaneously understanding the musical notes, to be able to play a song in the end. So, how hard could it be? Overall, Adinda would rate this experience a ‘9 out of 10’. She definitely would need many more lessons to get used to this instrument before she could actually give a carillon concert for the whole university to hear.

Free lessons

Every Wednesday from 9.00 to 12.30, you can join a carillon lesson led by Mathieu Polak. The carillon lesson is free for students and employees wanting to immerse themselves in this unique musical instrument.