Inside the Technique with Theodor Milkov

Inside the Technique with Theodor Milkov

Inside the Technique:
A Conversation with Theodor Milkov

Well-known for his "pianistic" approach, revolutionary ideas and technical abilities, Theodor Milkov is currently one of the world's most innovative artists, bringing the marimba to a new level of performance. The fluidity of movement and precision of independent lines delivered with utmost musicality is a witness to the cutting edge of where we as percussionists may see the future direction of this relatively young instrument.


Anders Åstrand caught up with Theo to get an inside look into his technique, starting with exercises on the practice pad, developing musical lines on the marimba and detailed philosophy of weighted, relaxed strokes in order to deliver the purest tone possible – no matter the percussion instrument you're playing.  Included are several performance excerpts where you can see for yourself the truly masterful direction where Theo is leading us.

My Pianistic Approach

by Theodor Milkov

"The most often question I have been asked during my clinics and masterclasses is “Why”. The “How”, usually comes much later. Why would you even try to play literature written for Piano/Keyboard on a marimba? How did this idea come to your mind? The simple answer to this is Music."   – T.M.


Chapter 1: Introduction to traditional grip

Chapter 2: Mechanics of the Pianistic Approach
I. Rotation Training on Practice Pad
II. Practice Pad Etudes
III. Periodic Table of Scales Stickings
IV. Sticking Approach
V. Exercices on Marimba
VI. Marimba Etudes


Chapter 3: Introduction to the Moeller Technique
I. Training Moeller Technique on Practice Pad
II. Marimba Exercices on Moeller
III. Marimba Etudes
IV. Concert Etudes

Watch more performances


Russian-Greek percussionist Theodor Milkov is widely recognized as one of the most innovative marimba players in the world. Well-known for his pianistic approach to the instrument, revolutionary ideas and technical abilities, he has succeeded in bringing the art of marimba performance to entirely new heights. Milkov's repertoire includes virtuosic transcriptions of music originally written for harpsichord and piano, as well as contemporary compositions dedicated to himself.


Milkov began his percussion studies at the age of seven at the Municipal Conservatory of Patras, Greece, under the supervision of his stepfather Maxim Mankovski. Subsequently, he studied at the Musikhochschule Detmold (Germany), the Royal Conservatoire Den Haag and the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam (The Netherlands), taking lessons with prominent teachers such as Peter Prommel, Hans Zanderoep, Fedor Teunisse, Luuk Nagdegaal, Nick Woud and Gustavo Gimmeno.


In 2017, he hosted the first Milkov International Marimba Summer Camp (MIMSC) – a rigorous training course based on his marimba method "My Pianist Apporach” which is presented in this book. MIMSC quickly became one of the most popular annually recurring percussion events, attracting eager participants from all over the world: USA, Japan, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, China, Latvia and Hungary.


Theodor is a Yamaha and Vic Firth/Zildjian artist.

Check out Theo's line of signature mallets:

From the mind of the ever-innovative and always impressive performer and educator Theodor Milkov, comes the Theodor Milkov Marimba Mallet Collection. Renown for his creative approach to the instrument and astounding technical ability, Theodor now offers his sound in a series of unique marimba mallets that provide a soft, dark sound while still maintaining an incredible amount of articulation and feel. In Theo's own words, a "dream come true."

The blended Mohair yarn balances with the core to create a focused sound where the true tone of the marimba bar is singularly realized at all times. Played at the softest of dynamics, the bar truly sings without unwanted extraneous sounds. The premium hickory shafts provide the added weight the mallet needs to produce low frequencies, and the strength of the wood increases control and longevity.