Sometimes the rhythms that are written for the tambourine are just too fast to play with one hand, so the percussionist needs to learn a technique or three to play very fast rhythms.
Take a look at this video for a step by step approach to playing fast rhythms on the tambourine
Playing Fast Rhythms on the Tambourine Technique Number 1
Hold the tambourine in the normal fashion in your left hand (assuming that you are right handed) and prop your foot up on top of a box or something that allows you to have your thigh parallel to the floor.
In this technique you rotate the tambourine in a similar manner as if you were turning a door knob and you strike your knee or thigh with the shell of the instrument and you strike the head of the tambourine with your right hand using your fist or fingers.
Tambourine Speed Technique Number 2
This technique for playing fast rhythms on the tambourine is similar to the first technique, but this time you turn the tambourine over so that you are hitting your knee with the head of the drum and your fist or fingers on the underside of the head. You move the tambourine up and down with your left hand between your knee and your right hand.
With this technique you can play a little louder than the first technique and you can make a punchier sound with your hard knuckles of your fist and your hard knee.
Playing Fast on the Tambourine Technique Number 3
With this fast rhythm technique for tambourine playing you hold the tambourine on your thigh by wedging the edge of the drum between your stomach and your thigh. The tambourine is in a horizontal position and lying flat so that you can now use both of your hands to play fast rhythms with your fist knuckles or finger tips.
This is a great technique when you have to play very fast rhythms that are also very quiet. You can use your whole hand or just one little finger write on the edge of the drum for even quieter sounds. You can also play finger rolls in this position to give your playing many musical options.