One thought would be to narrow each panel so inactive panels “peek through” on either side, thus providing greater affordance and discoverability.
iOS 10 Control Center has a Norman Door
Michael McWatters

This appears to be the best option if the design scaled to include more panes IMO.

Personally, even though I had Music playing, it never occurred to me to go to the now playing from the pane. I was always more inclined to switching apps or access it from notifications.

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