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Getting Started With Color-Coded Handbells and Deskbells
Do you want to introduce your preschool, elementary-aged or Sunday school children to music, but just don’t know how or have the budget? Well, here’s your answer: Kidsplay® colored handbell sets, deskbell sets and combined handbell/deskbell sets are an effective yet inexpensive way to get children involved with music.
The handbells are great for younger children who are still in their developmental stages. They feature a 5” long handle that is easily held by smaller hands and are designed to ring easily with minimal effort. The deskbells are great for very young children (3 and up) and people with special needs. These are played by simply pressing a button on top of the bell. Both handbells and deskbells are color-coded, feature correct intonation and are designed to stand up to serious wear and tear. They are great tools to promote group participation.
Colored handbells and deskbells are offered in basic 8-Note sets (whole notes from C-c), Chromatic Add-on sets (these add the sharps/flats to the 8 note set- C#, D#, F#, G#, A#), and Expanded Range Add-on sets (these add the 3 notes below and the 4 notes above the previous 2 sets- Low A, A#, B and High C#, D, D#, and E). Each bell is marked with the proper note name and number, helping to teach musical notes and scales. Sharps and flats have black handles or buttons, just like the black keys on a piano.
When assigning bells, it is best to assign one bell to each player. If necessary, you may assign each player two consecutive bells, such as giving player one C and D, player two E and F, player three G and A, and so on (this works well when you have either the expanded range sets or several of the 8-Note sets). We suggest using the 8-Note or multiple 8-Note sets with younger children and moving up into the add-on sets with upper elementary school aged children.
There are several resources available to help you get started, even if you have little experience teaching children. The highly-recommended video, “Ringing in Color”, is especially useful, as it tells all about the instruments and the music and accessories that are available for them. Not only does it help you to choose those products which will satisfy your group’s needs the best, it also shows actual rehearsals in a classroom setting and real performances featuring the colored handbells.
Little Ringer Melody Cards and Color-Coded Chord Cards are also helpful teaching tools. The Little Ringer Melody Cards are designed for preschool and early elementary aged children. No music experience is necessary, simply hold up the colored card that matches the color of the bell you want rung. The Color-Coded Chord Cards are great for teaching chords. Each card pictures three bells whose notes make a cord. The chord cards can also be used in conjunction with song books: “8 Note Bell Songs” and “More 8 Note Bell Songs”.
There are several music publications available for the color-coded bells, many with CD accompaniments. You will find that some of the music is written as melody only, while others are written as melody and chords. The music is written showing the note on the staff with the actual bell number (1, 2 ,3, etc.) and letter (A, B, C, etc.), so note reading is not necessary. Another great music option is "The Color Ring Book", this book is written for a 13 note set and is already color coded to match the KidsPlay© bells!
Nylon carrying cases are now available for both the handbell and deskbell sets. These cases make transporting your bells a snap, as well as providing better protection and storage when the bells are not in use.
Kidsplay® colored handbell and deskbells sets make music easy and accessible to all children. With the different bell sets and a wide assortment of music and accessories, it makes music fun and affordable!