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Home > Articles > The Music Education Issue: Handbells and Handchimes in Your Local Schools

The Music Education Issue: Handbells and Handchimes in Your Local Schools

Handbells or handchimes, when incorporated into a music education program, are a complete teaching tool. With this article, we hope to show you the advantages of incorporating handbells into music education, and the advantages that you, the retailer, will reap as you market to local music educators.

When referring to handbells and handchimes, we actually refer to three hand-held instrument options: the typical handbell made of bronze, the less-expensive handchime which is more commonly used in the schools, and the more elementary KidsPlay colored handbell, which is the least expensive option. All are similar in the way they are played. For more details for each, please see the article on music education products.

Handbells and handchimes present a fresh approach to teaching music. First, these instruments aid in building students' musicianship on a large scale, benefiting musicians of every level. These instruments build a student's:

Music Reading Ability Hand-Eye Coordination
Reaction Time Rhythmic Skills
Knowledge of Notation Confidence
Motor Skills Memory Skills
Sight Reading Skills Math Skills (utilizing the left and right hemispheres of the brain)

Second, these instruments are accessible to any age group, level of musicianship, and ability. Students make music the instant they pick up the instrument. These instruments can be taught to young children, who, as they progress, can become musicians of more advanced levels of music. Ringers then are able to learn new techniques. From there, ringers can progress to ensembles, small groups, or even solo ringing. This becomes a fun, easy learning experience - while still presenting a challenge.  Consider this in contrast to band instruments. Band instruments require mature students, able to afford individual instruments, and able to produce correct embouchure, fingering, and pitch. How much more accessible could the handbell be?

Third, handbells and handchimes provide a group and social activity teaching ensemble music-making. Being able to create music in a group setting requires patience, accuracy, and teamwork. The opportunity to be part of an ensemble of musicians is rare in your local schools.  Compare this to the elementary school standard instrument, the recorder.  While recorders are played in unison with the class, they are learned individually and practice time often results in competition, not teamwork.

FUN!  Ringing handbells and handchimes are fun! While students are learning music, reading notes, counting, counting, and counting, they are making music and having fun! Imagine continuing to learn music WHILE performing. The learning never ceases. The activity and performance are fun and enjoyable for students, but the results are lasting!

Linda Miller, the creator of the ChimeMagic Curriculum, said it best:

"In my years of teaching, I have found no other instrument that engages kids instantly, holds their attention, and rewards every effort the way chimes do. They make a beautiful musical sound the first time you ring them. The timbre seems to catch everyone's interest. They require no special breathing, fingering, or embouchure. You don't even have to be able to read notation to begin making music with them. They are incredibly versatile as a teaching tool, allowing you to teach everything from music alphabet to scales and the circle of fifths. Chimes are highly portable and adaptable to many physical environments."

Lastly, these versatile instruments can be used as a stand alone curriculum, as a unit, or as an exercise to reinforce musical instruction and theory. Accompanied by flashcards, music aids and games, charts, color-coded material, and a library full or music, handbells and handchimes provide a multitude of options for your local music educator.  Also another bonus lies in the fact that handbells or handchimes are reusable year after year, as opposed to band instruments that are purchased yearly.

What does Jeffers Handbell Supply offer you, as you market to your local schools? Besides the music and supply discounts offered to music dealers, Jeffers Handbell Supply offers no minimum order charge. No order is too small, even if a customer wants one sheet of handbell music. Also, with our “Our Warehouse is Your Warehouse” program, we drop-ship to your customer with no additional shipping fees. You receive the invoice with regular shipping applied while the customer receives their order with packing list showing your name and address and blind packaging.

Consider adding handbell music and supplies to your catalog – and reach those teachers as they bring music education to our schools!

Joyful Ringers in action. Zion Lutheran Church and School, Matteson, Illinois