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Music Selection Made Easy
Jeff Curran, Publishing Coordinator
One of the major challenges of directing a handbell choir is selecting music that fits your choir's needs and abilities. There are literally thousands upon thousands of handbell titles from which to choose, covering many different levels of difficulty and a variety of genres. Our Customer Support Team gets calls every day from directors asking for suggestions on music selections. And while they are always happy to help, this simple fact remains: no one knows your choir better than you do. You know what they are capable of, you know what their needs are, and you know what other instrumentation may be available to them. It's your decision.
There is now a resource available to help make this decision easier. This resource lets you search through virtually every handbell title currently in print. It enables you to sort through these titles by octave, level, season, classification, optional instrumentation, and more. It also gives you highlighted information on individual titles, many with recordings. This miraculous music searching resource is called Music Selection Assistant, and it is available on the www.HandbellWorld.com web site.
To access it, simply go to HandbellWorld and scroll down to the bottom of the home page. Music Selection Assistant (or MSA, from here on out) is on the right. It is the icon of the hand holding the baton with the words "Music Selection Assistant" to the right. Click here to began your search!
Let's say you have 2 octaves of bells, and your choir is just getting started. You need something easy to play for your church's Christmas pageant. Simply go to MSA, choose 2-octaves under the "octave" category, Level I under the "level" category, and Christmas under the "season" category. Then scroll to the bottom of the page, hit the "Submit" button, and VOILA!, MSA has found 85 titles that match your description.
Or let's say you have a very good choir that really needs something fantastic for your town's Fourth of July celebration. You have five octaves of bells and even a brass ensemble at your disposal. So go to MSA, put in the appropriate data - 5 octaves, Levels 3-6, patriotic, and brass ensemble - and MSA returns five pieces that should fit the bill quite nicely.
These are just two examples, but the possibilities are really too numerous to list. Looking for a piece with a certain technique? MSA can do that. Need solo or ensemble music? No problem. Looking for something by a favorite composer or arranger? MSA is ready to help. A new feature even allows you to search through the Series and Collections put out by various publishers.
These are all wonderful features, but MSA's most important asset is that it allows you, the director, to search for what you know your choir needs. As I said before: no one knows your choir better than you do! So the next time you are looking for that one special piece or even several pieces to fill out your repertoire let Musical Selection Assistant help.