Home > Articles > Resources for the solo ringer with Professor Handbell
Resources for the solo ringer with Professor Handbell
There are literally hundreds of handbell solos floating around on the Jeffers website, so what's an overwhelmed ringer to do?
First let's start with some basic instructional guides. Whether you're an experienced soloist who just needs a refresher to brush up on your techniques or whether you're a brand new, eager to learn newbie (like me!), there are resources available for every ability level, from beginner to advanced.
“Solo and Ensemble Ringing” (NMB003) is a straight-forward and concise guide. With its diagrams, photos and detailed instructions of basic solo techniques, this book is an excellent starting point for any beginning soloist. I won't say it's simple (because solo ringing is NOT simple), but it is the easiest to understand when you're just starting your journey on the solo road.
For those who need a more visual approach to the proper way to execute solo techniques, “Impossible Ringing Made Possible” (HP1160) has multiple drawings and diagrams of each technique. As an added bonus, at the end of the book are three pieces of music showing bells used charts and how to effectively mark a duet, a trio and a quartet piece for each of the ringers, as well as examples of bells used charts for Agape (aka Hope) publications that could be adapted for a small ensemble from the original full choir version.
The third resource is “Solo Ringing Musically” (JHS9123). This book goes more in depth on each of the basic techniques and includes specific exercises (and photos!) to help the ringer master those techniques. In addition, there is a chapter with super helpful ideas about maximizing your rehearsal time and one on accompaniments and accompanists (can't forget them, can we?). This is also a great handbook for the solo ringer who is ready to expand into more complicated techniques; chapter 6 covers those advanced techniques quite thoroughly with written instructions, photos and exercises. Two appendices show a chart of solo ringing notations and a short list of solo music.
The final resource for discussion today is “Advanced Solo Ringing: Multiple Bell Techniques” (NMB011). Each technique is explained in great detail; there are a few photos and some diagrams to demonstrate the technique, but this manual is geared more towards those ringers who learn best by reading, then doing as opposed to seeing, then doing. Appendix A includes 4 songs for solo/duet and Appendix B is an extensive group of exercises to help the soloist achieve mastery of the advanced techniques.
Next up: music!
Of course, to practice solo ringing techniques, you need at least one piece of music. We'll go into more detail about music selection in a future article, but a very good rule of thumb is to choose something familiar, but not terribly complicated, for your first solo. It also helps if it's a tune that you like!