handbell music

Four Pieces for Easter: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Easter: A New Handbell Collection

Easter is a joyful day in the church year. It’s the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and victory, the gift of new life, and the hope of everlasting life to come.

All of this makes Easter the perfect time to pull out all the stops (no pun intended). From handbell acclamations to soaring soprano descants, brass ensembles to triumphant fanfares, there are lots of things you can do to help bring Easter to life in your worship services.

The good news is, Easter is more than just one day - it’s a 50-day season.

It’s kind of like celebrating your birthday all month long.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you Four Pieces for Easter - a digital collection of four pieces for 2-3 octave handbells (12-21 bells) designed to add a creative element into your worship services, both on Easter Sunday and in the season that follows.

Four Pieces for Lent: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Lent: A New Handbell Collection

Lent is a season of reflection, sacrifice, and cleansing. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

To honor this sacred season of the church year, I created Four Pieces for Lent - a digital collection of four pieces for 2-3 octave handbells (12-19 bells). These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services.

The collection includes a solo arrangement of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” a processional for 12 bells (seven players), a hymn descant for “Fairest Lord Jesus,” and a solo setting of “What Wondrous Love Is This” for 12 bells and solo instrument.

Four Pieces for Epiphany: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Epiphany: A New Handbell Collection

Epiphany, the season after Christmas, is a season of light and joy: the manifestation of Christ as the Messiah.

To celebrate, I created Four Pieces for Epiphany - a digital collection of four pieces for 2-3 octave handbells (12-16 bells). These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services.

The collection includes two versions of a solo arrangement of “We Three Kings,” a processional for 12 bells (six players), a hymn descant for “Christ Is The World’s Light,” and an original prayer and accompanying underscore.

Four Pieces for Christmas: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Christmas: A New Handbell Collection

Introducing my newest handbell collection - Christmas!

Four Pieces for Christmas is a digital collection of four pieces for the Christmas season. These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services - thoughtful ways to incorporate handbells in new and unique ways.

The music in this collection is written for 2-3 octave handbells (12-17 bells), so they’re easy to learn and accessible for smaller (and younger) groups.

Four Pieces for Advent: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Advent: A New Handbell Collection

Surprise! I released my first collection of handbell music this week!

Four Pieces for Advent is a digital collection of four simple pieces for your Advent worship services. These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services - thoughtful ways to incorporate handbells in new and unique ways.

The music in this collection is written for 2-octave handbells (12 bells), so they’re easy to learn and accessible for smaller (and younger) groups.

A Dozen Budget-Friendly Collections for the Small Handbell Choir

A Dozen Budget-Friendly Collections for the Small Handbell Choir

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of playing through a new handbell piece. The challenge (you want me to play how many bells?), the excitement (a new technique!), the intrigue (how will it end?).

The only problem is, handbell music can be quite costly, sometimes as high as $5 per copy.

And if you’re a part-time director of a small handbell choir at a small church with a small budget, to match, you may be able to afford only 1-2 new pieces a year.

A practical solution? Handbell collections.

Instead of buying music one piece at a time (and spending $4-$5 per copy), a collection gives you 3-10 pieces for a fraction of the cost. Recently, I’ve come across several collections that work really well for smaller (2-3 octave) handbell choirs like ours.

Here are 12 budget-friendly collections you might consider:

Handbell Notation Guide [Infographic]

Handbell Notation Guide [Infographic]

One of the most challenging things about directing a handbell choir is getting used to all the new markings in the music.

Why? Because in addition to general music notation markings (dynamics, slurs, articulation, accidentals, accents, etc.), handbell music includes special technique-specific markings - things like “thumb damp,” “echo,” and “martellato."

A number of these notation markings appear only in handbell music and if you’re relatively new to ringing, it can be hard to keep up.

What does that arrow mean again?
What do you do when you see a plus sign?
What does “TD” stand for?

A few months ago, I found myself googling “handbell notation chart” without much success. There are a few cheat sheets out there, but not as many as you might think. So, I decided to create my own.

My Favorite Pinterest Boards for Handbells

My Favorite Pinterest Boards for Handbells

When it comes to playing (and directing) handbells, there's a lot to learn.

For instance, those who are brand new to handbells may not initially realize that the music is written one octave lower than the actual sound the bells make (C5 = Middle C). (source) In addition, there's the basic ringing and damping technique, figuring out how to make bell assignments, and enough special techniques to keep you busy for a while.

Where do you go to learn about getting started, choosing repertoire, teaching technique, and developing music-reading and rhythm skills?

I hope you find a few helpful resources right here on this blog! Here are some posts you might find useful:

5 Creative Ways to Use Handbells in Worship
Adventures in Bell-Ringing: How to Start a Bell Choir
Adventures in Bell-Ringing: Improvisation Activities