I teach 5th- 8th grade handbell classes at Redeemer Classical School (Harrisonburg, Virginia) and am lucky to have just enough hand chimes and resonator bars for each 6th- 8th grade student to take their ringing position home should we go to virtual learning. However, this is also a crucial formative year for my 5th graders, just starting their first year of Handbell Class. They are learning how to ring chimes, how to play chords, how to read music on a Grand Staff using a space note and line note, and how to track music and play from a score. I thought it was extremely important that they also have playable instruments at home. So, at my request, my school bought 3 sets of ChromaNote chimes [1 octave chromatic sets of 13 notes - each with 8 diatonic notes C to C and 5 additional chromatic notes (sharps)] for the 5th graders to use “at home” during virtual Zoom lessons. As a bonus, they can also use them in their regular classroom for “music breaks”.
On the first day of class, each 5th grader was given a small container with their assigned 3 or 4 ChromaNote chimes™ in it (see picture), along with a numbered music notebook containing the first few lessons from Square One and some easy L1 music scores for the entire first semester. Each box of chimes is topped with a sticker with the ringer’s name and position number (to help keep them straight), and an “Instrument Loan Contract” was sent home for parents to sign. These chimes will remain in their classroom, while the music books will be brought to each handbell class.
Here’s how I assigned our three 1-octave ChromaNote chimes™ sets to cover 3 octaves of 11 ringers - coordinating with each ringer’s position - starting from the top ringer (#11).
|3 oct. Ringing Position #||Assigned Notes||ChromaNote Set Number||Actual chime Notes (sticker number)||2 octave Ringing Position #|
|11||B6C7||#3||A#, B7, C8|
|10||GA6||#3||G5, G#, A6||(No G for this ringer, unless you have 3 sets)|
|9||EF6||#3||D#, E3, F4, F#||7 E3 and F4 from Set #1|
|8||CD6||#3||C1, C#, D2||6 C1 and D2 from Set #1|
|7||AB5||#2||G# A6, A#, B7||5|
|6||FG5||#2||F4, F#, G5||4|
|5||DE5||#2||C#, D2, D#, E3||3|
|4||B4C5||#1||A#, B6, C8 (C#)||2|
|3||GA4||#1||G5, G#, A6||1|
|2||EF4||#1||D#, E3, F4, F#||Note: For a 2 octave group these chimes can be assigned to 2 oct. Ringers #6 and #7, eliminating the need for a third set, but there isn’t an extra G to give to the top 2 oct. ringer.|
|1||CD4||#1||C1, C#, D2|
While this will be a year different from all the previous 16 beginning classes I have taught, with these ChromaNote chimes™, I hope it is one that will still encourage excitement and musical growth as well as happy memories for ringing in my students.