Sunday, November 24, 2013

Joy to the World

Joy to the World HL
Joy to the World KP


  1. Amberly, I am so excited about this site, and I just ordered a 13 bell set of Kids Play handbells. Could you please direct me to really basic information (I have no clue what I am doing, but I know the primary children are going to love this). How do I know which songs I can play with 8 or 13 handbells? What would be the absolutely easiest song to start with? Thank you for the wonderful idea. *I have searched earlier post, but I haven't found really basic info.

    1. You are right, I haven't posted much basic info. With the set of 13, you can play any song. The only problems you will run into is that some of the notes may have to be played an octave lower/higher. I try to convert the songs to be played from middle C to high C, but it doesn't always work that way.

      On some of the songs, you will find a label "A", "B", or "C". A's are easiest, with Cs being harder. Not all songs have that label. I would start with a simple song like "Away in a Manger." Any song that is straight quarter notes will be the easiest to start with. For kids that are beginning, give them each one bell and tell them their color and/or letter. While they play, you can point to which note should be played. As they get better you won't have to point any more. Just take it slow at first and then you can gradually speed up. Even Sunbeams have a great time trying it out! My 4-year-old LOVES to play! She started at 3.

      Most of the songs have a little "key" at the bottom left of the first page that says what bells are required for the song. This will help you hand out bells without having to go through the song and figure out which ones you need.

      Tell them some basic rules before you hand out bells. No ringing unless you say, no touching the inside of the bells, no hitting each other or other things, no playing in each others' ears, etc. You'll come up with rules really quick if you know your kids well.

      I hope that helps! If you have any more questions, or requests, please let me know!

  2. I am also just starting. Your blog is inspiring. I'm searching the internet for handbells to purchase and I was wondering if there were certain brands where the colors matched exactly with your charts?

    1. Kids Play with match the KP ones, and there used to be a set that Hobby Lobby (and possibly Michaels) sold that matches the HL bells. I have the HL bells, so I will continue posting them, but if you are buying now, you will probably have to purchase the KP bells. Just google Kids Play hand bells and they should come up.

  3. Dear Amberly, could you work up the handbell music for What A Friend We Have In Jesus? Thanks!

  4. Hi Amberly! I love this blog! Thank you for being willing to share!

    We will be using these handbells in our primary, and I am new to this whole directing a children's handbell choir, so I have quite a few questions :-) Sorry for the mass over load :-)

    1. Is an 8, 13, or 20 bell set good to buy?
    2. Is one set (8, 13, or 20) easier for the primary kids?
    3. Is the Hobby Lobby music you put on here an 8 bell set?
    4. Is the KidsPlay music you put on here a 13 bell set?
    5. Do you always change the music to the key of C? What's the reason for this?
    6. Do kids have the ability to play handbells in different keys?
    7. During presentations for Sacrament meeting or a ward Christmas party, do you sit/stand in front of the children and then point to them when it is their turn to play? So it looks more like conducting.
    8. Or do you use the charts you have on this blog and point to the notes during the presentations? If so, how big do you make the charts and do you have a helper holding the charts for you while you point?

    Any basic info you passed along to Penny would be nice too :-) Thank you for your help!

  5. I am glad that you have enjoyed the blog. Here's your answers:

    1. It depends on how complex you want to get. Obviously the best set out there is the 20 piece set because you don't really have any limits because you can play almost any note. However, that set comes at a steep price. If money was no object- choose the 20 piece set. I chose the Hobby Lobby bells because it was an 8-piece set for around $10 with a coupon. However, they do not sell them anymore, so you will probably have to go with KidsPlay bells. You can always start with the 8-piece and then buy the extension sets (there is one for sharps and one that will extend higher and lower than middle C).

    2. I can't say that one is easier than another- it just makes songs easier to play an allows you to play more songs with additional bells.

    3. Yes, HL bells are only 8 bells. I have yet to find an extension set for them.

    4. It depends- I try to write the music as is. Some songs go higher or lower than C, or they will have flats or sharps. For those songs you will need the 13 bell set at least. I have tried to put a little key in the bottom left hand corner of the first page of the music that tells you what bells are needed. You can get away without the higher/lower bells by playing an octave higher or lower, it just isn't going to sound the same. However, there isn't a way around flats and sharps, so you would have to buy those bells to play that song.

    5. No, I don't always change the music to the key of C. Since I have the HL bells, I will usually change the key to C if the original song was written in a key other than C. That way both sets of bells can play them and I don't have to write the song 3 different ways.

    6. If they have the right bells. You will need the 13 piece set to play in defferent keys.

    7 & 8. Depends on the kids. I have some older girls that can read music fine and can keep up themselves. The only ones that I have had girls perform I had small notes for them to have on stands in front of them so that I didn't have to point. The big pages work out well when practicing in Primary where you can point at the notes. You could probably print 2 per page if you want each person to have one in front of them. The size that they are now works well to practice them when pointing. If they are small kids you will have to point more, but the bigger they are you won't have to point as much.

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions!

  6. I just joined your site and am very excited. Although I do not read sheet music I am giving it a try to teach my ministry the handbells. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get some easy music for Easter? I ordered music from the internet, however it isn't color coded and so I am having to color code it.