Hello Area 6 handbell musicians,
I wanted to take this opportunity to write to you about three classes that I will be teaching this summer at our Bells, Blues, and BBQ event. I hope you will find the classes interesting and I hope they will change the way you make music with handbells forever.
The first class I will offer is A Fresh Approach to Understanding and to Performing with Rhythmic Integrity. This class will focus on a few important concepts with regard to rhythm. First, I will teach that rhythm is not a concrete concept, but rather is relational. This course will help musicians increase rhythmic understanding and awareness while performing. Portions of the class will include hands-on activities to help musicians move from clueless and careless performances to caring and convincing musical experiences through developing a sense of pulse, rhythmic flow, and forward momentum while using basic patterns over a pulse.
The second class I will be offering will teach musicians proper mallet technique on handbells. The learner will select appropriate mallets for the range and desired timbre. This class will discuss the following topics:
- Music notation for malleted parts
- The execution of proper mallet technique and how to teach that technique
- How to move from normal ringing and damping to using mallets
- How to use the techniques in handbell music
- Musical issues while using mallets
- Proper mallet selection
This class will discuss three main strokes when using mallets on handbells and how to create different timbres with each stroke. It will incorporate some helpful drills to help musicians roll properly. Finally, this class will teach musicians how to balance and blend the ensemble when using mallets.
The third course I will offer is a refresher course on using percussion instruments with handbells. Since a handbell is a percussion instrument, there are facets to making great music with other percussion instruments. This course will discuss the following:
- Some basic philosophies on using percussion with handbells
- The tools of the trade (picking quality instruments, selecting appropriate mallets and beaters for those instruments)
- The handbell’s role as a percussion instrument
- Basic performance techniques on numerous percussion instruments that are commonly found in handbell ensemble literature
Students in the course will get hands on experience with many different percussion instruments.
I hope you will come join us in Memphis!
– Greig Ashurst