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Listen and Learn Music: Friday Fave: Hand Bells

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fave: Hand Bells

You know the feeling when you find a $20 bill in your coat pocket?  Well that is how I felt when I remembered that I had purchased this shiny little 8 Note Hand Bell Set several months ago!  My studio is chock full of instruments, props, and other goodies, but I store many of these items out of view from my EXTREMELY curious kiddos.  These bells have been hiding out underneath my bookcase since August, and I discovered them as I was doing some spring cleaning and organizing last week.

This discovery came at the perfect time, because I was racking my brain for new ways to engage one little girl in her weekly music therapy sessions.  The lightbulb went off as I opened the box 'o bells and found that on the top of each handle, there is a letter (representing the note in a C scale) and number (representing the bell's position in the scale).  This, along with the great big sound they produce and their bright colors, held so many new possibilities.

Sure enough, we had a winner.  My student's interest was immediately piqued as I pulled out the bells, and she complied with nearly all of my directions to do the following:
  • Choose and play the appropriate bell as I verbally name a color
  • Choose and play the appropriate bell when shown a picture card displaying a color
  • Choose and play the appropriate bell as I verbally call a number (1 through 8)
  • Choose and play the appropriate bell when shown a picture card displaying a number
  • Line up the bells in order of the numbers on top of the handles
Once she had demonstrated her ability to do all of the above, we moved on to sequencing.  I would call out two (and then three) colors, and she would then play those bells in the correct order.  We did the same thing with the numbers.  She absolutely loved switching roles and calling out colors and numbers for ME to play.  We spent almost her entire session with these bells, and I had her complete attention (no easy feat, I tell you).

Our next step is to play simple songs by "reading" the notes (notated by color and/or number), and I'd love to come up with some additional ideas.  Do you have a set of bells like these?  How do you use them?

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