All Creatures Great and Small – Lesson Plans about Animals using Handchimes

What better time of the year to introduce songs about our furry and feathered friends!  At ChimeWorks, we have lesson plans that will surely delight your students as they sing and chime along to some new and some familiar tunes while learning how to harmonize a melody or follow the steps to early music reading.

ChimeWorks uses three teaching methods with the folk songs below to implement handchime use in the classroom or singing rehearsal.  With icons, students will develop eye – hand coordination by initially using symbols or colors to introduce music literacy and gradually progressing to score reading.  By using chords indicated by the teacher pointing to a chart, students can easily harmonize their singing.  And finally, with ostinati lessons, harmonic patterns are taught by rote to harmonize the singing and develop more independence when playing.

All of the lessons are available for immediate purchase and digital download for pennies per student.  Only one copy of the lesson is needed for teachers to bring effective music-making and success to the classroom.  Browse our complete store here for other creative and successful lesson plans.

When using these lessons, be sure to check out Malmark’s colored bands to wrap on the handchimes which act as a valuable teaching aid when using colors.

 

 

Lessons using Icons

 B-I-N-G-O

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

B-I-N-G-O is an English language folk song dating back to the late 1700s.

 

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Baa, Baa Black Sheep is an English nursery rhymed dating back from 1731.  Its original context is thought to be a complaint on the taxation of wool.

 

The Farmer in the Dell

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: Germany

The Farmer in The Dell is a nursery rhyme and children’s game.  The song originated in Germany and was brought to North America in the late 19th century.

 

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Old MacDonald Had A Farm dates to the early years of the 20th century.

 

Lessons using Chords

 Six Little Ducks

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords: 2
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Six Little Ducks is an English language nursery rhyme and singing game.

 

Ev’ryone But Me

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords:3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Ev’ryone But Me is an American folk song with roots in New England.

 

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: France

Jean-Jacques Rousseau composed the original tune as a gavotte or dance in the mid-1700s.  The tune later traveled through England, Germany to New England where the folk text was added.  Countries around the world use the tune for various folk texts.

 

Old MacDonald

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Old MacDonald Had A Farm dates to the early years of the 20th century.  The tune will be familiar and allow the students to focus on chiming.

 

Lessons using Ostinati

The Frogs

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

The Frogs is a traditional campfire song sung by Girl Scouts in North America.

 

Sweetly Sings the Donkey

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Sweetly Sings the Donkey is a traditional song that children love to sing.  Additional verses may be created by adding animals and their sounds.

Music Literacy in a Snap with Colors and Handchimes

A great start for any teacher would be to introduce music literacy to more students during this year.  If you have handchimes at your disposal, teaching music reading with the help of colors couldn’t be simpler! At ChimeWorks, we have developed tools for teaching young children to develop eye-hand coordination using colors and symbols and then, systematically moving on to colored-coded notes on the staff and ultimately reading handchime/handbell notation.

We begin by using colors that are closely correlated to those used in Boomwhacker® and KidsPlay® systems.  Therefore, one will be able to use our lesson plans with handchimes and/or Boomwhackers and KidsPlay bells to teach music literacy.  Sensitivity is given to the use of colors alone due to the statistics that 1 in 12 males and 1 in 200 females suffer from color vision deficiency.  Along with a select color for each pitch we have allocated a shape modeled closely to those used in shape-note singing.

Coupled, these symbols are referred to as Icons – non-traditional symbols used to notate music.   They allow students to quickly “read” music without the worry of not knowing standard musical notation.   They also allow students to quickly express themselves at an early-learner stage with known symbols rather than struggling with music notation.  The use of icons develops eye-hand coordination rapidly allowing students to quickly adapt to numbers, pitch names, solfege and then standard music notation.

ChimeWorks has developed Colored Bands which can be wrapped around the handchime tube so that each student can identify a pitch with a color.  In the case of vision deficiency, the shape may also be drawn on to the band.  These bands are available for Malmark, Inc. and be found by clicking here.  Colored bands can be an effective tool in the classroom when denoting pitches and chords.  Using the ChimeWorks Icon Chart, each pitch is assigned a color.  By wrapping the appropriate colored band around the shaft of the handchime tube at the base, you can effectively indicate which handchimes are assigned to pitches or chords.

Since icons are used with non-music readers, they can be utilized with younger children.  These same children may not yet be literate and understand how to track from left to right.  We suggest that great success will be met when the icon chart is presented through a computer-generated slideshow presentation or interactive whiteboard so that the teacher may point to each shape tracking for the students in tempo and rhythm.

Once the students master the melody using icons, they may continue with the Chroma-note® (colored note head) score. Older students may meet success by just having the location of the pitch on the staff on the note designation label which is standard on all brands of handchimes and may be able to move quickly to the handchime score which is in standard music notation.

Icon lesson plans may be found here on the ChimeWorks website.  By introducing these easy to teach lessons, your students will color their world with music through handchimes.

Ring in the New Year with Appealing Lesson Plans

 

Ring in the New Year with these lesson plans all about bells!  Christmas break is just a few weeks away and will go by swiftly.  Be prepared for the classroom or rehearsal on January 2nd with these easy to teach lessons that will resonate!

For centuries, bells have played a major role in the lives of people around the globe.  They were used to chase away evil spirits and yet, they also rang to center one’s own inner self.  We hear bells to sound an alarm but also to gather us into communities.  Peals ring at joyful times such as weddings and also, mourn those we have lost.  Bells come in all shapes and sizes and continually reverberate in our lives.

At ChimeWorks, we have created the following lesson plans to celebrate the joy of ringing.  Surely, bells are worth singing about!

All of the lesson plans below are available for immediate purchase and digital download with license to copy as much as needed:

 

Frère Jacques

Frère Jacques is a traditional French nursery rhyme.  This song is about a monk who has overslept and is urged to wake up and sound the bells for the matins, the midnight or very early morning prayers for which a monk would be expected to wake.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Bells
  • Language: English, French
  • Origin: France

 

Frère Jacques II

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Type: Icons
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Bells, Nursery Rhyme
  • Language: English, French
  • Origin: France

 

Great Tom is Cast

Great Tom Is Cast is an English round traditionally sung in three parts.  It tells the story of the completion of the great bell of Christ Church, Oxford.  The great bells in England are given names. “Tom” is the name of the great bell of Christ Church.  The bell tower is also known as “Tom Tower”.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Bells
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

 

Oh, How Lovely

Oh, How Lovely is a German round traditionally sung in three parts.  It was brought to the United States during the early 19th century.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon:Y es
  • Topic: Bells, Evening
  • Language: English
  • Origin: Germany

 

St. Paul’s Steeple

St. Paul’s Steeple is a traditional English folk song dating from the mid-17th century.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Type: Scales
  • Topic: Bells
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

 

 The Bell Doth Toll

The Bell Doth Toll is a three-part canon taken from the Twice 55 Song Collection published in 1918.  Its origin is anonymous.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Bells
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

 

The Great Bells of Oseney

Oseney Abbey, once located in Oxford, was founded as an Augustinian priory in 1129, becoming an abbey around 1154. It was dissolved in 1539 but was created a cathedral at that time. It was one of the four renowned monastic houses of medieval Oxford.  It no longer stands.  The Tenor bell is the largest, heaviest and lowest sounding pitch in a peal of bells.

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Bells
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Hanukkah Lesson Plans using Handchimes

Looking for Hanukkah lesson plans using handchimes? Lessons of light and dedication are perfect to teach in December as many around the world commemorate Hanukkah.  ChimeWorks has assembled lesson plans below that sing of Hanukkah, peace and joy!

But first, more about Hanukkah as explained by Chabad.org.  It is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.  It is also spelled Hanukkah.

In the second century BC, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in God. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.

When they sought to light the Temple’s Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Hanukkah.

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, one flame is lit. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Hanukkah, all eight lights are kindled.

Special blessings are recited, often to a traditional melody, before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward.

A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and other public places.

The lesson plans below are available for immediate purchase and digital download at $2.29 each:

 

Hanukkah using Icons

Hanukkah II using Chords

Good and Joyous using Ostinati

Greeting of Peace using Chords

Hava Nagila using Chords

Shalom Chaverim using Chords

Toembai using Chords

Toembai II using Ostinati

Ringing in Contemporary Worship

 

 

Including handbells and handchimes in contemporary worship is possible and it works!  As some churches change their worship style of a particular service or entire Sunday morning, the practice of putting ringing instruments away in a closet has occurred over and over.  However, there is no reason to do so.

The music of contemporary worship tends to reflect trends of popular music.  The belief of many is that some are attracted to worship in a way that reflects the secular culture of their daily lives.  Ever present in popular music that is played on a daily basis is an instrumental background to a vocalist or group.  The variation in instrumentation not only adds color but reinforces the rhythmic drive through a particular song.  The same concept is used in contemporary Christian music.

As church musicians, we have the call to use the resources of our congregation – people and instruments – to lift our best to God in every way. By using our ringing instruments rather than discounting them, we can embellish contemporary music with their ethereal and sparkling sounds and we can increase active participation in Worship through the talents of members of our congregations.

While the common sound of the praise band may include keyboard, drums and guitar, why not take it up a notch by adding some handchimes to the bass echoing the harmonic pattern for more resonance and sustain.  A simple ostinato on bells may replace that of a keyboard and give more color. Convert a non-pitched percussion part into a pitched one using ringing instruments.  All of these are simple additions which will lead to uncommon ground in contemporary music.

Contemporary music can be played by a ringing ensemble as well.  Over the years, we have seen more releases of published arrangements of popular music that are stunning.  The same is true for Christian music.

Below are some examples of music that can be used in a contemporary Worship setting.  All of these pieces are available in the ChimeWorks store for ringing ensembles and work well with handbell and handchimes.  The scores are available for immediate purchase and digital download.

Click on the links below to find more information on each collection or piece.  They begin at Level 1 in difficulty.

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship   (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1+

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship II   (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1+

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship III  (2 – 3 Octaves)   (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship IV  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship V  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VI  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VII  (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VIII  (2 – 3 Octaves) (3 – 5 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Lamb of God with There Is A Redeemer (3- 5 Octaves)  Level 2

Awesome God (3 – 5) Level 3+

Awesome God & Almighty (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 2-

How Beautiful (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 2

How Majestic Is Your Name (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 2+

Lamb of God  (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 2+

Keys to Success…. Handchimes with Keyboard

Start with success by adding the keys!  As you choose music for your ringing choir, consider inviting your organist/pianist to collaborate. This partnership has many benefits for the ringers as they improve their musicianship and it will be an enhanced part of your worship service or concert performance.

Choosing a title that is written for handchimes or handbells and piano/organ/keyboard is a wonderful way to build your choir for several reasons:

It builds confidence – having your ringers collaborate with keyboard dissipates some of the focus off of the ringers while participating in worship. This is helpful to new ringers especially those who may not be feel comfortable being in the eye of hundreds while they are learning a new skill. Having the keyboard reinforcement takes off some of the pressure as they learn a new instrument or get acclimated to being in front of a large group.

It is supportive – one of the things to accomplish for a new ringing ensemble is to work together as a team. They will be learning to keep a good sense of rhythm together as well as be ringing collectively precisely on the beat. Having an accomplished musician at the keyboard to provide a steady beat will be a strong foundation for the group in their early stages of ringing.

It will embellish easier music – while repertoire for a beginning ensembles will most likely be homophonic chords with simple rhythms, adding a keyboard part to accent the chords will allow for a more sophisticated performance without stretching the ringers’ comfort zone.

It will enhance the sound – even if you have seasoned members ringing more advanced music, joining forces with keyboard will be pleasing and resounding. The overall effect of adding a keyboard instrument with your octaves will be rich as the timbre of handbells/handchimes with keyboard are sonorous.

ChimeWorks recommends the resources below for your consideration. All available for immediate purchase and digital download by clicking the links in blue:

Bells and Keys… More or Less

Bells and Keys… More or Less, Vol. 2

For All The Saints 2 – 3 Octaves  4 – 6 Octaves  Keyboard

Gloria by Mozart   3 Octaves  Keyboard

Largo from Winter By Vivaldi  2 -3 Octaves  2 – 6 Octaves  Full Score

Vivaldi Concerto

In Bright Mansions Above 3 – 5 Octaves  Full Score

Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Things  3 – 6 Octaves  Full Score

Dona Nobis Pacem 3 – 5 Octaves  Full Score

Easy Secular Music for Handchimes

There’s no better time to begin a Chime club at your school.  If you are looking for beginning secular music that includes whole, half and quarter notes, we’ve got a list for you!

The resources below include original compositions, transcriptions of light classics and arrangements of folk songs and spirituals for you to include in this year’s repertoire.

All these titles are recommended to be rung on handchimes while caution is given to some to be performed at a moderate tempo or to substitute some articulations with those that can be used with handchimes without causing harm to the instrument.  See our Technique Substitution Chart for further information.

Click the titles below to link to the ChimeWorks webpage for immediate purchase and digital download capability.

 

Chime Time

Soliloquy

In Quietness and Confidence

Theme from Beethoven’s 9th

Jubilee! or Jubilee! (3 – 5 Octaves)

Michael, Row The Boat Ashore

Morning Has Broken or Morning Has Broken (3 – 5 Octaves)

Music of the Masters

Music of the Masters, Vol. 2

My Heart Ever Faithful

Pathways to Musical Ringing, Vol. 2 or Pathways to Musical Ringing, Vol. 2 (3 – 5 Octaves)

Prelude to Sunrise

Processional & Joyful Dance or Processional & Joyful Dance (3 – 5 Octaves)

Processional Celebration

Processional Jubilee

Simple Gifts

Starting Point, Vol. 1 or Starting Point, Vol. 1 (3 – 5 Octaves)

Starting Point, Vol. 2 or Starting Point, Vol. 2 (3 – 5 Octaves)

Tranquil Chimings

 

Taking it to the Top with Technique

 

Ringing technique is everything!  As directors, we spend countless hours in rehearsal.  We are not only there for teaching music skills, mastering a score and readying for a performance.  We may also be creating community, fostering social skills, motivating and ministering. It’s hard to believe that we do this all in an hour or two each week.

For many, the largest portion of our time is dedicated to teaching notes and coaching eye-hand coordination.  However, the underlying component to having our ringing ensemble work as one unit or instrument and achieving the highest musical results is proper ringing technique.

Taking the time in the beginning to introduce and reinforce good technique to ringers will lead to quicker musical results in the end.  “Beginning” may have different meanings depending on your situation – new ringers, new program year or each new rehearsal.

Here are some things to consider and focus upon for your fresh start:

Ringing – The flick of the wrist is just the beginning of the tone. How we move the instrument determines the musicality of the tone.  Where we hold the instrument while we ring it – low or high in the plane – reinforces its identity as melody or harmonic support.

Damping – In music, a rest can be more important than the notes played.  Be sure that your ringers are damping properly so that the note is cleanly damped exactly when it should be.

Arm extension – Before ringing, the arm extension should match the duration of the note so that the instrument may be brought back to the shoulder for damping with the tempo of the music.  For example, in a moderate tempo, a whole note is equivalent to extending the whole arm; a half note is equivalent to extending at the elbow, etc.

Precision ringing – Be sure your ringersbreathe together before playing a chord so that all instruments strike at once.

Learn more about ringing techniques on handchimes here.  Musicality tips may be found here.

With the foundation of good ringing technique, your musical success will be easily built.

Sing & Ring in Spring

 

Spring is the perfect time to sing and ring about nature’s glory.  ChimeWorks offers some suggestions below for lesson plans using a variety of teaching techniques and objectives.

With these folksongs, we can enrich our students with a greater appreciation of the beauty of the world around them.  Many of these songs have been passed through the centuries and are classic examples of fine musical literature for young musicians.

All  of these lesson plans are available for immediate purchase and digital download at the cost of $2.29 each – just pennies per student – in our “Handchimes in the Classroom & Rehearsal” store.

 

Lesson Plans with Chordal Harmonization

 

Come, Follow Me

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Chords
  • Chords: 3
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Nature
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Come Follow is an English folk song dating from the late 17th century.  It was written by John Hilton in 1652.  It is a three part round or canon.

 

I Love The Mountains

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Chords
  • Chords: 4
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Nature
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

I Love the Mountains is a traditional American campfire song passed down through generations.

 

Lesson Plans with Harmonization by Ostinati

Sakura

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Topic: Spring
  • Language: Japanese
  • Origin: Japan

Sakura is a traditional Japanese folk song telling of springtime and cherry blossoms.  It dates from the late the Edo period between 1603 and 1868.  It is based on the Phrygian mode.

 

Come, Let Us All A-Maying Go

  •  Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Spring
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Come, Let Us All A-Maying Go is a three part round or canon.  John Hilton the younger was an Early English Baroque composer.

 

Lesson Plans Using Icons to Teach Music Literacy

Bunessan (Morning Has Broken)

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Icons
  • Topic: Nature, Praise
  • Language: English
  • Origin: Scotland

The melody, Bunessan, was named after a town in Scotland.  During the 19th century it was set to the text of Morning Has Broken.

 

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Type: Icons
  • Topic: Animals, Nursery Rhyme
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Baa, Baa Black Sheep is an English nursery rhymed dating back from 1731.  Its original context is thought to be a complaint on the taxation of wool.

Peace & Harmony in the Classroom and World

 

It’s always good to incorporate life lessons into our music.  During the past weeks, we have witnessed students from around the globe become organizers of change.  They have been using their voices to condemn policy, violence, social injustice and hatred to name a few.  These leaders were formed in their homes, communities, centers of faith and in their classrooms.  Through lessons in the music classroom, we can also share in the social development of our children.

At ChimeWorks, we offer the lessons below in the theme of peace.  They combine a great text and tune with easy-to-teach harmonization which will work well in the classroom or concert stage.   All are available for immediate purchase and digital download at the cost of $2.29 each – just pennies per student – in our “Handchimes in the Classroom & Rehearsal” store.

 

Lessons Using Chords to Harmonize Singing

Dona Nobis Pacem

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: Latin
  • Origin: Europe

Dona Nobis Pacem is a traditional song in round or canon form.  The text translates to Grant Us Peace and is taken from the Latin mass.  While the source of this canon is unknown, it is believed to date from the 16th century.

 

Greeting of Peace

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Chords: 5
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

 Hevenu Shalom A’leychem is a traditional Jewish greeting wishing the goodness of a peace-filled life.

 

Peace Like a River

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Language: English
  • Origin: African American Spiritual

Peace Like A River is an African American Spiritual.  The first three items of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) are love, joy, and peace. This spiritual compares the peace of God to a placidly flowing river, the joy of Christ to a merrily bubbling fountain, and the love of God to a deep, wide ocean.

 

Shalom Chaverim

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Chords: 3
  • Canon:Y es
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

Meaning farewell, good friends, Shalom Chaverim is a traditional song sung at parting.  It may be sung in English or Hebrew. It may be used as a three-part canon (round).  It may be used for welcoming guests or in teaching friendship.

 

Lessons Using Ostinati Taught by Rote to Harmonize Singing

Good and Joyous

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English, Hebrew
  • Origin: Israel

Good and Joyous is a traditional Hebrew song usually sung in canon (round) form.  It is based on Psalm 133.  In the text, the word people may be used in place of brothers.

 

Happy Days

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Happy Days is a four-part canon that has been sung for generations.  Its origin is unknown.

 

Make New Friends

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Canon: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

Make New Friends is a traditional campfire song sung by Girl Scouts in North America.