Recorder and Handchimes Together

Look no further for lesson plans using recorder and handchimes!  As music educators, we try to engage as many students as possible in our classroom with hands-on music making.  Adding handchimes and non-pitched percussion with recorders is a sure-fire way to heat things up!

With ChimeWorks’ chordal lesson plans, students will learn to harmonize the melodies they sing by ringing the accompanying chords on handchimes.  Non-pitched percussion can be improvised to add more rhythmic interest. You might consider doubling the melody on recorder by assigning it to some of your more accomplished students.

Do you have favorite recorder melodies?  Consider adding basic chords to the score and have some of your students join in with handchimes.  The handchimes will add a rich, harmonic accompaniment that will serve as an in-tune foundation for your little pipers!  Consider sharing your successful lesson plans with others by submitting them here.

Here are some ChimeWorks lesson plans that will surely create some pipe dreams:

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Tallis Canon


Michael, Row the Boat Ashore

Amazing Grace

Scarborough Fair

Peace Like a River

Happy Birthday

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 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

Keep It Simple In September


It’s late summer and church choirs are beginning the new program year.  You may be starting a ringing program, resurging one that took a gap or continuing the ministry with a mix of experienced and new ringers.  This week’s tips will help you choose repertoire to get you started this season!

For new members, the art of ringing can be daunting – ringing, damping, arm motion, reading the score, etc. –  there is so much to think about!  Giving your ringers the opportunity to coordinate all of this with easier music will provide them with a strong foundation.

Likewise, after a few months off from ringing, it may be a good time to start anew with easier music to give your seasoned ringers a chance to review proper ringing techniques and your newest ringers an opportunity to get acclimated.

Easier music also provides the prospect of starting the year out with great success.   The choir will add to the Service with their talents and by raising their gifts and the experience will be a worshipful one for the ringers as they will be more relaxed with a simpler score.  Giving our ringers a positive experience will give them more satisfaction and a continued desire to be part of the music ministry.

Below are some pieces that come highly recommended for your consideration.  All of which are available for immediate purchase and digital download on the ChimeWorks website.

Blessed Assurance  (2 -3 Octaves) or  (3 – 5 Octaves)

Breathe On Me, O, Breath of God (2 – 3 Octaves) or (3 – 5 Octaves) 

Come, Christinas, Join To Sing (2 – 3 Octaves) or (3 – 5 Octaves)

God Himself Is With Us

Morning Has Broken (2 – 3 Octaves) or (3 – 5 Octaves)

Morning Hymn

Oh, Worship The King

Peaceful Blessing



Easy Secular Music for Handchimes

The school bell is about to ring and so is your handchime ensemble.  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.


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


Two Halves Make a Whole

Starting a new ringing ensemble with music that includes whole notes and half notes is recommended for the first rehearsals.  If you are directing a new group this year, you’ll want your music choices to include simpler rhythms in a moderate tempo so that your new ringers can focus on developing their ringing skills even if they are seasoned music readers.

Your ringers will have great success in playing homophonic music in which they will have the support of the group as they advance from chord to chord.  Giving them the opportunity as they work as a team in ringing and damping together will be positive reinforcement.  Musical results will be achieved as they coordinate their arm motion with the chordal ringing. Longer notes will also help develop to music literacy for pre-readers as well as eye and hand coordination.

If your new group includes those new to music-making – you will welcome the ability to teach them basic note values with resources that progress systematically.  We’ve been busy at ChimeWorks compiling some suggestions (all available for immediate purchase and digital download) for you which will get your program off to ringing success:

A Simple Prayer (Soliloquy) by Linda R. Lamb

Prelude to Sunrise by Sandra Eithun

Tranquil Chimings by Sandra Eithun

Starting Point, Volume 2 ( 2- 3 Octaves) by Sandra Eithun

Starting Point, Volume 2 (3 – 5 Octaves) by Sandra Eithun

Pathways to Musical Ringing, Volume 2 (2 – 3 Octaves) by Sandra Eithun & Michael Joy

Pathways to Musical Ringing, Volume 2 (3 – 5 Octaves) by Sandra Eithun & Michael Joy