Adaptable Lesson Plans for KidsPlay® Bells, Boomwhackers® and More!

The ChimeWorksTM library of lesson plans is not just for those who use handchimes!  While these lesson plans have been developed as an ever-growing resource for those who have access to handchime sets in the classroom and rehearsal, they are easily adaptable to be used with KidsPlay® bells, Orff-style instruments, Boomwhackers®, handbells and other pitched percussion instruments.  You can even double a melody with recorders!


In fact, the lesson plans using Icons and Chords have been developed using a system incorporating colors so that users of KidsPlay Bells and Boomwhackers will now have a new dimension of resources available to them.  Handchime owners can purchase colored bands here to wrap around the chime tube to give your students another feature in the learning process of becoming music literate.


In these lesson plans, we use a second component (shapes, pitch names, etc.) for those who suffer from color vision deficiency along with the Chroma-note® colors so that every child can be engaged in learning, developing eye-hand coordination and ultimately, music literacy.


Who are these lesson plans written for?


  • Music Education teachers who want to energize their classrooms and concert stages by increasing music literacy, creativity and collaboration.


  • Choir Directors who want to create meaningful rehearsals by implementing music reading, rhythm and exploration into their choral rehearsals leading to greater participation.


  • Music therapists who desire more resources in teaching non-music readers and giving them profound experiences.


  • Home Education leaders who are looking for resources with which to create musical experiences for smaller groups and will accommodate your educational needs at any level.


Are you one of these leaders?  Here’s what’s in the store for you – lesson plans using:



Icons are 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.


The ChimeWorks lesson plans use a standardized group of icons combining shapes and colors. The shapes have been adapted loosely from those used in shape-note singing.


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 score.  Several methods may be used to achieve success in helping the students to associate their handchime or other instrument with the appropriate pitch. 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.



Students may quickly harmonize the songs which they sing by using chords.  The ChimeWorks chordal lesson plans using two to seven chords are adaptable to lower and upper elementary school students alike.


Each lesson plan includes the melody and text of each song with chords indicated over the melody.  For older students, the text of the first verse is presented with chord names and associated colors over the text.  The students may sing the text and chime the associated chords as they progress through the text.  For younger children, a chord chart with associated colors is included which may be displayed through a computer-generated slideshow presentation or interactive whiteboard so that the teacher may point to the appropriate chord while singing tracking tempo and rhythm.




Harmonize your songs with ostinati patterns.  All the ChimeWorks ostinati lesson plans are easy to teach by rote.  Each lesson plan includes the melody and text of each song along with a series of patterns that can be taught on any number of pitched instruments.  Distribute non-pitched percussion too and have your students improvising rhythms in no time. This is creative music-making at its best!



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Using Handchimes in the Classroom

You, like many general music teachers, may have a set of handchimes in the instrument cabinet of your classroom that have been sitting for years. Now’s the time to open them up and get them into the hands of your students and begin reaping the benefits of using handchimes in the classroom.


Using handchimes in the classroom offers bountiful benefits in teaching music skills that will bring excitement to you and your students. Handchimes create a beautiful tone – they have been said to create the purest tone known to mankind. Children do not have to master the instrument to create this beauty – they hold the instrument and snap their wrist – no worries about embouchure, fingerings and being in tune – the beauty is instantaneous using the wrist to create the sound and the arm to sustain it.

The music skills that can be taught by ringing are many. Students can learn about note duration, rhythm, harmony and melodic line though the mental and physical aspects of ringing. Through ringing, students will increase their independent thinking, listening skills, attention span, physical coordination, self-discipline and personal expression. They also gain positive social and emotional skills through collaboration and the development of self-esteem. Working with a group of ringers teaches tolerance, patience, support and cooperation to name a few.


Using handchimes in the classroom does not require all the equipment that goes along with a handchime ensemble – tables, foam and music. Distribute one handchime to each student and allow them to sit at their desks, sit in a circle on the floor or stand. With a chime in hand, the students can learn to ring and damp, ring note durations, scales, chords and melodies all by rote.

If you desire to start slowly, use your handchimes along with your Orff instruments allowing students to double ostinati on handchimes. If Kodaly is your method, use the handchimes to intone a song by ringing a chord, accompany a modal melody by choosing the pitches of the mode on handchimes and have them ring randomly throughout the piece. If you have students who are not successful in playing the recorder, have them ring chords on the handchimes to accompany the melody that the students on recorders are playing. The incorporation of handchimes into your existing lesson plans is easy and will embellish your teaching!

Once you have experienced the positive benefits of using handchimes with your existing lesson plans, expand your curriculum by engaging your students with more ringing! Through the ChimeWorks® Online Resource Community at, you have access to over a hundred lesson plans using icons, chords and ostinati. Use these lessons to accompany singing or to teach music literacy. Add in non-pitched percussion for students to improvise rhythms along with the singing and handchime parts. All your students will have hands on experience!


Begin or finish the school year with ringing success – it’s never too late in the academic year to introduce handchimes. Because of the instant success in creating beauty of tone by ringing a handchime, your students will have the opportunity to jump right into the music!