by J.R. Smith

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we look back at the previous year’s accomplishments and pitfalls and sometimes try not to remember what New Year’s resolutions we so diligently made just 365 days earlier. 

J.R. Smith
Publications Director

Always Looking for New Content

Instructional Articles

  • Rehearsal & Teaching Techniques
  • Programming
  • Building and Organizing a  Program
  • Marketing & Communication
  • Building/Using Equipment

Music

  • Processionals & Fanfares
  • Hymn Accompaniments
  • Arrangements for Less than a Full Choir
  • Learning Pieces

Educational Materials

  • Music Lesson Plans
  • Rehearsal Exercises

Features

  • Human interest stories about the people who make handbells special
  • Articles about especially unique handbell events or programs from which someone else could gain ideas

Did anyone read my offerings of resolutions in the Winter 2018 issue? Did anyone make a personal promise to fulfill any of them? Did you actually do it? If you didn’t, fear not, here are some more, plus a couple of repeats so that you may have a second chance.

Get out of your comfort zone

Music and all the arts, life in general in fact, are about discovering new things and challenging yourself. How many of you have found your comfort zone as a director or performer? Have you found the best level of music for your musicians to play? Do you think you have found what your audiences are most comfortable listening to and what your ringers most enjoy playing?

I’ve been involved in groups—both handbell and other—that would take the safe route and perform only what they were comfortable with. I’ll admit, though, that I’ve been guilty of it myself.

So, if you’re ringing level 3 music consistently and comfortably, add a level 4 piece to your repertoire. If you’re ringing level 4, add a 5 or 6. But don’t just add it—actually perform it…for an audience. Do not let cutting the piece be an option. The only way you’ll be able to perform higher level music is to bit the bullet, as they say, and just do it.

As for your audience’s comfort zone, introduce them to genres and styles they may not be used to. And when introducing a piece, do it in a positive way, never apologetic or in any way inviting them potentially not to enjoy it.

Begin to learn a new instrument

So, here is one from last year. Have you tried yet? I tried flute—failed miserably. But at least I tried, right? There are lots of instruments out there, some costly but some not so much. For the more expensive ones, you might borrow from a fellow musician who no longer plays. But there are also lots of inexpensive and fun instruments you could try. How about ocarina, harmonica, cajon, or ukulele to name a few. Then go to YouTube and search for “How to play [insert name of instrument].”

Attend performances by fellow musicians

These could be a local orchestra, community theater, student recital, or, of course, another handbell ensemble. Check out local arts calendars. And be sure to offer some kind words to the performers afterward. You like for people to come and see you; so, you need to go see them.

Submit an article, piece of music or teaching tool to Overtones

LOOK IN THE SIDEBAR!

J.R. Smith
jrsmith@handbellmusicians.org

Did anyone read my offerings of resolutions in the Winter 2018 issue? Did anyone make a personal promise to fulfill any of them? Did you actually do it? If you didn’t, fear not, here are some more, plus a couple of repeats so that you may have a second chance.

Get out of your comfort zone

Music and all the arts, life in general in fact, are about discovering new things and challenging yourself. How many of you have found your comfort zone as a director or performer? Have you found the best level of music for your musicians to play? Do you think you have found what your audiences are most comfortable listening to and what your ringers most enjoy playing?

I’ve been involved in groups—both handbell and other—that would take the safe route and perform only what they were comfortable with. I’ll admit, though, that I’ve been guilty of it myself.

So, if you’re ringing level 3 music consistently and comfortably, add a level 4 piece to your repertoire. If you’re ringing level 4, add a 5 or 6. But don’t just add it—actually perform it…for an audience. Do not let cutting the piece be an option. The only way you’ll be able to perform higher level music is to bit the bullet, as they say, and just do it.

As for your audience’s comfort zone, introduce them to genres and styles they may not be used to. And when introducing a piece, do it in a positive way, never apologetic or in any way inviting them potentially not to enjoy it.

Begin to learn a new instrument

So, here is one from last year. Have you tried yet? I tried flute—failed miserably. But at least I tried, right? There are lots of instruments out there, some costly but some not so much. For the more expensive ones, you might borrow from a fellow musician who no longer plays. But there are also lots of inexpensive and fun instruments you could try. How about ocarina, harmonica, cajon, or ukulele to name a few. Then go to YouTube and search for “How to play [insert name of instrument].”

Attend performances by fellow musicians

These could be a local orchestra, community theater, student recital, or, of course, another handbell ensemble. Check out local arts calendars. And be sure to offer some kind words to the performers afterward. You like for people to come and see you; so, you need to go see them.

Submit an article, piece of music or teaching tool to Overtones

LOOK IN THE SIDEBAR!

J.R. Smith
jrsmith@handbellmusicians.org

J.R. Smith
Publications Director

Always Looking for New Content

Instructional Articles

  • Rehearsal & Teaching Techniques
  • Programming
  • Building and Organizing a  Program
  • Marketing & Communication
  • Building/Using Equipment

Music

  • Processionals & Fanfares
  • Hymn Accompaniments
  • Arrangements for Less than a Full Choir
  • Learning Pieces

Educational Materials

  • Music Lesson Plans
  • Rehearsal Exercises

Features

  • Human interest stories about the people who make handbells special
  • Articles about especially unique handbell events or programs from which someone else could gain ideas

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