Small stuff

Being a concert solo handbell artist isn’t cheap. I’ll write another time about the major investments in equipment (like bells) and training required for a serious study of this instrument. Today’s article is about the astonishing array of “small stuff” I’ve acquired in my work as a handbell soloist. (And not so small stuff – the Bellmobile and piano both made the list!)

You don’t need to run out and buy all this stuff all at once, of course. I’ve acquired it over the last 5 years. Some of it you may never need, yourself. You can get started as a handbell soloist with a set of borrowed bells, borrowed tables and foam, borrowed table covers (or a piece of hemmed corduroy draped over your table), a piece of sheet music, and a nice outfit you might wear to church. Also see my article about Concert equipment and transport for items like the contents of my gadget box, and to see pictures of some of the “stuff.”

* things I made (I’ll write more about this another time)
* * things I had custom-made

Sheet music, plus related supplies:
**Music stamp
Filing supplies
3 hole punch
Music binders for bell and piano parts
Sheet music clips
Accompaniment CDs

Practice supplies:
**Hearing protection, case, and lubricant
Wrist and elbow braces
Music stands – I have three Manhasset floor music stands: one at each end of the table, plus a travel (Manhasset Voyager) stand. If you’re buying music stands specifically for solo handbells, I suggest getting the Voyager stand model, with a tote bag. Then you can take it with you to rehearsals if needed, and have it available when other instrumentalists come over to rehearse with you. It’s also handy for bell tree work. If you want a second floor stand for the bell table, consider getting one with a double-sized desk, so you can lay out more sheet music on it. Also buy foot protectors, especially if you have hardwood floors. (The Voyager stand comes with rubber feet.)
Electric pencil sharpener
*Singing bell pestles and *fleece sleeves
Claves (purchased) for singing bell

Bell tree supplies:
Bell tree stands (I have two: one packed for concerts, one assembled at home for practice)
Extra arms
Wire and **acrylic clips
*Custom bags for transporting bell tree stand base, pole, arms, and bell tree supplies
Mallet bag
Plastic boxes and *padding for transporting assembled bell trees
Practice pad for drumming
Spare parts (fasteners, O rings)

**Business cards
Business card holder
**Concert postcards
Plastic envelopes to carry concert postcards around with me
Poster holder for reception desk at concerts
Paper cutter

Recording equipment:
Audio recorder with tempo adjustment on playback – Roland CD2-e
Microphone and stand
Digital piano (with headphones and cables to recorder) – Yamaha YDP223
Media: flash drives, blank CDs, DVDs, sleeves and cases
Camcorder – Canon Vixia HFM50
Tripod, camcorder case, cables, batteries, power supply
USB drive to transfer files from recorder/camcorder memory chips to the computer

Transport equipment:
Bellmobile – Toyota RAV4, bought for this purpose
*Cargo tie-downs
Cart – Rock N Roller multi-cart model R6 (mini)
Half-size Malmark bell cases
**Custom box for Japanese bell tree
Locking plastic boxes
*Fabric bags to carry loose bells
Foam pad carrying bag
Wardrobe carry bags (garment bag and shoe bag)
Music bag, lunch tote, cosmetic bag

Table dressing:
Adjustable height tables
Muslin covers
*Corduroy table tops (practice and performance)
*Table skirts (formal and daytime)
*Dressing for extras table
*Cover to convert Japanese bell tree box into floor stand
*Mallet pockets
*Covers for bells
Hand-held steamer

Maintenance supplies:
Standard Schulmerich tool kit, plus stubby screwdriver, lubricant pen, and yoke adjustment tool
Paintbrushes to clean inside bells
Spare parts kit
Polishing cloths (with jeweler’s rouge)
Protective table covers
Protective gloves
Plastic cups for disassembling bells
Marking supplies and label maker

Computer and color printer – used for other things, of course
Microsoft Office software for documents, spreadsheets, and posters
Sibelius software for creating music scores
iMovie software for editing videos
iPhoto software for editing photos
iWeb software for maintaining my website

Japanese bell tree, mallets, and **table-top stand
Duplicate bells
*Chime pads
*Padded closet shelves for storing idle bells
Wardrobe – I’ll write more about this another time
Ballet slippers
Sewing machine, sewing tools, sewing and mending notions
Handbell CDs and DVDs
Reference books
Jeffers sheet lifter summarizing notation for handbell techniques
Water bottle
Tuning fork
Teaching supplies, conducting baton
Label maker and tape – Brother PT-85

Some things I don’t own, but you may want to consider:
Microphone, transmitter, and receiver for amplifying the bells
Port-a-Bell cases or other hard-shell cases for flying
Collapsible travel bell tree stand
MP3 player, like an iPod
Malmark Cymbells
Electronic tuner
Blocks to raise standard tables to ringing height
More small percussion instruments, like bar chimes, rainstick, shakers

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Kirkner,