Tag Archives: dazzle

Interlocked six-in-hand

Holding three bells in each hand (called six-in-hand or 6IH) can solve certain ringing problems. For example, you may need to play an ostinato (repeating pattern) with more bells than you can comfortably play with four-in-hand, even traveling. Become proficient in four-in-hand before attempting six-in-hand. Having that experience will help you master the setup with an additional bell in hand, and you’ll find more uses for four-in-hand, anyway. It can take several months to master six-in-hand, though I hope the suggestions below, as well as the video tutorial, will shorten your learning curve. Continue reading Interlocked six-in-hand


For our recent solo concert, I created my first ever slideshow to accompany a piece, and someone requested I write about it. If projection equipment is available, a slideshow is an excellent way to add variety to a program, almost like adding another instrument. I first started thinking about my slideshow a year ago. I had hoped to present it last spring, but that didn’t work out. The delay allowed me to prepare properly, and even to take some digital photos with the slideshow in mind. Continue reading Slideshows

Reverse grips

This article assumes you understand the basics of Shelley ringing and four-in-hand “ring and knock.” Sometimes you have the bells in a pair set for the right hand, and the next time you approach that pair, your left hand is free. Rather than choreograph around the problem, learn how to pick up the pair with the other hand. There are several ways to do this, in addition to the method already covered in Interlocked four-in-hand. Continue reading Reverse grips

Starting, ending, and transitions

I once read that a good sermon consists of a good beginning and a good ending, as close together as possible. While audiences don’t often nod off during handbell solos, we can engage them with a variety of openings and closings that enhance both the musical and the visual effect. Instead of starting and ending every piece with bells at the shoulder, wouldn’t it be more interesting to add some variety to your concert? Which would you rather watch: someone fidgeting during the piano introduction, or a soloist who approaches the table with confidence, making every move count? Would you rather see a soloist run down the table and snatch up bells for the next section, then stand idle until the piano catches up, or watch her move gracefully through the transition at her leisure? Continue reading Starting, ending, and transitions