Tag Archives: Nancy Hascall

Master’s project on solo ringing by Alan Reese

Concordia University, Wisconsin, offers a Master of Church Music Degree. One option is to take it with a handbell emphasis; Dr. John Behnke is the faculty member in charge of the program. Many of the finest handbell musicians I know have completed the course, including Emily Li, Michael Glasgow, Linda Lamb, Sandy Eithun, and Alan Reese. Al, who is a handbell soloist and the Music Director of the Virginia Handbell Consort, did his master’s project on solo ringing, and has kindly given permission for me to share it with you here. Continue reading Master’s project on solo ringing by Alan Reese

Documenting solo choreography

Once you figure out how you’re going to play a handbell solo, record the choreography for future reference (and possible publication). There are several approaches you can use. I prefer the system found in Nancy Hascall’s notation guide (part of which appears in the Guild’s notation guide), which I find easy to use and intuitive. I recommend buying a sheet lifter from Jeffers that summarizes single bell technique notation on the front and multiple bell technique notation on the back. Continue reading Documenting solo choreography

Transcribing for solo handbells

Today’s article is for handbell soloists who want to create their own arrangements. Technically, what we do is considered a ‘transcription.’ An ‘arrangement’ includes substantial original material and requires the same skills as an original composition. I suggest you read my articles on Repertoire and Information for composers. I strongly suggest you use repertoire published for solo handbells until you reach at least an intermediate level and routinely create your own choreography. Then you can recognize what kinds of music work well on solo handbells and solve choreography problems. A beginning soloist can waste a lot of time transcribing works that require skills not yet learned. Continue reading Transcribing for solo handbells

Composing for solo handbells

I’m writing today for experienced composers who want to learn more about writing for solo handbells. (I’ll write another time for soloists who want to create their own transcriptions.) I’m assuming you’re familiar with handbells as a choir instrument. You may want to review my videos and videos of other handbell soloists on YouTube, to get a sense of how we play handbells as a solo instrument. I suggest also viewing my pages About Solo Handbells and Solo Handbell Methods to become more familiar with the techniques discussed below. My earlier article on Repertoire may interest you, and the Notation Guide published by Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR) will prove useful. Continue reading Composing for solo handbells