in directing vs. ringing, ringing wins every time

So yesterday was part of our school’s arts festival and I volunteered to do a handbell workshop.  Or, rather, two handbell workshops — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  It was fun.  Basically, I showed them a technique, showed them the notation for it, and then let them try to play a piece containing that technique a few times. 

The morning workshop was easier than the afternoon workshop for a variety of reasons.  First, more people in the morning workshop knew how to read music.  I did have to circle notes for a couple of the boys, but they mostly understood rhythmic notation and things.  Second, I wasn’t exhausted in the morning.  The fun thing about the morning workshop is that the boys wanted to perform a piece at the lunch.  So we worked up 17 measures of Amazing Grace (about one verse).  They had it down cold when we finished rehearsing it, so then they went and ate.  That was apparently a mistake — we ended up with a couple of false starts when we played it for the other boys.  The first time was just nerves, but the second… Well, I did mention that some of them couldn’t read music right?  I’d told them to just bring the bells that they rang in the piece to the lunchroom so that we wouldn’t need to bring in the tables and foam and all.  So this one kid brought the wrong note.  He was SO embarassed.  But once we had the right notes, it went quite well.

The afternoon workshop was fine for about the first half — it was tougher because more people needed help knowing where their notes were and understanding the rhythms and things.  Plus they were tired, and playing handbells really requires intense concentration.  And, about half-way through, I realized that I was completely out of energy.  Ugh.  I’d rather ring any day of the week than direct.  At the end, I showed them how to do some change ringing just so they didn’t have to try to read the music anymore — I know they were finding it tough.

I’m glad I did it though.  I just think that next year I’ll only do one morning workshop with the bells.  The best would be if I could do a bell elective.  I’d really love to do that.  But the school doesn’t own a bell set (I borrowed these from my own church choir), so it’s not really feasible.

In other news, I received multiple compliments on my voice yesterday and today.  Yesterday because I was singing along with the bells a bit as I was directing so that they could get a sense of the tune and where we were.  Today because in my bell rehearsal (yay for ringing) we were rehearsing God Bless America and at one point the director wants us to sing the verse.  Only it makes me wish I’d majored in voice instead of in math. 

–ryo out


1 Response to “in directing vs. ringing, ringing wins every time”

  1. 24 March 2008 at 11:36:04

    i am gonna show this to my friend, bro

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February 2008
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  • 303 momentarily amused

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