English Handbells are an ancient instrument with a very modern application. Although the very first handbells were designed to allow the tower ringers an opportunity to practice their ringing patterns without having to climb those very tall, cold and drafty cathedral bell towers, the modern handbell ensemble is much more varied in its use and function. Not just for tower ringing anymore, and certainly not just for church, but for solos, duets, trios, quartets, small ensembles, community groups, massed ringing groups, and beginners all the way to professional handbell ensembles.
Though handbell ringing got its start in the church, it is through community groups like ours that handbell ringing over the last few years has seen some of its greatest development and growth, taking the art of handbell ringing in new exciting directions. The opportunities for student advancement and success are now nearly limitless.
Here at the Stafford Regional Handbell Society, we are committed to training the handbell musicians of the next century and beyond. We want to give your student a life long love of the art of handbell ringing and instill skills and lessons that they will take with them both in life and their ringing careers.
Handbell ringing offers superior music education because there is no time lost in mastering the playing technique required to make the instrument sound. The instrument is always in tune, easy to ring and fun to play. Because the students do all of their rehearsal in class, there is no instrument required for them to purchase or rent and there are no home practices logs or assignments. Kids quickly achieve success and don't get discouraged as they may with other traditional musical instruments. In this scenario, ringers can rapidly learn music theory and playing skills or techniques, making handbell ringing an ideal introduction to other music courses like band and chorus. Those who continue in the program and build their skills find that they are more comfortable in reading and interpreting advanced rhythmic skills and musical concepts than many of their peers, giving them a leg up on competition for things such as, chair placements, honor band and choir selection, as well as in auditioning for other select musical ensembles all of which assist the student in obtaining scholarship money that is offered to students to play in advanced college and university handbell ensembles.
In addition to our unique individual belt and badge achievement system, every student is assigned a ringing position in a ringing team that matches their current skill level. Team members work together to achieve musical skills that can only be accomplished as a group. It is this very team environment that makes ringing so socially rewarding. Not only will your student ring in their own unique ensemble, they will have opportunites from time to time to participate with other lower level ensembles as a master level player, offering both an opportunity for your student to assist in the development of future bell players and to build his or her own skills.
That is why the motto of The Stafford Regional Handbell Society is: