Classes at National Seminar cover all aspects of handbell musicianship:

Techniques for treble to bass, solo to ensemble; beginning to advanced conducting; handbells in worship and education; musicality, percussion, and rhythm; managing and building a handbell program; and so much more. Review all the options below and make your selection before you begin the registration process.

50 Shades of Damping presented by Michèle Sharik

One of the first things we learn as a handbell musician is to damp the bell, but there is so much more to damping than just “on” or “off”! Discover how selective damping, soft damping, pre-damping, half-damping — and more! — can help you shape your music and take your performance to new heights. Several hands-on musical examples will be given.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

A Comprehensive Look at Using Mallets with Handbells presented by Greig Ashurst

This class is designed to teach musicians correct mallet selection, technique, and interpretation when using mallets on handbells.  It will help musicians learn about tone, timbre, balance, and many other issues that musicians encounter when using mallets.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

After the Prelude: Bells in Worship presented by Bill Mathis

Once the prelude is over, how can the handbell ensemble contribute to worship in meaningful ways? Bring mallets.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 2

Anatomy for Musicians Made Easy presented by Rob Meyer-Kukan

Anatomy sounds technical and difficult to understand. After all, the study of anatomy is only for medical professionals, right? This class will teach you the basics of anatomy as it applies to music making. Building on the concept of “your body is your instrument,” participants will take away a better understanding of how their body — their instrument — works, moves, and makes music.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Arranging for Handbells with Other Instruments presented by Christian Guebert

Learn how to add musical dimension to your handbell sound by knowing how to orchestrate for wind, string, vocal, organ, and percussive additions to your bell choir. For any director or organizer (not just handbell composer/arranger). We’ll delve into examples, and get the ins and outs (and dos and don’ts) of using instrumental players with bells.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Back Ringing: The Traditional Style presented by Aidan Fozard

Back Ringing or “Off Table” ringing is the traditional style of playing handbells and is still practiced across the UK. This tool is great for bass ringing, quick ringing, peaceful pieces, and marches (amongst others). This session will give you the fundamentals to allow you to utilize this technique in your choirs.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Basic Conducting 101 presented by K. Joy Toll-Chandler

Called on to move from being a ringer to a conductor? Not quite ready for your Certification Conducting class? This introductory class will help you learn about beat patterns, entrances, cut-offs, dynamics, score preparation — and, of course, how to use that baton!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

BASSics presented by Nick Hanson

Ringing on the low bass handbells (2s and 3s) requires very specific approaches in regards to physical health, proper ringing technique, the execution of other techniques, and assignments and setups. Being a foundational course, this class will focus primarily on the absolute beginning of bass handbell ringing, up to and including assignment ideas for level 1 and 2 handbell music.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Beginner Hymn Tune Arranging for Mini-Ensembles presented by Christian Guebert

Ready to write handbell music? Starting with a range of a few notes, learn to craft some beloved melodies into new and accessible small forms that are playable by one-to-several people. (This will be more than just playing a melody!) It doesn’t have to be 2+ octaves to be sufficient, artful, and personal.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Bell Lore: Bell Stories and History from Ellen Jane Lorenz presented by Sandy Mullaney

Connect to and learn about our instrument in new ways through the writings of the late handbell giant Ellen Jane Lorenz. We will explore the history and lore of bells from around the world, American bell trivia, and dozens of intriguing stories and sayings collected by this editor, clinician, composer, author, speaker, and noted bell scholar.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Bells for Small Number of Ringers (less than a 3-octave group) presented by Debbie Henning

How can you play quality music for worship or concert with less than 11 ringers? This track will concentrate on answering this question. Topics covered will include techniques for multiple bells (Shelley and four-in-hand), weaving, ringing techniques, and notations for one to six ringers, score study for converting a 3-octave piece to less than 11 ringers, and repertoire for a small number of ringers. Bring your gloves.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Beyond BASSics presented by Nick Hanson

Conquer the conundrums associated with bass bell ringing challenges. Scenarios and drills are presented in this class to discover concepts and solutions for those bass ringing puzzles. Be prepared to experience assignments and concepts outside the box. Learn to share those “experiences” with your bass bell partners.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Beyond Vibrations: Handchimes for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing presented by Alex Gartner

For most of us, listening and experiencing music is a treasured pastime, but what about those who can’t hear it? This session will explore strategies of how handchimes can provide an explorative musical experience for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Any and all of these strategies can be adapted or applied directly to any traditional handbell ensemble, and these strategies will certainly help any ringer who is experiencing hearing loss yet has a passion for ringing!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

The Camera Doesn’t Lie presented by KatRyn Howell

From public speaking to athletics and certainly the performing arts, the mirror and the camera are important tools that allow us to critique our own performance. Take this opportunity to check your own technique.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Change Ringing: American Style presented by Danny Lyons

As it originated in England, change ringing is traditionally accomplished on swinging tower bells controlled by a rope from below, and rehearsed on handbells regulated to strike equally on both sides of the casting — neither of which work well for my church. This is a participation class about ringing changes on the bells you already own, and playing them in a style of movement that you already know, and leaving with ideas that you can put to use next week in church or community. This is all the “fun stuff” in change ringing!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Choreography for Processionals presented by Michael Joy

Processionals can be a compelling visual and musical experience. Too many times, groups attempt to step to the beat in a haphazard fashion. This class will focus on how to use the music to make a more interesting visual statement.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Compose Something, Quick! presented by Karen Buckwalter

Do you need a short fanfare for an upcoming festive service? Could you use a handbell processional for Advent or some simple chords to dress up a hymn for your children’s handbell choir? If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at composing/arranging, but were afraid to start, this class is for you.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Conducting for What You Want presented by Beth Judd

Is there only one way for a conductor to gesture to achieve that perfect sound and precise ringing desired? Is it a one-size-fits-all proposition or an ever-changing art that enables the music? Bring your baton and let’s explore!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Creative Movement for Musicians presented by Griff Gall

Music and movement are intertwined, especially for handbell musicians. Be prepared to move, have fun, and explore how movement leads to musical performances.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 2

Creative Teaching Tactics presented by Bob Avant

Bring new life to concepts of teaching skills and musicality to ringers at every level with unique approaches that will show both immediate and long-term results. Topics include: vertical alignment (playing together), visual aspects, multiple-bell techniques, dynamic control, velocity improvement (linear timing), standardized shakes, musicality, refined singing bell technique, and more. See these concepts presented and experience them first-hand as a ringer to gain a full understanding of both the teaching process and performance results.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Critical Listening presented by Carolynne Mathis

This class will focus on how we listen and how, as ringers and directors, we can develop critical listening skills. Critical listening helps us fit the individual notes our bells play into a melody line, into a crescendo or decrescendo, or into chords. All this and more will help both ringers and directors create more beautiful music together. Examples from handbell repertoire will be used to teach this class.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

The Deadly Combos presented by Debbie Fingas

This session looks at the coordination conundrums ringers face when the music asks for two techniques at once. Build confidence and problem-solving skills so you can tackle whatever comes your way. We will look at and practice ringing in one hand while malleting in the other, four-in-hand bells and chimes, ringing in one hand with mart rhythms in the other, ringing different meters in the two hands, mallets in one hand while switching in and out of chimes/bells with the other, switching in and out of four-in-hand and Shelley passages, and more. Bring two mallets for upper bells.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Drills for Trained Musicians without Handbell Experience presented by Christian Guebert

It’s happened — you inherited one or maybe several great vocalists, instrumentalists, or keyboardists from elsewhere in the community or church, but they know nothing about handbells! Just because your friends are trained musicians doesn’t mean they will make a seamless transition. However, shortcuts are possible and in this class we’ll go through tried and tested drills that are geared specifically for musicians to get them playing at a high level sooner.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Drumming Your Way to Better Rhythm presented by Greig Ashurst

This is a totally hands-on experience designed to develop each musician’s rhythm and coordination. Musicians will engage in activities designed to develop individual and ensemble rhythm skills. Come and be a part of this drumming ensemble.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

The Eight-fold Path to a Better Handbell Program presented by Greig Ashurst

This will raise your awareness about the culture you create in your handbell program. Do you engage musicians and audiences with your work? Are you helping or hurting you ensemble with your conducting and your leadership? This class discusses these issues and opens a dialogue with other directors about what is means to create a Culture of Excellence in your music program.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Ensemble Ringing Like A Star! presented by Danny Lyons

Bring your quartet as a group, or join a quartet in the class, to work on various aspects of ringing together as a small group. The class will consist of three or four quartets all working and ringing in the same room either communally or separately in their own “space”. Each session will have hand-outs with exercises designed for quartets or small ensembles that participants may use at home. The final session will be a “sharing” of what each quartet has accomplished.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 4

Finding the Music on the Page: Score Study presented by Bill Mathis

How can we look at the score of a piece and determine the best way to teach it? This class approaches rehearsal preparation through the music’s structure, style, and bell-related complications.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Games for Growing and Connecting presented by Sandy Mullaney

What do we gain from playing games with our ringers? Ice breakers/getting to know you, team building and bonding, energy building and focus, specific music and handbell skills/techniques, and so much more (let’s not forget FUN!). Join us as we try out dozens of game options to take home which can be enjoyed with choirs of all ages. This is a high energy participation class — come and play!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Handbell Changes and Other Delights presented by Michael Joy

Too many ringers and directors leave handbell changes up to chance. This is a skill that can and should be taught. This hands-on class will cover strategies that ringers can use when they have more than two handbells in a piece. Additionally, topics such as chromatic passages and shared handbells will be addressed.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Handbell Jam Session: Beginners presented by Barbara Meinke

This level 1–2 jam session for both ringers and directors will have you practicing your sight-reading and ringing technique with tips from an expert while we play through five titles in 75 minutes, while stopping for tips, position changes, and music-making along the way! (Please bring a pair of mallets or two!)
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Handbell Jam Session: Intermediate presented by Barbara Meinke

Perfect for both ringers and directors, this music level 2+–3+ jam session will have you practicing your sight-reading and exploring mixed-meter music while we ring through five titles in 75 minutes, while stopping for sight-reading and technique tips and music-making along the way! (Please bring a pair of mallets or two!)
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Handbell Tree I: Ringing Solos and Duets presented by Connie Nicholson

Ever play “Around the World” in ping pong? The entire class will play an adapted version of this game, while becoming familiar with ringing bells vertically strung on a handbell tree. You will learn the basics of how to string bells and mallet simple solos and duets on a handbell tree stand. The great thing about this style of ringing is that it’s not only fun, but by the end of class, you will be playing a simple song!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Handbell Tree II: Ringing Solos and Duets presented by Connie Nicholson

We will quickly review the basics about handbell tree ringing, and jump right into playing bells vertically, primarily with the Barb Brocker style of hanging bells. We will work on learning the accidental positions in a “keyboard style” with musical games and exercises. We will have fun playing a variety of solos and duets, which will challenge and advance ringers’ knowledge of this style of ringing. It is helpful to take Handbell Tree I or have prior knowledge in this style of ringing, but it is not required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Healthy Ringing: Body and Bell Part 1 presented by Susan Berry

Healthy Ringing must be the foundation for every ringer and every ensemble. Awareness of how the body and the bell interact lets an individual control strokes, techniques, and dynamics, and helps an ensemble create the sparkle of a stunning performance.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Healthy Ringing: Body and Bell Part 2 presented by Susan Berry

Putting Session 1 skills into practice: application to the full ensemble; synchronization of all ringers to create a musical unit; and securing the performance through musical examples.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Hitting The Road: A Guide to Planning a Successful Tour presented by Kathleen Ebling Shaw

Touring not only expands your audience base but it gives your choir valuable performance and fellowship experiences. Designed for educational, community, or church groups, this class will address the many facets of touring: budgeting, scheduling concerts, lodging, transportation, meals, publicity, building itineraries, concert programming, ringer activities, and more. After this class, you’ll be ready to pack your bells for a three day or three week tour!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Join the Band! Writing Handbell Arrangements to Enhance Your Contemporary Worship presented by Brenda E. Austin

Have you thought about adding handbells to the praise band? In this collaborative class we will work together to create handbell arrangements that will go with the band. We will first learn how to read a chord chart, then to write our own arrangements. No music software is necessary!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Knocking on the Door of Life presented by Michael Joy

Knocking on the door of life is a signature movement of the ancient Chinese practice of qigong. Sometimes called “movement meditation”, qigong consists of breathing exercises, gentle stretches, and flowing movements which help you to feel relaxed but energized. Appropriate for any age, this non-handbell session will provide an opportunity for something a little different and will help to relax and energize you for the rest of the day.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Kumihimo Braiding 101 presented by Karen Van Wert

Kumihimo Braiding is a traditional Japanese braiding technique that has found renewed interest by modern day jewelry makers. Like music, various combinations of a few basic elements can produce unlimited creations of beauty. Both hands are used to execute the braiding, exercising both sides of brain while working together to complete a repeated pattern. If you can count to four, you can Kumihimo. You will take home a completed bracelet. The Kumihimo disk is yours to keep so you may continue braiding at home. $10 fee due for supplies at the time of the class. Optional em”bell”ishments will be available for purchase.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Live Streaming 101: Background, Basics, and Beyond presented by Derek Nance and Bob Avant

Curious about live streaming your concerts? This session will provide a great deal of info about this developing technology. Topics include: process overview, legal issues to address, equipment requirements with options and costs, network requirements, service providers (with an emphasis on free), technical considerations, tips, and Q&A.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Live Streaming 201: Practical Application and Roundtable presented by Derek Nance and Bob Avant

Live streaming can seem like magic performed by wizards with a computer and internet access. In this hands-on session we will examine the set up used to live stream concerts at this conference, have a discussion about live streaming, and answer participants’ specific questions. Participation in Live Streaming 101 is recommended before taking this course, but is not required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Mastering Mixed-Meter presented by Kathleen Wissinger

What’s with all this mixed-meter music in handbells? Using progressive exercises and visuals aids, we will find the key to unlocking the magic of irregular pulse and shifting meters. You’ll find that being a little off-beat can be a very positive thing! Bring mallets and stand-up notebooks.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Memorize It! presented by Sandy Mullaney

What are the benefits of memorizing music, whether a few measures, a passage, or an entire piece? This class looks at the philosophy of many current handbell conductors who have experienced greater musicality when their choirs memorize music. Next, using a tried-and-true method, we will memorize a piece of music together. Yes, you can do it! You’ll be surprised that this really works! Come and find out how.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Multiple Method Madness presented by KatRyn Howell

This is a hands-on overview of a variety of assignment strategies; from Allured to Hilty to Ivey to KatSigning and beyond. Come try out a bunch of different ways to assign the bells to ringers.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Music Literacy: The ABCs of Do-Re-Mi presented by KatRyn Howell

Are you still struggling with actually reading the notes and rhythms in your music? This class will teach you easy-to-remember ways to identify pitches and rhythms so you can become a more confident and accurate ringer.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Once Upon A Time: The Art of Musical Storytelling presented by Meredith Ann Gaines

Much has been written about the efficacy of storytelling in our world. Our music benefits from storytelling, whether there is accompanying text or not, as we can transport our listeners to another place using story. Join us as we explore a simple step-by-step process of incorporating storytelling into all of your music — and live happily ever after!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Partner Stretching for Musicians presented by Rob Meyer-Kukan

Do you want to take your stretching to another level? Do you want to build a sense of team with your ringers? Do you want to increase the “fun factor” of your stretching routine? Partner stretching is the way to go! This class includes information on the benefits of stretching as well as a routine of partner stretching that you can implement right away. NOTE: participants will be invited (and encouraged) to move in pairs and actively participate in the class.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Playing The Truth and Living The Music presented by Meredith Ann Gaines

Whether you stand in front or behind a handbell table, enhancing musicianship is a goal for everyone! Taking techniques used in Stanislavski theatrical training, come discover nuances and activities to include in your preparations and rehearsal process that will bring a new level of artistry for everyone. All musicians can benefit from the process of growing performance techniques through the rehearsal, physical means of expression, and putting it together!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Protect Your Hearing Health presented by Rob Meyer-Kukan

Did you know that approximately 50% of musicians have experienced some degree of hearing loss? Hearing is one of the musician’s most important tools. Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. Noise-induced hearing loss is largely preventable and education is the key. Join us for this class to learn more about one of our greatest assets as musicians – our hearing!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Recording All Parts Yourself presented by Christian Guebert

With only your bells, an affordable audio recorder, and free software, you too can make an excellent recording. Composers/arrangers and directors can add this unique skill to their toolkit.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Repeatable Changes presented by Sharon Schmidt

How do you play that tricky passage the same way every time? Once you have mastered basic skills like weaving, table damping, changes to chimes or mallets, the next step is to figure out when to do what, and how to mark your score so that you can repeat the change. In this hands-on class, we’ll solve multiple problems and explore marking techniques.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Ring and Sing the Seasons presented by Karen Buckwalter

Some of the most joyful moments in handbell ministry are when we combine ringing and singing. Even if our ringers are afraid to ring and sing at the same time, there are ways to add soloists and small ensembles. Come ring and sing selected music from a variety of worship seasons — a great way to “grow” your handbell ministry!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Ringing Articulations presented by Kathleen Ebling Shaw

A variety of ringing techniques makes our music interesting! This hands-on class will survey all of the articulations used in the handbell score and offer tips to optimize the sound of the handbell based on its design and allow the ringers to play as musically as possible while keeping them healthy!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Ringing By Numbers presented by Aidan Fozard

In the 1800s, the coal miners and mill workers did not have the musical education to perform from staff-based music notation. However, they were still able to perform the most beautiful and complex music by using a system of number notation. This session will demystify the numbers technique they used so you can use it today. Great for getting the young and audience members with no musical experience into ringing within minutes!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Community Connections (Roundtable) presented by Sharon Schmidt

Connect with others involved with the day-to-day operations of community handbell ensembles. Bring your concerns and successes to share in this round table.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Musician’s Health and Wellness (Roundtable) presented by Rob Meyer-Kukan

This session is designed to be a place to discuss common complaints and concerns of handbell musicians related to health and wellness. Specific topics will be chosen by those who attend. Possible topics could include: the aches and pains of handbell ringing, strength-building exercises for handbell musicians, how to integrate stretching into rehearsals, ergonomics and handbell ringing, and any other ideas participants may have.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

The Secret to my Ringers’ Success presented by Karen Van Wert

Teaching a new skill or improving an existing skill should include building the ringer’s confidence in this skill. Practicing new skills as hymn embellishments, you can enhance the worship experience for your congregation while creating a success story for your ringers. Apply a “recipe” or two to the learning process and wait to incorporate the skill into your anthem piece when you have achieved success and confidence using the skill. This is also a great way to make music with a variety of skill levels or with a small group of ringers.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Signing Your Life Away: A Chat on Clinicians, Commissions, and Contracts (Roundtable) presented by Michael Glasgow

As the handbell world advances its professionalism, more and more clients and event organizers are juggling contracts with composers, conductors, and clinicians. Let’s get serious in discussing the ups and downs of contracts, retainers, cancellations — to optimize that all-important element on both sides of the equation: communication.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

So You Think You Can Ring presented by Karen Buckwalter

You ring all the right notes and you know all the techniques, but are you driving your director crazy by making everything sound like a Sousa march? Does your bell choir’s participation in worship say “ho hum” to the congregation because “lyrical” and “majestic” both sound alike? Come join us and learn ways to make your director smile again as we take musical ringing to the next level.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Stretching for Musicians presented by Rob Meyer-Kukan

Stretching is good — when done right. In this class you will learn why to stretch, what to stretch, and how to stretch. Demonstration will be given of stretches that are appropriate before, during, and after a rehearsal, concert, service, or other music-making opportunities. NOTE: participants will be invited (and encouraged) to move and actively participate in the class.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Take Your Bells to Work Day presented by Marie Loeffler

If you want an innovative, informative, and unique presentation for your company, business, or community organization, think bells! Learn how our instrument, coupled with a well-crafted script, can illustrate the principles of team-building, the value of each voice on a team, and other important life skills. This creative approach will leave a lasting impression on your listeners and you may attract new audience members to your next concert!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Technology for the Handbell Rehearsal presented by Greig Ashurst

Technology can be integrated into every aspect of a music rehearsal to improve both the efficiency and the aesthetic experience. This course is designed to give directors and musicians useful tools to implement effective technologies when planning a rehearsal.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

To C6 and Beyond presented by KatRyn Howell

You will learn the various methods of ringing two bells in each hand (there are at least seven ways to do it!), how to decide which to use when, and how to do them safely and musically.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Towards Harmony: Spirituality and Handbell Choirs presented by Debbie Fingas

It seems that handbell ringers are a special sort, and particularly so in the church. Dedicated, caring, and passionate, did you ever wonder if they ring because of the way they are, or whether they are that way because they ring? This class explores the church handbell choir as a vehicle for ministry. Designed primarily as a course for bell choir leaders, this course could also be useful for anyone who wants to explore how ringing can connect people to each other and to God.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Understanding Our Passion for Handbells presented by Kimberlee Strepka

When asked what it feels like to be a handbell musician, some have used the words amazing, fulfilling, powerful, surprising, exhilarating, and indescribable. Handbell ringing’s unique characteristics were the subject of a research study conducted through Boston University, and this class will examine what makes ensemble ringing unlike any other music making experience. The intelligent body, musical community, and accessibility will be discussed in detail. If you’ve ever wished for a scientific study you could use in promoting the unique benefits of handbell ringing, this class is for you!
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Unpublished-Music Reading Session presented by Bill Mathis

Unpublished-Music Reading Sessions are fantastic opportunities for any composer or arranger to hear his or her unpublished creation(s) sight-read by a group of people who are kind, constructive, and enthusiastic about handbells, and for ringers and observers to hear the newest creations for the instrument!  Preregistration is required for presenters. Ringing positions for demonstration choirs will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, though registered composers will receive a “place at the table” before other ringers.  We will have multiple sets of handbells and chimes, and we will have mallets.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

The Virginia Reel: with Handbells! presented by Danny Lyons

The Virginia Reel is a folk dance which was very popular between 1860 and 1890 (it was the dance in “Gone With the Wind” where Rhett asks Scarlet to dance while she’s in mourning), and the people who danced it then had no idea that one day it could include handbells. In fact, they couldn’t have known what handbells are. But here it is in our own 21st century version. Learn this folk dance in 10 minutes, and then have fun dancing and ringing it the rest of the class period. Be prepared for an active, rewarding class. No partner required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Weaving 101 presented by Debbie Henning

Do you ever feel like you have two left hands? Does your right hand not know what your left hand is doing? You need to learn the art of weaving — playing three or more bells in a row. Come away light on your feet and tangle free! Bring your gloves.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

With Pulse, Your Music Is Alive! presented by Kathleen Ebling Shaw

Pulse brings music to life, not tempo! This hands-on class will explore rehearsal techniques which will help to add more ebb and flow to your music through pulse. Participants will learn to recognize the primary beats and practice techniques to stress their importance. Not forgotten are the weaker beats and how they are executed.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Worship Alive! Creative Use of Bells in Traditional Worship presented by Beth Judd

“Traditional worship — ugh!” Ever hear those words? Handbells can enable our worship to come alive and create those special “awe” moments where we move closer to the Divine through the fresh use of our traditional reformed worship.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Tracks

These options involve cumulative learning over multiple class sessions. Participants should plan to attend all sessions included in the track. When registering, please make sure you select the track option you choose in each session it is offered. You are not required to take a track, but if you do, you must attend all sessions of that track.

Advanced Ringing under the direction of David Weck

Our goal as an ensemble is to realize the music on the page. We will prepare as if we are giving a concert program, concentrating on musicality and performance readiness.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 5

All Star Choir under the direction of Nick Hanson and Stephanie Rhoades

This auditioned ensemble will spend six class sessions plus a dress rehearsal working with conductors Nick Hanson and Stephanie Rhoades on advanced music with the goal of presenting a concert on Saturday afternoon of the event. The concert will be shared with the Distinctly Teen ensemble. Audition is required on Tuesday, July 17. Those who wish to audition should still sign up for other classes in the sessions designated for All Star rehearsals in the event they are not accepted.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 7 (Sessions 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15)

I ❤ Music Ringing (Beginning Ringing) under the direction of Kathleen Wissinger

Music touches our souls, lifts our spirits, changes our lives. We must reach beyond the counting and notes and pour ourselves out for the music. To honor the music and the composer’s intent, we will study the scores with care, ring with finesse and abandon, baring our souls and breathing life into some very special music, creating a magical, memorable performance for ringers and listener alike. Bring mallets and stand-up books.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 5

Child’s Play Track – Handchime Petting Zoo, Cracking the Code, and All Children Play presented by Venita MacGorman

“Child’s Play” instructional methods for handchime choirs of elementary-aged children. Participants will play the chimes and experience games and exercises that can be used to sequentially teach handchime technique, music reading skills, and ensemble playing.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 3

Handbell Director’s Boot Camp presented by Carolynne and Bill Mathis

It’s a non-stop time of handbell pedagogy. How to teach and inspire your ringers to be the best they can be: how to teach rhythm, musicality, tracking, and handbell techniques, choosing repertoire, score study, rehearsal techniques, assimilating new ringers — all these subjects and more will be covered. Bring your mallets, gloves, and a notebook.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 5

Intermediate Ringing under the direction of Michèle Sharik

In this track, we’ll explore a variety of musical styles and work on techniques to maximize our potential for beautiful phrasing and interpretation. There’s no performance, so no pressure — just learning!

Number of Sessions for this Class: 5

Musicality through Motion Language presented by Kimberlee Strepka

Olympic athletes use it for increased performance, psychologists use it as a tool for behavioral assessment, the U.S. government uses it to analyze the signatures of war criminals, and the Walt Disney Company uses it to create more expressive cartoon characters. What is this mystery agent? This 3-session ringing track covers the theory and application of Laban Movement Theory to handbell artistry. Session one covers the theory behind the method, while sessions two and three make application of the theory to numerous aspects of handbell artistry. Whether you are a ringer or director you will never look at handbell technique the same way again.

Number of Sessions for this Class: 3

Certification Classes

The Handbell Musicians of America Certification program is a comprehensive curriculum designed to provide training and experience at all levels to handbell musicians. These are the Certification classes being offered at this year’s National Seminar. As these courses fill, priority will be given to those enrolled in the program. If you are not already enrolled and would like to be, go here.

Please note: Many of the Certification Courses require advance purchase of music and materials and/or a video submission before acceptance to the class. Please visit the specific course pages (links provided below within each class description) for complete details about these requirements.

Certification Overview presented by Sharon Schmidt

What is Certification? Why should I be Certified? What do I have to do? If you have these or other questions, join the Certification Program Coordinator for an overview of the program, plus a Q&A session and the opportunity to provide feedback.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Certification Level 1: Conducting presented by Lee Afdahl

For successful completion of Conducting 1, candidates must demonstrate and conduct simple mixed meters, clear beat patterns, and preparatory beats; indicate and conduct various changes in tempo; incorporate and convey the intentional use of the non-conducting hand to indicate various musical elements of the selected composition; demonstrate various subdivisions of the beat as well as the ability to change conducting style to indicate the differences of legato to staccato and vice versa. Candidates should be prepared to conduct portions of one score from memory. This course is a track as each class is sequential and cumulative. Final conducting assessment will be videotaped. Baton and Basic Techniques of Conducting by Kenneth Phillips (Oxford Press) required. This is a 4-class course. Attendance at all sessions is required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 4

Certification Level 1: Handbell Techniques – Test Only presented by Michèle Sharik

This session will offer Handbell Musicians Certification candidates the opportunity to test for Handbell Techniques Level 1. Coursework for this class will be offered through the Virtual Bell Academy in the spring.  Watch the VBA page on Handbellmusicians.org for more information.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Certification Level 1: Music Theory – Test Only presented by Michael Glasgow

Music Theory 1 is part of the requirements for Handbell Musicians of America Level 1 Certification. This is the TESTING PORTION ONLY for those who have taken the course previously and need to re-test, and/or those wishing to attempt to “test out” of Music Theory 1 in order to proceed with Music Theory 2. Please visit certification.handbellmusicians.org to familiarize yourself with the course outline and syllabus. If this is a re-test for you, please bring all previous materials with you. Coursework for this class will be offered through the Virutal Bell Academy in the spring.  Watch the VBA page on Handbellmusicians.org for more information.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 1

Certification Level 2: Arranging and Composing presented by John Behnke

This course examines arranging and composing for handbells or handchimes. Good harmonic progressions, secondary dominant chords, melodic and rhythmic variation, form analysis, melodic tessitura, condensing or expanding an arrangement, creating a miniature arrangement of a pre-existing tune and a miniature original composition. Prerequisite: Certification 3 – Music Theory 3 or permission of instructor. This is a 3-class course. Attendance at all sessions is required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 3

Certification Level 2: Conducting presented by Lee Afdahl

For successful completion for Conducting 2, candidates must demonstrate and conduct a variety of compound meters and simple mixed meters; indicate and conduct various changes in tempo, incorporate and convey the intentional use of the non-conducting hand to indicate various musical elements of the selected composition, demonstrate various subdivision of the beat as well as the ability to change conducting style to indicate the differences of legato to staccato and vice versa, and discuss the form of the composition and possess an understanding of its structure. Candidates should be prepared to conduct one complete score from memory. This course is a track as each class is sequential and cumulative. FInal conducting assessment will be videotaped.  Baton required. Prerequisite: Conducting 1.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 4

Certification Level 2: Handbell Techniques presented by Michèle Sharik

Handbell Techniques 2 examines basic multiple-instrument handbell and handchime ringing (comonly known as “weaving”) and damping techniques , as well as handbell and handchime articulation techniques. Special attention will be given to identifying current and historical notational conventions for the various handbell and handchime articulation techniques, as well as to principles of ergonomics and sound production. Prerequisite: Handbell Techniques 1. This is a 3-class course. Attendance at all sessions is required.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 3

Certification Level 2: Music Theory by Michael Glasgow

This course is part of the requirements for Handbell Musicians of America Level 2 Certification; those seeking certification should plan to attend all sessions. Those seeking certification who wish to attempt to “test out” of Music Theory 2 may attend the fourth session only, though those taking the exam must have already passed the exam for Level 1. Participants should possess a solid knowledge of basic music theory. Pre-registration for Certification is required. Please visit certification.handbellmusicians.org to familiarize yourself with the course outline and syllabus.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 4

Certification: Handbells in Education presented by Margi Zearley

This track of two classes will survey the uses for K–12 using bells/chimes in an educational setting. Participants will create a lesson for each general level of educational settings (K3, 46, 68, 912) after experiencing what a lesson could look like. Knowledge of general music theory, Kodaly, Orff Schulwerk helpful but not necessary.
Number of Sessions for this Class: 2

Handbell Industry Council Showcases

The Handbell Industry Council (HIC) represents handbell manufacturers, retailers, publishers, performing groups, and other individuals and companies that support handbell musicians.

Hear the New 2018 Music from AGEHR Publishing! – AGEHR Publishing

Come and ring through the newest pieces from AGEHR Publishing. Meet some of the composers of the music and receive a huge discount to purchase only from this showcase.

Awesome New Music from Alfred Handbell! – Alfred Publishing

From sacred to secular, from Level 1 to Level 4, Alfred Handbell’s vast musical catalog means that we have the perfect repertoire for your church, school, or community group. Read through our newest offerings, under the baton of Editor Sondra Tucker.

New Music from Beckenhorst Press! – Beckenhorst Press

Join Karen Buckwalter, Sandra Eithun, Mitchell Eithun, William Griffin, Michael Helman, Jason Krug, Robert Lamb, Sondra Tucker, and Sandra Winter as they conduct their own compositions in this showcase of some of the newest handbell releases from Beckenhorst Press.

New Choristers Guild Music for Worship, Community, and School – Chorister’s Guild

Come and be immersed in a variety of new and engaging music from Choristers Guild. We’ll begin with a mini performance by Embellish and then move into the reading session portion of the showcase. Watch for an all-star line-up of VIPS and composers. Maybe you’ll be the lucky winner of one of our prize drawings!

What’s New at From the Top – From the Top Music

We will be reading through From the Top’s 2018 Spring releases. There will be sacred and secular titles with difficulty levels ranging from Level 2 to Level 4.

Music for Worship, Concerts, and Education – GIA Music

Listen to concert selections performed by Embellish then read/ring through a variety of music for worship and for school.

What’s New in Solo/Small Ensemble Works! – Heitz Handbells & Music

Join your fellow attendees in learning about new solos, belltree works, and small ensembles. Work through music, gain new ideas, win a drawing, and eat some chocolate. Above all, have fun!!

Dave’s Picks! – Hope Publishing

David Weck will share his favorite selections chosen from 40+ years of publishing handbell music!

Jeffers New Music Reading Session – Jeffers Handbell Supply

Reading session of new releases

Lorenz Publishing and SoundForth presented by Michael Helman and Alan Lohr – Lorenz Publishing

Join us as we ring through the newest handbell titles from Lorenz and SoundForth. Led by editors Michael Helman and Alan Lohr, you will ring music in levels 1, 2, and 3 appropriate for festival repertoire and for all your worship needs. Music by Michael, Alan, and other top handbell composers will be featured with several of these fine composers likely to make an appearance to conduct their own work!

What’s New at Schulmerich – Schulmerich Bells

New products being developed at Schulmerich

España 2019!  A Festival of Ringing in Spain – Witte Tours and Travel

Join Artistic Director Debbie Rice and Tour Host/Coordinator Keith Cole as we share plans for the 4th Biennial International Handbell Festival, which will take place in Spain. Spanish tapas will be served!

National Seminar recharges my batteries like nothing else. It is always one of the highlights of my year! Michael Joy

News & Announcements

Registration for those who pre-registered will open February 1.

General Registration for Nat'l Seminar, Master Class, and Distinctly Teen will open February 15.

Event Schedules

General Event Schedule
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday

Pre-registration is required for all Seminar classes. To help you plan which classes you wish to take before completing the online registration process, you may download and fill out the following Personal Event Schedule Planner.

DOWNLOAD PERSONAL EVENT SCHEDULE PLANNER

DOWNLOAD DISTINCTLY TEEN PLANNER