This is my fourth year of teaching chime choir at Highland Elementary. It’s been a rough road, but we did manage to get a choir together, and each year it seems to grow a little bit.
This is one of my groups at their spring concert last year.
I love handbells and love teaching music. I wish I could do it MORE. I tried this year to get a group going at a local charter school where they have up to 9th grade, but I didn’t do a good enough job of sharing my vision, and I only had one student sign up. Rather than thinking of myself as a failure, I’m going to consider that a tender mercy. Now I don’t have to haul chimes back and forth from one school to the next, and I can really enjoy my work with my elementary school kids. Yes, it would be really nice to teach an older group, but perhaps now, with all my church duties, wasn’t the best time to start that.
This is how they look when we practice. We set up quilts on the tables, the chimes on top of the quilts. Because kids at this school have two different start times, I have one choir that comes at 7 am, and one that comes at 8. Strangely enough, the 7:00 kids are there early, excited to see if they can set up the chimes before I get there. Really. The 8:00 kids come late, wandering in between 5-10 after 8. And my early group has 14 kids, while the later group is struggling at only 7 (which is really not enough to play all the notes, but we’ll make it work).
I try to make it fun, and today we talked about how playing chimes WAKES UP your brain. How you are using your hands, arms, eyes, ears, fingers, and brain ALL at the same time, and your brain has to WAKE up and get energized and if you wake up your brain by playing music in the morning, you will be SMARTER, and your brain will be more awake all day. No, they did not ask for scientific evidence, which is a good thing, cause I don’t have any.
One little girl, who is new, and who was 20 minutes late today, said, “Can’t we keep playing? There’s 15 minutes until school starts, we could just play more.” I told her she lost those 15 minutes by being late and she should be on time next time (rude, aren’t I?). As she packed up her backpack, she said, “I wish we had chime choir EVERY day.” Ooohhh.
THAT is why I do it. That is my paycheck. That is why I drag myself to the school by 7 twice a week.