All By Myself! How do I practice?

Handbell musicians face a special conundrum when it comes to personal practice. Few of us own our own bells and it’s a challenge to go to where our bells our stored, haul out tables and foam and practice our 2 notes for a few hours. Hmmm . . . how do we make this exciting and sufficiently compelling to look at our score between rehearsals?

Understanding My Part. Carlos Avila, a very accomplished professional percussionist, said “I’m a better musician because I play handbells”. How true! If we erase everything except your part . . . OMG, every composition becomes a level 18 piece! If we take the time to look at rhythmic complexity on our own between rehearsals, we  build confidence.

Score marking. There’s a false sense that only rank beginners mark their score. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The best handbell musicians mark their score so they are ready for challenges. In the  beginning it might be crucial to mark every time a bell is exchanged, but  even advanced musicians mark so that they will successfully ring smoothly. One of the greatest tools for building personal success is a pencil.

Listening. We are more than 2-note musicians. We are artists who are fitting into the larger who of the handbell orchestra in order to create a soaringly glorious moment of music. If the music is in our mind, it is easier to know how to fit into the whole. And, (this one is a biggie for your director) your confidence in looking up will increase many times over.

Patience. Most of us work hardest when we believe we are trusted and valued. Those who practice are always in that category. Be patient with difficult passages. Slow down and figure out what is daunting and how to solve those issues and then work through slowly enough to succeed. When frustration rises, walk away. When we return to a challenge with fresh eyes, more things are possible. Great music making, like fine wine, takes time. Give the tough parts your devotion every day with care and commitment. You will get where you are going if you go there with patience.

Coppers Classic will offer a community email digest so you can work on setting up local practice sessions. That will help so that  you won’t necessarily always need to practice “all by yourself”, but know that you can.

By the way, “All By Myself” is a song. I thought you might enjoy this rendition by 17 year old pianist Emily Bear combining Rachmaninoff with the song.

See you in October.

Earn $5

bellCoppers Classic is proud to be composed of members of Handbell Musicians of America.

Did you know that when you invite a colleague to join and they mention your name in their registration, you get $5 in “handbell bucks”?! That’s right.

Every time your name gets mentioned, $5 is added to your account.

You can use those bucks to reduce your costs for things like your membership renewal or National Seminar or other National events. Pretty wonderful.

Pass the good word!

What we Love.

Coppers Classic was founded with the idea in mind that, if coppers (intermediate) level handbell musicians who love the instrument and who are willing to work hard are given the right environment and guidance, the musical and personal results will be astounding. Since most handbell musicians ring with ensembles with a wide range of experience and skills, it is an entirely new experience to spend 3 days with equally skilled, remarkably motivated and passionate handbell musicians.

Looking at the repertoire list, many musicians have been known to comment “What was I thinking?!” or “How can I possibly accomplish that?!!” Invariably the passion and hard work each musician brings pays huge rewards. Cheryl Zents of Half Moon Bay, CA wrote, “Thank you for one of the most memorable experiences of my life! I enjoyed the whole week-end, but as the concert progressed, I felt more and more emotional, like my heart was full to overflowing.”

Our 2018 repertoire list is shaping up.  The final list will be posted by the end of June.  Meanwhile, please take a look at the compositions we’ve tackled the first three years.  Some great stuff and more great on the way!