TEACHING Piano Adventures®

Bells of Great Britain

Lesson Book page 59

let's get started

  1. Listen to the bells! (Play the piece for the student.)
  2. Let's pretend we're ringing bells! Use big gestures for loud bells, small gestures for soft bells, and big, slow circles for the dotted half notes. (Demonstrate.) (See video)
  3. When the bells move higher, do they get louder or softer? Prepare the RH moves (gentle lifts) in Mm. 9-11.
  4. Listen to these bells again while I use the pedal. (Mm. 9-12) How would you describe the sound?
  5. Bells from many churches often ring at the same time. Keep the pedal down through the whole piece and hear all the bells ring. Hold and listen at the end.
The piano's special effects can be thrilling!

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Big rhythmic gestures help the student internalize the rhythm.

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Technique & Artistry

p. 29 Peaceful Sunset


p. 28-29 Trumpet Song

pedagogy pointers

There are several new elements that make this piece special. Not only does the right hand play harmonic thirds, but the last third is connected by a double tie while the left hand plays softly on the "tied" notes.

Students love to use the pedal, and holding the damper pedal down throughout this piece creates the ringing sonorities associated with bells. When the right-hand thirds move higher in each measure and begin to fade in the distance, the richness of the sounds is truly pianistic. You might even try that left-hand fifth an octave lower!

Presenting this piece using big rhythmic motions (as in the video) is an ideal way to help ensure that the student experiences the relative lengths of different note values and the change of energy used to make louder and softer sounds.

accompaniments on disk

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see it in action

Teaching Video 56

Patrick really rings those bells! The loud bells need big motions, the dotted half notes swing a full circle, and the soft bells are played with restraint. Not only does this prepare the sound of the piece, but it also translates the musical concepts into full body motions, the best way to help Patrick internalize the melody, rhythm, and dynamics. His own keyboard performance demonstrates that he has internalized these concepts.

There are graceful "rainbows" when Patrick moves to the higher octaves, and he listens carefully as the last tones die away. Beautiful bells!

Ask Yourself

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