Music Education & Leadership Skills for the Handbell Choir Director by Ashley Danyew

Music Education & Leadership Skills for the Handbell Choir Director

An online training course for church handbell choir directors

You're more than just a handbell choir director.

You're the conductor and maybe the substitute ringer, the organizer and planner, the table-mover and handbell repair-person; but you're also a mentor, cheerleader, spiritual leader, and yes, music educator.
That being said, no one told you you'd have people in your bell choir who can't read music, or someone who can only play C5, or people who can't remember which hand is right and which one is left (true story). 

You're a capable musician, but you weren't expecting to have to teach the basics of music-reading plus all the special techniques that go with handbell-playing to ringers with varying abilities.

Feel like you could use a team of music education experts in each rehearsal?

You're not alone.

You could try learning as you go, tackling challenges one by one as they arise and reading and learning what you can on how to teach this concept or develop that skill... but who has time for that? And where do you even start?

What if there was a way to learn the key skills and teaching strategies you need to direct and lead your handbell choir with confidence?

Instead of feeling frustrated about teaching and directing, you could spend your time and energy enjoying rehearsals and watching your ringers learn and succeed. Your rehearsals would be more intentional and streamlined and you'd feel more confident in your leadership skills and ability to teach effectively.

Welcome to Music Education & Leadership Skills for the Handbell Choir Director

I created this course for you, the handbell choir director juggling all the things.

This course will help you develop valuable teaching skills (tailored to adult learners and informed by three useful educational frameworks) and equip you with the practical tools and skills you need to lead and teach your handbell choir with creativity and confidence.
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You'll Learn How To:

  • Teach important playing technique and ensemble skills
  • Help your ringers develop music-reading (and more specifically, rhythmic-reading) skills
  • Foster the development of musicianship, listening skills, awareness, and musical understanding
  • Evaluate music thoroughly and choose pieces that give your ringers an opportunity to use their skills to overcome challenges
  • Plan effective, engaging rehearsals, week after week
  • Lead your handbell choir with confidence

What's Inside:

  • 16 video lessons, divided into four modules
  • Lifetime 24/7 access to all the course content, from any device
  • Comments feature so you can ask questions, get feedback on your ideas, and interact with others in the course
  • Hands-on activities and projects to put your new skills and knowledge into practice
  • Digital resources, templates, and related course materials
  • Email support: answers to your questions and feedback on your ideas are only an email away!

What directors are saying:

My biggest takeaway: "I can do this if I take it step by step."
"[This course] increased my knowledge and made me more confident . . . . I am learning something every week."
"Good, specific instruction on technique and pedagogy."

Our Course Curriculum

You'll get instant access to all four modules and related course materials.

What others are saying:

"Take the time and explore this little course. It's a great way to step back and rethink rehearsals and what you want for your ringers. It will build confidence."
"The course covers basic music learning theories, and also practical guidance on running a rehearsal, assigning bells, choosing music, and 
encouraging the ringers."

Hi, I'm Ashley Danyew

Church musician and music educator based in Rochester, NY. My mission is to help church musicians and teachers like you lead, teach, and inspire others creatively and confidently.

I have a Ph.D. in Music Education and a Certificate in Arts Leadership from the Eastman School of Music and over 15 years of church music experience, including starting and directing adult, children's, and handbell choirs; accompanying services; planning worship; and overseeing a music program.

I created this course to help you develop and refine your teaching skills so you can lead and direct your handbell choir with confidence and be the best director you can be. 

I'm excited to meet you inside!

What's included:

Video Icon 17 videos File Icon 6 files Text Icon 10 text files
Welcome & Introduction
Welcome Video
3 mins
Module 1: Getting Organized
1.1 Preparing to Play
10 mins
1.2 Handbell Care & Maintenance
6 mins
1.3 How We Learn Music
13 mins
Rhythmic Solfege Tutorial
7 mins
1.4 Leadership Skills for Church Musicians
5 mins
1.5 Activity: 25 Leadership Skills
142 KB
Module 2: What to Teach
2.1 Demonstrating Basic Ringing Technique
7 mins
2.2 Introducing Special Techniques
6 mins
2.3 Activity
2.4 Creating Flow Experiences
4 mins
2.5 Developing Musical Independence
8 mins
PDF: Handbell Notation Guide
126 KB
Module 3: How to Teach
3.1 Teaching Sight-Reading and Music-Reading Skills
8 mins
3.2 Activity: Sight-Reading Exercises
PDF: Sight-Reading Exercises
303 KB
3.3 Teaching Rhythmic-Reading Skills
8 mins
Rhythm Pattern Card Set
3.4 Activity: Rhythmic-Reading Exercises
3.5 Working With Non-Music Readers
7 mins
Module 4: Planning & Preparing
4.1 Choosing Music
9 mins
Handbell Acclamations & Processionals
4.2 Activity: Finding Music
130 KB
4.3 Planning Rehearsals
6 mins
4.4 Leading Rehearsals
5 mins
4.5 Activity: Creating Rehearsal Plans
126 KB
4.6 Working with Children's Handbells & Chimes
6 mins
Bonus Resources
Rhythm Pattern Card Set [Bonus]
Handbells in the Time of COVID-19
A Dozen Budget-Friendly Collections for the Small Handbell Choir [Article]
25 Reproducible Collections for the Small Handbell Choir [Article]
10 Creative Ways to Use Handbells in Worship [Article]

Ready to get started?

I’d love to see you inside the course and help you develop the skills you need to plan, direct, and teach on a weekly basis (and feel confident doing it!).

Enroll Now

What other directors have wondered:

Where is this course taught?

This course is taught exclusively online. Immediately after purchasing, you'll receive an email with details on how to login to a members-only website where you can access the course. Access the content 24/7, wherever you go, from any device. All course content and materials will be delivered in digital format: video lessons, PDF downloads, and web links. Nothing physical will be shipped to you.

How much time does it take to complete?

You can complete the course in as little as 2-3 hours. Each module includes roughly 30 minutes of video and a corresponding project for you to work through on your own.

That being said, the course is completely self-paced, so start whenever you're ready, set a schedule that works for you, and learn at your own pace.

I've already taken one of the other courses in this series; how much of this content is the same?

I touch on a few of the same topics in each course because some parts of music teaching and learning look the same, even if you're working with a different ensemble; however, I've revised and rewritten the content in this course to tailor it specifically to handbell choir directors.

What if I have other questions?

Please feel free to reach out to me directly at I'd be happy to answer your questions!