Playing the piano is easy, right? Well, okay, maybe not, especially after you watch a virtuoso masterfully pull a classical piece out of the instrument.
Of course your answer to that question depends on your experience at the ivory keys. If you have spent many years developing your abilities on the piano, yeah, you might say it’s easy. But if you don’t even know how pick out a tune one note at a time, you might say it’s extremely difficult.
How about this, try lining up a dozen people at the piano and giving them each only 2-4 keys, no more, no less. Now play a song. Even Mozart and Haydn and Bach would struggle to do that!
It’s much easier to play the piano when both of your hands are controlling handfuls of notes at a time than when you have to share it with several other people and only play a few notes at a time.
One of the beautiful things about handbells is the amount of teamwork it requires. It’s the relative equivalent of lining up several people at a piano and giving them each a few keys to plays.
It’s not like an orchestra because in an orchestra you usually have other instruments that can cover up for your mistakes. But a handbell ensemble usually features about a dozen or so soloists who must all play their individual notes at the right time in the right way (oh, and it’s important to play the right notes).
The teamwork aspect is one of my favourite things about handbells. As ringers progress, they can also challenge themselves further by playing in smaller groups.
In a quartet one ringer might be responsible for 5-10 bells, and in a duet a ringer might be responsible for up to 20 bells…or more! Yet a great amount of teamwork is required to fit in with the other ringers at any given time during the song.
Teamwork is extremely important in a local church. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 both compare the church to the human body, describing the church as the body of Christ: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4-5).
Every believer in the body of Christ has abilities that aid the overall ministry of the church, and no two people are alike in what they are able to accomplish. So they must all work together, doing what they do well, so that the body of Christ grows.
One way to teach teamwork in the church is with handbells. It works for children, it works for teens, and it works for adults. Not to mention that it provides a great opportunity for building relationships across ages as people of different levels in life ring together.