Lesson 17

Listen for Bells

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Hello, and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we are going to learn a song called "Listen for Bells."
But first, a true story for you.

Many centuries ago in Europe, before people had watches, or clocks,
or iphones to tell time, there would often be, near the center of town,
a church with a steeple. A steeple is just a pointy tower on a church,
and that steeple would have bells that would ring
to tell everyone in town what time it was. If it was three o'clock,
you would hear three bongs of the bells. Or six o'clock, six bongs.
So, as I play "Listen for Bells" for you, try and imagine
that you're living in a little town with a church, hundreds of years ago,
trying to tell what time it is.

"Listen for bells in the steeple to ring.
Ding ding ding, ding ding ding, ding ding ding ding."

All right, let's learn how to play "Listen for bells."
First, we need to know if the song starts low or high.
I'll sing the first few notes, and I want you to tell me if the notes are low or high.
Here goes: Buh buh buh buh buh buh. Was the first note low or high?
That's right, it had three notes down low. Can you show me with your hands?
Let's do it together. Sing it with me: Buh buh buh buh buh buh.
Then what do you hear next? Buh buh buh. The next three notes go up high.
Let's try it together: Buh buh buh. Good listening.

Now, let's skip to the end of the song. See if you can show me, with your hands,
how these last four notes are moving. The last for notes are: buh buh buh buh.
Show me, with your hands, what the notes did. If you did this: buh buh buh buh,
you're correct. Now let's sing the whole song together,
and pretend that we have bells in our hands. And we'll ring the bells
low for the low notes and high for the high notes.
There will actually be some notes in the middle too, right here.
Okay, here we go. Sing along with me, and ring your bells, low or high. Ready go:

Listen for bells in the steeple to ring,
ding ding ding, ding ding ding, ding ding ding ding."

Great, let's sing it one more time, this time with solfege and hand signs.
This song uses skipping notes, just like "Frog in the Middle."
We only need DO, MI, and SO. So let's try singing it together
with solfege and hand signs. We start on DO. Ready, go:
Okay, please hold up your right hand like me. Remember, for "Listen for Bells,"
we're only using DO, MI, and SO. Can you wiggle your finger that plays DO?
If you wiggled your finger number one, you're correct.
We have DO, then MI here on finger three, and then SO will be here on finger five.
I'll sing a pattern by myself, then you sing it back to me and move your fingers.
My turn first: DO DO DO SO SO SO. Your turn.
Good. My turn again. DO DO DO SO. Your turn to sing and move your fingers.
Good. You'll notice, so far, we're just going back and forth between DO and SO.
But now we get to a part where we're going to be skipping down like this:
SO MI DO SO MI DO. Your turn.
Good. So we do that pattern of skipping down twice: SO MI DO, SO MI DO.
Then it ends with three high SO's in a row: SO SO SO DO.
Finishing with one last DO. Now your turn to try it. Go.

Good. Now let's come to the piano keys and try it on the piano.
We're going to learn Listen for Bells in the D Major pentascale.
So DO will be on D. MI will be on this F sharp, played by finger three.
SO will be up here on A, played by finger five.
We won't need a RE or a FA for this song, but those fingers will still just hang out.
So here's DO, MI, and SO. Lets place your right hand in the D Major pentascale.
I'll play a part of the song first, then you play it back. My turn first:
DO DO DO SO SO SO. Your turn.
Good, my turn again. DO DO DO SO. Sing and play, go.
Good, my turn again. SO MI DO SO MI DO. Your turn.
Good. SO SO SO DO. Your turn.

Good, now let's try the whole song with words. If you're ready to try it with me,
you can, but if you want to just watch once, that's fine too.
We're going to try it with the lyrics now––play and sing. Ready, go:

"Listen for bells in the steeple to ring,
Ding Ding Ding, Ding Ding Ding, Ding Ding Ding Ding."

Since this song uses finger five a lot,
I'd like you to notice how finger five is supposed to play.
Please don't play with a flat pinky like this, because that collapses the whole hand.
You want the pinky to play near its tip, like this. And your pinky––
if it feels like a weak finger––you can use the weight of your hand,
and kind of the bounciness of your wrist to help that note go down.
Like this: "Listen for bells in the..."

Another thing I'd like you to remember about this song
is t ...