It's good to have 1 set of bells for every 1-2 students you're working with. Learn more about the ideal setup and more affordable alternatives below
Having a set of C Major Deskbells for every student is an ideal setup, but not always achievable.
Here we'll discuss the benefits of having individual sets, as well as effective alternatives.
Deskbells for Every Student (or 1-2 students)
Having a set of bells for each child/student can also help to minimize competitive and increase ownership over the instrument, but that's really for parents & teachers to decide based on their budget and their students.
One thing to please please please avoid --- if you're trying to "split up the bells" among two or more students, make sure you're limiting your note choices to the ones in the song/activity. A lot of the curriculum focuses on 1 - 3 notes at a time and it will hurt your students musical development if other notes outside that group are being played.
Affordable Alternatives for Mixed Age Groups, Teachers on the Go, etc.
We fully understand that tons of families and classrooms are working with a limited amount of instruments, and so Prodigies has plenty of non-bell playing activities throughout the curriculum.
Below are a couple affordable alternatives to purchasing the bells!
1) Use the Solfege Hand Signs
The hand-signs provide an instrument free way to use the Prodigies Playground. If you go entirely sans bells, it makes a lot of sense to start with PsP Melodies, and then once you’ve completed the first 5 or 6, dip back into the core curriculum (Preschool Prodigies, then Primary Prodigies). You can easily substitute all of the bell actions for hand signs.
2) Free Bells App
We also have an iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire Kids Bell app for Free that gives mobile users a super cheap alternative to the bells. It’s obviously not the same as playing a real instrument, but the colors and sounds match up perfectly with the videos, and it’s certainly a lot more affordable than the physical bells.
We do offer a case of 12 bells where the 12th is essentially free. This is the bulk option we offer to classrooms and schools or anyone looking for bells for re-sale.
Though we don’t sell these directly in our store, the C Major Diatonic Boomwhackers are another affordable alternative to the bells. It is not easy to play lots of fast notes or songs with the Boomwhackers, but for groups who split up the instruments or someone looking for a more affordable alternative, these are very popular and lots of fun.
5) Get Parents to Purchase the Instruments
Many schools have the parents purchase the instruments as part of their children being enrolled in the music program. This sometimes looks more like fund raising (help us buy new instruments for our classroom) and other times it looks more like an upfront cost or rental (built-in sign up fee and/or the bells are yours at the end of the year).