Festival Conference/Workshop Class Descriptions

- Published composer since 1991 with over 200 works in print with 22 publishers

- Director of Music at churches since 1974

- Handbell director since 1989

An experienced clinician, Susan has taught classes ranging from basic techniques to composition at workshops and Guild festival conferences. She is available for large or small events and can design classes to fit your needs.

Adding Chimes and “Alternate Bells” to Handbell Music

Learn about alternate bells from the person who coined the phrase!  Explore ways to add chimes and/or alternate bells to existing handbell music.  Understanding alternate bells, their differences, unique timbres, and effective ways to incorporate them into a piece.  Discover how to select regular handbell music that best lends itself to the addition of these instruments.


Interested in handbell composition or arranging?  This class focuses on the composition process, composition techniques, resources, notation unique to bells, publishing, and manuscript preparation, while discovering the joys and challenges of writing specifically for handbells. 

Private Coaching in Composing/Arranging

If you are a budding composer/arranger and would like some assistance with, or feedback on your compositions you may schedule a private coaching session with Susan.  Issues covered may include, but are not limited to:  the composition process; critique of, or suggestions for your piece(s); publishing; and manuscript preparation.  Coaching sessions are offered privately with her in NJ also. 

A "Living" History of Bells

An exciting “hands-on” class where students will be able to see, hear and play antique handbells including many rare and unique specimens from the composer’s collection.  Participants will ring music on different instruments to compare/contrast them to modern bells.

Recycling Handbell Music 

Tired of the music in your library?  Recycle it and expand your library at the same time!  Learn how to take music originally scored for handbells and adapt it by adding an instrumental solo, percussion or transform it into a handbell solo with keyboard accompaniment.  Enhance music by adding processionals, ostinato, and bell trees. Tap resources by using simple instruments commonly on hand and the instrumentalists in your congregation.

Adding Bells to Hymns and Choral Anthems

Learn how to enhance choral anthems, hymns or solos with bells and instruments using easy, but effective patterns and techniques.

Basic Music Theory

Very basic music theory class for beginning study including building intervals, scales and triads.  Basic score analysis including:  determining key, form, harmonic progressions, thematic material, identifying melody & counter melody lines.  Must be able to read notes.

Handbell Activities for Young Children

“Kid tested/director approved” handbell activities designed for pre-schoolers through elementary school aged children.  Employs methods that have been successful with children as young as 4 years old.

Handbells/Handchimes... they’re not just for anthems anymore!

Learn how to incorporate bells or chimes in the church service using processionals, bell trees, ostinatos for introits, intoning, enhancing hymns or liturgical music, postludes, and easy tips for holiday services.  Examine resources currently available for the handbell director.

Score Study

Ever wonder what makes a piece of music tick?  This class addresses such issues as analysis, musicality, rehearsal preparation, identifying trouble spots, rhythm problems, and how to tailor make exercises specific to a piece.  Basic knowledge of music theory is assumed. 

Other classes include: 



Stopped Techniques

Beginning Finale

Event Planning