My previous post mentioned how we use baritone ukuleles in open “C” tuning to quickly play songs. There is another thing you can do with the same set of music. We have a set of tone chimes. These can be used individually to play melodic lines, but we also like to use them in groups to play chords.
By assigning a different color to each chord, the kids can quickly know what chord they are playing. Currently, our chimes have a red piece of tape on the “C chord” notes, a yellow piece of tape on the “F chord” notes, and a blue piece of tape on the “G chord” notes. In our setup, I tell the kids holding “red” chimes that they only play on the C chords in the music. The “yellow”chimes only play on the F chords, and the “blue” chimes only play on the G chords.
The kids catch on pretty quickly, especially when the groups are separated into distinct areas of the room. It is also very helpful for the director to be very overt with gesturing to the group that is supposed to be chiming at any given moment. The chimes can be used to chord a song alone while someone sings the song's melody, and they may be used at the same time as the baritone uku’s on the same piece of music. As the kids advance, the chimes can also be used to play the melody of a song. They are a very versatile tool to have one's ministry.