Sunday, August 9, 2009
Celebrating with the Kaybee Bells
This week we completed our first fiscal year. I'm so pleased with my math skillz. Very proud to announce that we didn't end up in the red. Even more pleased with myself because of the huge gamble I took when deciding to only take 10 children on for the first year. Cheers to that!
To celebrate, and with a little of our leftover budget mullah, I decided to splurge and bought the much advertised Kaybee Montessori Bells set. I was skeptical, I confess. (Fingers have fallen off from having been crossed for 2 and a half weeks.) Compared to other bells sets that I've used in the past Gonzagarredi ($750), Nienhuis (I don't know, 1 million dollars?, first born son?) at $450 they seemed a little too "underpriced" (crazy, I know). I'm a sucker for bargains though, I admit it.
The bells arrived neatly packed in a sea of foam peanuts. The complete set of brown, white, and black bells. The bases and stems are made out of wood and painted with a flat finish. The bells themselves are heavy, very shiny, and the bell crowns (?) are rubber. There were 2 mallets in the box, thin wood dowels with rubber balls at the ends (all wood would does produce a nicer sound). The sound of the bells is very clear. They have a precise and lovely sound and they match perfectly with their counterparts (as clearly as my own hearing goes.) And that's the most important thing, considering their purpose.
If you want to be picky though... Montessori people can be like this about materials... especially expensive ones... A couple of the wooden bases have irregularities. Minor things with the paint, or seem slightly warped upwards. No damper comes in the set. And here's the only thing that really irked me. The bells have a tiny number engraved at the top. A quarter inch size number that matches each brown bell with its white or black pair. I guess they thought this would be a good control of error. The problem is, the numbers are obvious. The control of error is too blatant. Other bells I have used had the name of the pitch written or on a sticker on the bottom of the bell. If children wanted to check their work, they could tip up the bell and see if the name of the pitches matched. I don't know if I can cover the number somehow without interrupting the tones.
I am excited about having bells in the classroom though. Numbers or not because music is best. And I'll be so happy hearing those babies ringing in our room all year long!