I use them frequently at group lessons and during camps, but I wanted to try and use them more and possibly incorporate them in regular weekly lessons. The biggest problem, as you can imagine, was adding another thing to a very tight lesson time.
So, I tried something quick. I had my 4 year old student pick a couple of bells in her favorite colors - red and purple - and asked her to play them and then try to find which key on the piano matched the note she heard. It was a bit of an impromptu ear training session!
It required quite a bit of my help, but she started to catch on.
I wanted to try something easier for her, so I had her play both bells, one at a time, and try to figure out which pitch was higher. She was much more successful at that! In fact, we did that one quite a few times!
It took less than 5 minutes, which is good for lesson planning (and for the attention span of 4 year olds!), it added another way to work on ear training, and the handbells will get used more. A win-win in my book!