Each year we teach undergraduates to play the carillon and audition them for membership in the Guild. Please contact the Heeler Monster if you would like to join.
What is a carillon?
A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 bells (we have 54 here at Yale), tuned in chromatic sequence. It is played from a console that resembles a simple organ, with batons (for the hands) and pedals (for the feet). These keys move the clappers (metal balls) that strike and sound the bells, which remain stationary. This set-up allows the carillonneur to play with great dynamic expression. Find out more about the Yale Memorial Carillon.
What is the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs?
The Guild is the student organization responsible for ringing the bells in Harkness Tower. It is a self-perpetuating group: each fall, current members give lessons to incoming freshmen, sophomores, and first-year and second-year graduate students (note: first-year graduate students must be enrolled in a program with a duration longer than 2 years, and second-year graduate students must have at least 2 more years to go in their program) on the practice carillon, and, after auditions, elect new members to the Guild.
Who can join?
All Yale freshmen and sophomores are invited to try out. First-year graduate students, especially those studying music, are also encouraged to audition. Most successful candidates have some previous musical training on another instrument, often piano or organ. As with most musical groups at Yale, you do not have to be a music major to join!
How can I join?
Come to one of the introductory meetings inside Harkness Tower (meet outside the tower). Your first of nine lessons will start the following week, and you will be given access to the practice instrument in the Tower so you can practice between lessons. Over the nine weeks of lessons, your teacher will show you basic manual and pedal technique on the practice keyboard, help you choose something simple to play on the real carillon, and prepare you for your audition, which will be held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Break.
Want more information?
Explore our website or e-mail our Heeler Monster, Jonathan Shao.