Playing the Carillon

So you want to play the bells?

To learn, you pick one of two paths: the Decal taught by the Berkeley Carillon Guild, or formal instruction with the University Carillonist. Both options are enriching, but it depends what you want from this experience.

The DeCal

DeCal, short for Democratic Education at Cal, is a process where students can organize courses at UC Berkeley. Each semester, we organize a 1-unit class where anyone can learn to play the carillon. We teach you about the history of the instrument and have you listen and think about different styles of carillon music. We also have 1-on-1 practice sessions each week between you and a Guild member to work on pieces and technique. At the end of the semester, we have a Final Recital where the DeCal students perform for the entire campus!

To apply for the DeCal, see the DeCal website. We require a bit of music experience, including basic sight-reading and knowing some notes and some scales. If you'd like more information, email us at

Music 40 (formal instruction)

To take lessons with the University Carillonist, you can audition for Music 40. Jeff Davis takes about 4 students per year, usually in the fall semester (occasionally in the spring semester, too). He generally expects that once you begin lessons, you will continue as long as you are at UC Berkeley.

This option is a larger commitment than the DeCal option. It is for people who really want to study carillon. If you find yourself truly fascinated by the bells, contact Jeff Davis about auditions. Applicants should have significant musical experience. Of course, you can always talk to us (the Guild) about what it's like! (When you begin lessons with Jeff Davis, you become a member of the Berkeley Carillon Guild.)

Visiting Carillonneur

If you have played the carillon in the past, and would like a tour of the instrument and/or playing time, please contact Jeff Davis or contact us to make arrangements.

Not in Berkeley?

The North American Carillon School offers education for musicians of all skill levels. More information here.