tibetan bell on black backgorund

In this moment, mindfulness practice is more important than ever. This simple and relaxing daily exercise uses the breath as the touchstone to reduce Stress and Anxiety in the lives of students and teachers.

The 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell is designed to weave mindfulness practice into the daily fabric of your school in a way that is simple and without fuss. Today:

*3,000 students in 7 schools listen daily to the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell following lunch and recess

*79% of students say it helps them feel more calm and focused (surveys 2018, 2019)

*55% of students do the breathing Practice beyond school

So … what is the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell?

The 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell package has two parts:


RECORDING of MUSIC – designed for broadcast throughout the entire school to meet the needed transition from noisy environments to the calmness of the classroom.


CLASSROOM TUTORIAL VIDEO – supports the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell recording and introduces the classroom expectations for students and teachers.


RECORDING   The 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell consists of a collection of original musical pieces with spoken instruction – intended for broadcast throughout the school or on a laptop in individual classrooms.

What do the students hear?   Each 2-minute piece begins with a single strike on the Tibetan bowl followed by 8 seconds of silence during which students put aside work.

Students then hear “We breathe in…..We breathe out…..” spoken four times to the natural rhythm of the breath.

This is followed by soft harp music played at the same tempo as the spoken word (60 beats per minute) to align continued breathing.

Each piece concludes with a final “We breathe in…..We breathe out…..” and a strike on the Tibetan bowl – signaling a return to classroom work.

When is this used?   At appropriate times during the school day – especially following times of transition, such as lunch or recess.

Please listen to the audio sample from the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell



CLASSROOM TUTORIAL VIDEO: This 8-minute video is designed for two audiences:

1. For teachers   The video introduces the concept of the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell. It is important that  teachers not see this as “one more thing we have to do” but as a positive contribution to their classroom work. It truly is simple and without fuss and teachers’ understanding and participation is key to model mindfulness for their students.

2. For students   The video is used in the classroom as the initial introduction to the expectations. As there will be questions from the students, the video answers those most frequently asked. The Q&A format is based on many introductory talks I have given in schools.

It is highly recommended that this video be used for new and substitute teachers and as a reminder to students at the beginning of each school year– in order to make Mindfulness a daily Practice in the school.

Please see the article “Something to think about: Mindfulness in schools changes focus, learning and brings calmness” as published in The Review Newspaper.


Kindergarten:    “Students respond very well to the routine and regular breathing. Good reminder to pause and breathe”. “Even my little ones look forward to the recording each day”.

Grade One & Two:    “Very broad range of levels of engagement, distractibility and excitability; but overall beneficial”.

Grade Two-Three & Three:    “Really helpful to settle and calm after recess”.

Grade Four-Five (core):    “I notice a difference in focus after ‘the Bells’. Would be happy to try this again in September”.

Grade Five:    “In the past, I would turn lights off, read to them, etc. just to calm them down. I always found the students very ‘wound up’ after our Wellness Break. I now enjoy the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell and find it provides a moment of silence. All the students know what is expected of them. Thank you, Ian”.

Grade Five-Six:     “As a re-enforcement – a gong/bell in the classroom as an attention grabber would be something I’d add to next year’s routine”. “The experience has been positive!”

Grade Eight:    “Ian, I am a big supporter of your work. In a world that has to see concrete results sometimes the effects of what you are doing works within the individual and is not always outwardly obvious. Thank you for helping to make the lives of the students better”.

From a parent:    “My son really likes the Mindfulness and I think it’s really good for him. I’ve noticed a change since the March Break. He is less impatient and irritable. So happy to see the change”.


In response to the question “Did the Bells and music help to make you more calm?

79% responded YES,     11% responded NO,     8% responded NOT SURE

I like when we do it (listen to the bells) because it calms me down”“I like the music because I feel like it helps me use my imagination”.“When I hear it I feel good. The bells are the best part of my day”.A comment from one student: “ahh, I needed that”.

55% of kids report using the breathing techniques beyond school time.

Schools in both the public and separate boards in Ontario use the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell.

Figures compiled from surveys distributed in 2018 and 2019.

Please see the article “Something to think about: Mindfulness in schools changes focus, learning and brings calmness” as published in The Review Newspaper.


My name is ian hepburn. I live in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. I hold Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music diplomas in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy (A.R.C.T.) and have taught piano and harp privately for more than 45 years. I am one of the founders of the Vankleek Hill Music Festival – a registered non-profit organization of private music teachers in the Vankleek Hill area – now in its 30th year. I am also the originator of the Music & Arts Summer Camp – now in its 20th year.

In 2013, I began work in schools with a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The 2-year grant supported a student enrichment project which introduced students with difficulties to simple harp techniques and improvisation for purposes of relaxation and anxiety reduction.

In 2015, the work was enriched with the introduction of Mindfulness Practice. Instruction has been given to single classes and, in several cases, to entire schools in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

In 2017, I composed, recorded and released the 2-Minute Mindfulness Bell recording. As of January 2020, students in seven schools, with a combined total of 3000 students, listen to the recording several times a day.    

(Please click here  to view a PDF copy of the article from the Spring 2017 issue of CAP Journal – Canadian Association of Principals – “Healing Harp & Restorative Drumming – a Pilot Project at Grenville Elementary School”)

(Please click here to view a PDF copy of the article in the CAP Journal Spring 2019 entitled “Mindfulness: Changing the Culture and Climate of a School”)



the OPENSPACE project
ian hepburn
P.O. Box 731, Vankleek Hill, ON K0B 1R0