I save my handbells as an extra special instrument that only comes into Primary 1-3 times a year. My kids LOVE using them, and it always turns out so amazing and worth the effort, but they’re not the easiest instrument to work with when you have a big group.
To make it so much easier to start using making music with bells more often in Primary, I’ve created a set of music note cards that coordinate with the most popular handbell set colors and notes.
Now, you can just print, cut, and preferably laminate so you can save these Handbells Music Note Cards and use them over and over again!
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How to Make Handbells Music & Bell Charts
If you haven’t given handbells a try in Singing Time yet, they are worth trying! I’ll show you how to get started, and with these music note printable cards, it couldn’t be easier to make your own bell charts!
I used to spend hours in Word creating a custom bell chart for the song I was working on in Primary. It took a ton of time and for space constraints the pages were never very large, which meant my Primary kids had to move up close to the board to more easily follow along.
You can create a hands bells music chart in one of two ways:
1: Melody Line – You can use just one single note, known as the melody, to align with the bells. This is usually the highest note, but not always. It can be helpful to sign through the song and you’ll quickly notice which note stands out as the main note of the song. Then, have the kids ringing handbells whenever their color shows up in order!
**Bonus points if you can name this tune!! Hint: It’s from the Hymn Book but we have an iconic ring that’s based on this song!
Another thing you can look for as a clue is which direction the stem goes! The melody line is towards the end of the stem (not where the stem started) so at the top of the chord of notes if the stem faces up and at the bottom of the stack if the stem is going down.
*Need it even easier – in a pinch you can also use the first (bottom) note on the top line of notes. This is the alto line and will more easily fit within a smaller set of notes. It may feel a little different to sing along with, but the notes are still correct!
When in doubt, start with all the top notes, and then practice through the song once with bells. Did anything sound off to you?
See my post on My Heavenly Father Loves Me Handbells for a complete printable handbell chart for that song! It will give you a great idea how to use handbells and what the rhythm and pace of using them might look like!
2: Chord Charts – If you want even MORE notes played and more helpers, you can play the entire chord! You will need to print more music note cards out to cover all the notes, but the result is amazing! Simply place the 1-3 closely together on the board to cover all of the notes played for each word or part!
Which Handbell Set Should I Get?
Handbells come in a few different sized sets. It can be a little confusing trying to figure out which set you need, since the sales pages on Amazon and even Handbell websites, often are very clear on which set to pick.
No worries, it’s really quite easy! Here’s how it works. First…
What’s a scale? If you don’t play piano (or another instrument) you may not know what a scale is. A scale is a series of keys that are played throughout a song.
Songs are written in scales so you can practice moving between the white and black keys in a consistent manner. Since a song will generally stay in the same scale. When you’ve mastered a particular scale, it makes playing a song in D-Scale, E#-scale, etc much easier by following a similar pattern of which notes to play.
8-Note Handbell Set: The 8 bell set includes 8 different notes on the C-Scale. The C-scale uses only the white keys (with maybe an exception or two) throughout the song. With an 8-note Hand bell set from Amazon, you can play almost all songs written on the base C-scale. This set includes bells for: Middle C, D, E, F, G, A, B, High C.
I highly recommend choosing Merry Bells handbells if you just need the 8-Note set. You can even save 10% off any purchase with the promo code: PrimarySinging!
Merry Bells makes bell charts for 60 different Primary songs using just their set of the 8 core handbell notes!! That covers many of the core songs from the suggested yearly lists.
13-Note Handbell Set: To vastly include the range of songs you’ll be able to play and use in a bells chart, the additional 5 sharps in this set are very helpful for letting you use all the additional scales!
A 13-Note Handbell set will cover MOST of the Primary songs. The set includes Instruments bells for: Middle C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, and High-C.
If you’re looking at that list and thinking it looks like some of the sharps are missing – try to picture a piano keyboard! Remember – not all keys have the black key between them. This set includes ALL the sharp notes!
20-Note Handbell Set: If you want to be able to do just about ANY song, you’ll want the more complete 20-bell set. It includes extra high and extra low notes to give you a more complete range.
A 20-note Hand Bell set includes bells Instruments for: Low-A, Low-A#, Low-B, Middle C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, High-C, High-C#, High-D, High-D#, and High-E. As you can see, there are 3 additional lower notes and 4 additional higher notes that increase the musical range.
How to Use the
Handbell Music Note Cards
The Handbell Music Notes Cards I’ve created that are available in my shop come in 8-note, 13-note, and 20-note so they will work with whatever handbell set you choose.
Note: There are very few files that I sell, but the ones that I feel took a lot of extra effort and are reusable for more than one lesson plan I feel hold a lot of value and help support this website!
Purchases (and the ads you might hate) really help me to be able to provide all the free content you love! It covers hosting, content creation, endless printing test files, and all the other expenses of running a blog. Thank you supporting a small business!
You’ll simply select which set of notes you want to print. The 8-note set is the first series of notes included within the 13-note set. It’s all the non-sharps.
You can then choose to print the larger 2-notes per page or the smaller 4-notes per page version. You’ll want to print several sets of all the notes to help cover you through an entire song.
I highly recommend printing on cardstock, then cutting and laminating! This will help preserve your Handbell Music Note cards and let you use them over and over again!
Get the Handbells Music Note Cards
The Handbells Music Note Cards are available for just $6 through our digital shopping cart. The purchase includes all 3 types of Handbell sets (8-note, 13-note, and 20-note). They are available in half-sheet and 1/4 sheet sized note cards to accommodate your needs.
You’ll also find included a single page contact sheet that can help you when planning and preparing your handbell music charts! Just refer to the musical notes and match the color – it’s as easy as that! The notes outlined with a black border correspond with the black handled Sharp notes!
You can also find a bundle purchase with all 5 sets of our printable cards (dance scarves, ribbon wands, rhythm sticks, egg shakers, and handbells!) for $25.
Items are also available for purchase on my Etsy shop.
Keep in mind — email subscribers can save 15% off any purchase! You can subscribe right in my sidebar to get that promo code and save on your purchase.
What song are you dying to do with these handbell music note cards?