We will be singing The Shepherd’s Carol
and Christmas Bells
using the handbells in sacrament meeting on Christmas Eve this year. You can find details on how I use handbells in primary HERE
(details include how I pick my handbell choir, how we rotate playing the handbells during singing time and how I use them in sacrament meeting). Christmas Bells
is an annual repeat so we’ll only be reviewing it the Sunday before Christmas Eve but you can find my lesson plan for it HERE
. You can also find all of my Christmas sing time lesson plan ideas HERE
for more ideas.
To teach The Shepherd’s Carol
, I’ll simply be using the flip chart found HERE
. The 1st go around, I’ll have the kids listen to the piano as I point to the pictures posted on the chalkboard. The second time, I’ll sing it and the 3rd time I’ll ask them to sing it with me if they can. That’s it. The real learning will come when we sing it over and over again using the handbells.
I created a bell chart with the bells playing the base clef (or bottom hand of the piano accompaniment). I’m probably going to have the primary perform without the piano for the first time ever (using the piano as necessary to practice)! Fingers crossed it works!! The bells will be the only musical instrument playing.
I’m planning on my bell choir playing handbell pages 1-3 six times:
- 1st time – completely alone with no singing
- 2nd time – the entire primary will sing the 1st verse
- 3rd time – the entire primary will sing the 2nd verse
- 4th time – half the primary will come in, the other half of the primary will start 5 measures later (the second line of the music singing in a round)
- 5th time – half the primary will come in singing the 2nd verse, the other half of the primary will start 5 measures later on the 2nd verse singing in a round
- 6th time – the later half of the primary will finish the 2nd verse and the bells will play alone the last 5 measures, ending with page 4 of the bell chart.
If you have a bigger primary, try the round with 4 groups and just repeat as many times as you need! I’m going to try to have a primary teacher/presidency member lead each group while I lead the bell choir.
If I need to, I will have the piano bring the groups in by playing the top hand of the 1st line each time. If you are unfamiliar how I make my charts, the little black lines in the lower right hand corner are my counting. They each represent one count. The time signature to this song is 6/8 so count to 3 (or 6 but 3 is easier I think) with each line representing one count.
Also, I don’t have octaves represented. The kids will play all the “D” bells we own and all the “A” bells, etc. It sounds really pretty to have all the octaves played at the same time while also simplifying it. It also gives more kids a chance to play the bells.
This last page is simply to end the bell choir. It’s not written in the accompaniment but it sounds better if you end with this last note, trust me ;). Only play it once, after you have repeated as many times as you need.
Clear as mud? Leave comments with questions! Also, if you see any mistakes PLEASE let me know!!