Friday, November 9, 2012

Memorizing "He Sent His Son" - Singing Time Bells

The first counselor in the bishopric taught Senior Singing Time for me last week so that I could attend the annual special Relief Society Visiting Teaching conference. He said the children knew "He Sent His Son" (the song that I wanted them to work on) quite well, so I debated about what to do this Sunday, since I wanted to spend two weeks on this song, without boring the children. We are singing the song during the Christmas program. I wanted to make sure they knew it very well by early November so that we would have plenty of time to sing other Christmas songs for fun.

So, this is what I am going to do:

In Junior Primary:
I will play the game where children pick which words and pictures on the board to cover, until they are singing the entire song from memory. This is a long song, but it should go by fairly quickly, since the children already worked on the song last week. If we have time, we will then move onto using the bells.

In Senior Primary:
In Senior Primary, I am going straight to the bells. I looked at the song, and it has a nice, easy range that I was able to write onto packing paper that came with something I ordered.

I have used bells twice before in Singing Time, once I used the bells for a Father's Day song, and one previous time, though I can't remember the song for my first attempt at using bells.

Here's what I've learned about using the bells in a way that the children can follow. This may seem obvious but there are a lot of subtle things I had to learn the hard way, in front of the whole primary. Fortunately, the children offered helpful advice as they were trying to figure it out:

1. Write out the words of the song that correspond to the bells so that children can see their bell AND the words of the song. Use a different color for each bell, or some other distinguishing things for children that may be less advanced with reading, or are dyslexic.

2. When you are singing the song with the class, make sure to point to the bell symbol as you sing, so that the child holding the bell knows when to make their ringing tone. Don't assume they can follow the words and music and keep up. Obviously, you need to sing with them, too.

3. Put the words high up, and use a stick to point.

4. Make sure to remind children that if they play with their bells when it's not their turn, they will have their bell taken away. They need to play only when it is their turn to play.

I have had the children come up each time I do this, but I think I will try passing the bells out to the children in their seats. After one try, the children will pass the bell the someone that has not had the opportunity.

5. If I have notes in the song for which I don't have corresponding bells (which happened a few times during this song), I just draw a dash beneath the lyrics.

6. I have the piano play with the bells. It helps the children to know when to sing and to ring the bells, and does not take away from the bells.


  1. Thank you for your time and for posting this! I am going to use it with my kids at home and also my CTR 4 class. I'm hoping they will learn the song better!

    1. How fun to do this with your kids at home as well! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you! I have been looking for a set of those 8 bells. Where did you get yours?

    1. I bought mine off Amazon. I like the Kids Play brand. I initially purchased a different brand from Amazon that was very similar, but the Middle C bell was WAYYY out of tune. I think it was closer to B flat! I contacted the seller, and they refunded me the money. They said it was just a fluke that happens sometimes, but just to be on the safe side, I switched to Kids Play, and couldn't be happier. The original set (8 bells) was around $45-ish but I ended up expanding my bell set with another 8 or so bells because I hated having "missing" bells for the notes that go out of the middle range ...