New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Kids Play Bell Set
Children love to play instruments and bells are an easy instrument for them to play while they are learning a song.  If you are able to fit it into your Primary budget, get a set of bells.  Kids Play is a popular brand for using with younger children since they are color coded.  If you get the 8-note set, you will only be able to play songs in the key of C.  If you add on the chromatic set of 5, you will be able to play more songs.  You can also add the expanded set of 7 more bells. With all three sets, you'll have almost two octaves, allowing you to play just about any song you will probably sing with your kids  If your budget won't allow for a set, check and see if your stake has a set in the stake library that you can borrow or check with another music leader that you may know who may be willing to lend you the bells.

Pipe Chimes with Color-Coded Ribbon
Another option that is less expensive is to make pipchimes.  They are fairly easy to make and you can find all sorts of instructions on the internet on how to make them.  I would suggest you paint or color-code them with a ribbon to help make it easier for the kids to play. I would also suggest to number them and label them with the note to help you know in what order they go in.

I understand that Hobby Lobby has a bell set; however, they are color-coded differently than the Kids Play version.  My bell charts are color-coded for Kids Play bells.

Click here to download PDF file
Here is the pdf file for the "Stand for the Right" bell chart.  Make sure you download the PDF file and after downloading the PDF file, make sure you open it up in Adobe Reader to print.  You should then have the option to print it out in a poster format with "Tile all pages" under "Page Scaling".  I printed mine out on 16 pages which made it large enough for my wide room, but you can print smaller or larger depending on how big your primary is and how many pages you want to cut and tape together.  I assembled the poster into two sections for easier storage.  I taped the first two rows together for the first half and the last two rows were taped together for the second half of the poster.  You can see this CTR Game post for a little more detail on printing PDFs as posters.  Just make sure you download the PDF and not just copy the picture (jpeg).  A jpeg file does not give you the option to print in a poster format in Adobe Reader as well as the jpeg image will become pixilated when you enlarge the file if you are trying to print from your printer's poster option (if you have that option).  If you print from the PDF file from Adobe Reader, the resolution should remain the same no matter how large you print it.

At the bottom of the chart is a key for which bells are used in the song and the number below each color is how many times that bell is played in the song.  You could give the older kids two of the bells that only play once or twice so they get to play a little more, e.g. give "D" and "Hi D" to a child and "E" and "Hi C" together to another child.  I used the bottom key line of notes to let the kids each play their bell in turn to "warm up". The JR won't always play the song correctly, but, you know what, that is okay; it is a fun learning opportunity for them and they enjoy it.  The SR can follow the chart better and sometimes can surprise you on how they sound.  At the end of the song, I always let the children ring their bells together several times for extra added fun.

If you are able to get your hands on some bells or pipe chimes, take the opportunity to use them in your Primary.  It is a fun activity for the children and gives them exposure to musical instruments. 


  1. Your blog is such a blessing! Thank you for taking the time to share these great ideas.
    I have an old set of pipe chimes and I'd like to color code them to match your charts. Any chance you have a list of what note each color represents?

    1. Laura, I just posted a chart on the blog for you and others. Hope that is what you are looking for.

  2. I am going to use the bells for the first time this Sunday. I have found that you can change some songs into the key of C on Stand for the Right is one of the songs that can be changed into the key of C. Thanks for all of your fun ideas! I was wondering what program you used to make you sign. Did you convert it to a PDF after you made it to get it to print into poster size? Thanks!

    1. Isn't that a wonderful tool that has for changing the key to a song? I've used that a few times. I make the charts in Excel because the columns and rows make it easier to keep things in order, at least for me. You might be able to do it in Word using the table feature. And yes, I do convert the file to a PDF so that I can print a "poster" using the "Tile All" feature under "Page Scaling" during printing from Adobe Reader. Have fun using the bells this Sunday. Your kids will love them. The young ones may not play them when they are supposed to, but they sure have fun making their "music".

  3. Could you please activate the link for this pdf file again? I know it's been a while since you posted it, but it looks like a fun idea to use since the kids know this song really well and we could use a challenge!


  4. It has been reactivated. Sorry, I didn't realize people were still accessing this blog. I'll have to find time to try and update things.