If I Listen with My Heart: Handbell harmony part

Once you have taught this song in two or three different ways, a fun way to “review” it (without the children knowing it is a review) is to put some handbell harmony with the song as they sing.  Children take turns playing the handbells while the others sing.


It works best if you make a chart with the color of the bell to be played, and then you point to that color when it is time to play that particular bell.

Those children that are not playing the handbells are singing the verse.

Hand bell harmony pattern  (4 different bells)

The hand bells will be played on the words listed below.

G  F#  E   D       (Words of the notes—  I, been, lit-, child,)

G  F# E (faster)     A  G  F# (faster)   (Words of the notes —  Je-, sus, lived, earth-has three notes)

G  F#  E   D       (Words of the notes—    would, liked, walk, Him)

G  F#  E (faster)        A  C  B (faster)  (Words of the notes — lis-, ten, to, words-has three notes)

E  G  Eb  A    (Words of the notes—  as, search, scrip-, I)

D  B     C  Eb  hear, words,  peace)

D  E   E   D   (Words of the notes—   if, lis-, with, heart,)

(faster) C   B            B  A       G  D  G (faster)  (I,  hear, Sav-, ior’s, voice- has three notes)


Here what the poster might look like:



24 Responses

  1. Heidi Dial

    If our ward doesn’t have hand bells, what kind of set do you recommend? I was given a budget this year and would love to get a set.

    • Sharla Dance

      KidsPlay is the brand that has the truest pitch without getting into professional handbells. The children surely love the handbells!

  2. KellyAnne

    I love all your ideas for If I Listen With My Heart. Thank you so much!
    I’m thinking of doing your handbell activity to review as you recommended. Just wanted to clarify– when you say “Hand bell harmony pattern (4 different bells)”, don’t you mean 5 bells? And I think I’ve figured out what you mean, that you’re basically only playing one bell per measure of the song. Correct? But which “C” bell were you intending? High or low “C”? Can’t decide which sounds better.
    Thanks again, I love your ideas for encouraging learning and having fun while singing!

    • Sharla Dance

      Ahhh, you caught me. I actually want as many children participating as possible, so if you have one set of handbells, playing both of the C’s let one more child participate. Thank you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Sherrie, I am making the chart this week, so the picture will be sometime after that. Thanks for asking!

  3. Jane Rogers

    Thank you Sharla! And ladies for your questions. I am excited to use our handbells with this song!

  4. Rocio

    I got the handbells and I will use them today in Primary. I am so excited. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for your ideas, you are a genious! 🙂

  5. Joy Beckstrand

    My handbells do not match the notes of the song with the words you have written. Am I doing something wrong? I redid the words to match my bells and the kids loved them.
    Example: the first G goes with the word “had” instead of “been”
    Am I making sense?

    • Kristina

      Hi Joy! I just saw your question, thought I’d reply. Sharla’s chart is actually using harmonies, so the note the bell will play will not be the one the kids are singing, but rather another note in the chord. See how “I” matches the G in the bass clef, and then “been” matches the F#? It sounds really cool, my Primary kids loved to hear the harmonies!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Joy, I just facetimed with someone last night for 15 minutes about the harmony bell part I posted so that she could understand it. Please let me know if it is still a puzzle for you! It is basically the bass notes of the songs put into bells. Let me know if I can help. Take care, Sharla

  6. Sharla Dance

    Kristina, Thanks for answering this for Joy! If your handbells are these colors (C=red, D=orange, E=yellow, F=green, G=light blue, A=dark blue, B=purple), it is the same handbell set that I have been using. (I know there are a few different ones out there.)

    You can do handbells that match the melody, or handbell sounds that are harmonies to the melody. The If I Listen handbell chart is following the bass line (most of the time) for a harmony. In the future, for Praise to the Man, I will be sending out a chart that has 3 bells ringing at the same time on a chord, the a little of the melody in the middle, and back to chords again. Thank you for asking and helping each other (and me!)

    • Katie

      Hi Sharla,

      Did you post the PTTM bell chart yet? Or are you not planning to anymore. I understand if you’ve moved on. 😉 Life gets busy. Just curious.


    • Cara

      Nannett – This chart is fabulous! Is there any way you could share the actual photoshop file with me? I’d love to make changes to the words so that I can use it with the 3rd verse in my primary.

      • Nannette

        Hi Cara,
        I added two layered .tif files that you can play with in Photoshop. I use them and change the words for songs all the time. One is horizontal and the other vertical.

  7. Mandy

    Handbells seem out of my skill set, but I’m trying to get the gumption up to do it anyway! However, the bell set we have doesn’t come with any sharps. Should I just go forth using the regular F bell?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Mandy, It will sound really off with out the F#. Perhaps someone you know has a tone bell (often schools have those) or a chime (people make those out of pipes) or something with an F#. If nothing else, have the pianist play that note when you point to it on the chart! Note: This harmony part follows the bass line of the song, not the melody.

      Good luck with this. Take care, Sharla

    • Belinda

      I have the same problem with my primary only owning the 8 handbell set with no flats/sharps. This is how I changed the notes in Sharla’s harmony, and what I will be using in my primary.

      GDE AGD
      GDE ACB
      CB BA GDG

      We have a red lower C and pink higher C, so on my chart I made the first C you see pink, the next two red, and the last two pink. Any C would work, but I liked using the different octaves to make it sound a littler better. Hope that helps.
      Thank you for your website, Sharla! I absolutely love it!!!

  8. Jen Bayles

    We’ve done handbells plenty, but doing this harmony was SO much fun! Even the teachers loved it. Way to keep things new and exciting. xoxo

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