Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Songs

I have several other posts about Mother's Day, but this year I think I am thinking of "I Often Go Walking".  I think it's the song I loved to sing to my Mom when I was in primary and it's the one I always want to hear them sing to me.  What are you having your kids sing this year?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting Blown Away

I have to admit this wasn't my idea but I just loved it!  A friend in another ward was directing a stake primary choir.  She was trying to inspire them to sing loud enough to fill the chapel.  She told them she wanted them to blow her away.  So when the kids began to sing she acted like she felt a breeze, and as they sang louder she acted like she was being blown by a very strong wind.  The wind blew her down the aisle and out the back door.  She was very theatrical how she did it and the kids sang their hearts out for her.  I wish I had pictures!!!!!  You could definitely do this in the primary room too!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The trouble with only singing program that you don't know any songs.

Today I was going through my files looking through old things and organizing visual aids.  I didn't realize how much I had, but after 4 years it kind of makes sense.  I found a list of songs from 2008 when I was first put in.  There were about 15 songs on it that the kids in primary knew.  Mostly they were program songs, but there was also the snowman song, a birthday song and Hello!  They really didn't know any songs!  They had had four leaders over the previous year who spent the whole 15-20 minutes every Sunday only teaching and reviewing program songs.  There was no continuity.  These children didn't know core songs, or even the program songs from the previous year!  I went through the list today and highlighted all the songs they knew. 


These are songs that they can sing well, without visual aids, at anytime.  This is probably about what a primary should be able to sing, but for this primary it's a huge step!  I am so proud of these children and all their hard work learning songs!
The trouble with only singing program songs is that ultimately the kids don't know any songs.  In order for them to truly learn a song, you have to sing it well beyond the program and keep singing them into the next year.  I know it's hard.  It takes a lot of planning, and even with good planning sometimes songs fall through the cracks.  But consider this, a song taught once, and reviewed periodically, doesn't have to be retaught.  The younger kids learn it by hearing the older ones sing it.  And that's how favorites and classics are made, and gospel principles are retained.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stump the Chorister

It's been a while since I thought of a new game.  I've been doing this a long time.  I had an idea that since I have been chorister multiple times and spent my childhood in primary I know a lot of songs.  I decided to make a game of it.
After choosing a child, they could come up to the front and look through the songbook.  They had 10 seconds to choose a song.  They read me the title.  If I could sing the song on the spot with just the title I got to pick the song (in this case we reviewed As a Child of God).  If I didn't know the song, they could pick what we sang. 
It turned out to be lots of fun.  The kids all wanted to see if they could stump me, and sometimes they did.  I couldn't sing "The World is so Lovely" or "We are Different", but I knew "Hum your favorite Hymn" and "Family History, I am doing it".  It was fun for me and for them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Theme "Choose the Right" and some random thoughts.

As outlined:

January - As a Child of God
February - Choose the Right (Hymn 239)
March - Stand for the Right
April - Choice (Jesus Christ teaches me to choose the right)
May - When I am Baptized
June - Nephi's Courage
July - The Wise Man or a song of your choice (I choose the right by living Gospel Principles)
August - I'm trying to be like Jesus

I am really excited about this year's songs! 
We already know Stand for the Right, The Wise Man, I'm trying to be like Jesus and Nephi's Courage.  This really simplifies things and gives more time to teach the other songs. 
Think ahead to the program.  You have at least 9 months to get ready but it's not too soon to be thinking about it! 

Some ideas to think about:

You can have a solo in the program, a class or a handpicked group of children to sing one of the songs.  This adds variety to the program and is really nice.  You can think now of which song you could do this with, or you could save the selection for a song that your primary is struggling to learn.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, a group of children just aren't learning the song - despite all your efforts.  Don't keep struggling with it, let it go.  It will still be in the program, and still be beautiful, but you don't have to beat yourself up about it, assign it to a group or as a solo.

You can also add in musical accompaniment.  Include a violin, oboe or another approved instrument in one of the songs.  Every ward has musical talent!  You can ask a child who plays the piano to accompany or to play a verse of a song before the primary begins to sing.   (Be sure to give them plenty of time to practice!)

Ask a family to sing one of the songs.  I have often thought how beautiful it would be to have a family sing.  Parents and children together. 

In the months where you choose the songs, look through the sharing time ideas.  There are often suggested songs to use during sharing time that work perfectly for the theme.  You can also look in the topical index in the back of the songbook and hymnal for songs that work with that theme.

Check out pages 26-29 in this year's Sharing Time Outline.  There are instructions for how to use music in primary and ideas to help teach songs, and teach the gospel through music. 

I bought the Clive Romney CD at Deseret Book of this year's songs.  I was surprised to find a snare drum in the chorus of Choose the Right.  I know it would never work in Sacrament Meeting, but it would be really fun one Sunday in singing time!  (with permission of course)