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.


  1. It's so true! I'm looking forward to teaching/reviewing songs most of our kids already know for this year's program so that there's lots more time to learn the other great songs they should be familiar with.

  2. I think one of the problems too is that if you get a new chorister every year SHE doesn't know the previous years songs. This happened to me and sadly I didn't learn them and continue to sing them with the kids. I hate just singing program songs. There are so many good core songs to sing in the songbook.I didn't know any better but I sure do now! I really hope I get to stay in a long time so I can see 4 yrs. of results. If not I want to train the new chorister. I always use the opening exercises to use songs we need to review. Thanks for the advice. I really needed it.

  3. I really love your thoughts and comments! This hits home for me! Thanks for sharing.

    p.s. my eyes go really weird after reading your posts from the bright colors against a black background. Don't know if this affects anyone else, but just wanted you to know it's hard to read. (It's not my intentions to sound rude or anything, but if my blog was hard to read, I would wish someone would be kind enough to tell me :)
    Happy singing! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!! From one chorister to another.

  4. I totally agree with the need to continue to sing "other" songs throughout the year to retain them. I like to use them for opening & closing songs. I also will add them to singing time when we have "pick & choose" type of activities. I've learned that the kids really DO like singing the older program songs. We sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" this last week. Several kids from the Sr. Primary commented on how they loved that song & missed singing it. I'll definitely be putting it on the monthly schedule more:)

  5. I have only been in my calling for about 4 months so I came in not certain what the kids knew. I was sad to see that they know NONE of my favorite from when I was young. I came in right before the program we didn't do it until Nov) so that is all we focused on for months. It's been fun to try some new songs now that there's isn't the pressure to get program songs polished up.

  6. I have been the chorister in two different wards for a total of about 10 years. One thing that i have done when I have been released is to make sure I give a list to whoever takes over for me. I too use them for opening and closing songs and almost always have a few favorites added in every week.