Friday, October 12, 2018

Missionary Work

The theme for this month is missionary work.  "I Want to Be a Missionary Now," p. 168, is a great teaching tool to help the children learn how to be a missionary even at their age.

Begin with the first verse. 

  • Sing the first 2 phrases then ask the children to sing with you.
  • Sing them 3 times
  • Then do the same with the last 2 phrases
  • Sing the 1st verse
Use the same method for the 2nd and 3rd verses. Be sure to teach the 3rd ending as you teach the 3rd verse.

You could use a picture of missionaries, The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith in the scared grove.  Sometimes pictures help bring the song and message to life.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

After-Program Fun

Once you have finished performing the Primary Sacrament program, the following week is wide open to something different and fun for singing time.  I like to sing some "action" songs listed below and then allow some time for choose-you-favorite-song.  Generally, the children will choose a song from the program. Make sure that your pianist is okay with a "free-for-all" choosing time.

Action songs

  • The Wise Man and the Foolish Man p. 281
  • Do as I'm Doing p. 276
  • Fun to Do p. 253
  • If You're Happy p.266
  • Oh, How We Love to Stand p. 279
  • Sing, Sing, Sing p. 253
  • Rain Is Falling All Around (Leaves Are Falling All Around) p. 241
There are several others listed under "Activity Songs" in the index of the Primary Songbook.  Choose your favorites or teach a few new ones.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Stand Up, Sit Down, Eyes on Me

Make your rehearsals for the Primary Sacrament Meeting Program enjoyable.  This can be a real drudgery for teachers and children. Here are a few ways to make the "getting-ready" process fun.

  • Standing and sitting quietly
    • Ask the children to listen as you stand them up (with a hand motion)
    • Have them sit back down.
    • Ask just the girls to stand - then have them sit back down
    • Ask the boys to stand - then have them sit back down
    • Who stood and sat down the most quiet?
    • Ask a teacher, member of the primary presidency or another adult to listen to see how quietly the children stand and sit.
      • number cards 1 through 10 (large enough for the children to see them)
      • after each time they stand or sit, rate their reverence with one of the cards - 10 = awesome, 1 = not so good
  • Eyes on you (as the music director) 
    • Encourage the children to watch you:
      • so they know when to sit or stand
      • so they can get clues for the words of the songs
      • so they know how loud or soft to sing
    • Make a circle from an 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper
      • draw a set of eyes on it (like a face)
      • tape a stick on the back so it is easy to hold up
      • Tell the children that every time you hold it up they are to STOP singing.
      • After a few times of unrehearsed solos, they will start watching you more. (DO NOT do this activity during the Primary Program)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Be Prepared for Your Rehearsals

As you prepare songs, speaking parts, seating, etc. for the Primary Sacrament Program, do your VERY best to make rehearsals smooth.  The best way to do that is have everything organized prior to the rehearsal.

  • How many seats will be needed in the chapel for the children and teachers?
  • Are you seating the children in order of their speaking parts?
  • Are teachers spaced well for reverence control?
  • Do you need extra chairs? Will they be in place before the meeting?
  • Make a seating chart prior to the rehearsal and make sure all adults helping have a copy.
  • If possible, put the names of the children on the seats before the rehearsal.
  • If you plan on a full "run-through" of the program, make sure there are NO distractions for the children.
    • all adults focused - no side talking
    • Anyone walking around (moving children, making last minute changes, discussing things) takes the focus off of the music leader and/or speakers.
    • sit quietly with a paper and pencil and write down changes to be made AFTER the rehearsal.
  • Adults make or break a rehearsal.  Be focused. Don't talk. Set a reverent, attentive example.  The children will follow your lead.
Leaders and teachers can make the difference in a fabulous rehearsal or a disjoint and time wasted rehearsal.  BE PREPARED ! ! !

Saturday, September 8, 2018

"Stop" and "Go" Review

A good way to test the children's knowledge of a song is to play the  "Stop and Go" game.

  • Make a "stop" sign (red)
  • Make a "go" sign (green)
When you hold up the "Stop" sign the children stop singing but the piano keeps playing.  Hold up the "Go" sign and the children continue singing with where the piano is playing.  They mus sing in their minds to know what to sing when the "Go" sign goes up.

Give an example before you begin.

You could also make a "Hum" sign, "Boys," "Girls," "Teachers," etc. signs to add variety.  The children will enjoy this activity!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review with Variety

As you review songs for the Sacrament Meeting Program, work at being able to sing all the songs at the same level of performance.  I especially find the 2nd or 3rd verses to be weak. 

Spend time singing the verses beyond the first verse.

  • Stand and sing facing the back
  • Everyone with birthdays on even numbers sing 
  • Everyone with birthdays on odd numbers sing
  • Everyone in the 1st, 3rd and 5th grade sing
  • Everyone in K, 2nd, 4th and 6th sing
  • Preschool and 6th sing.
Use this type of variety to sing verses/songs several times.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Preparing for the Sacrament Meeting Program

The Primary Sacrament Meeting Program is a big deal for the children and the one thing that they can all participate in is singing.  Make sure they know these songs well!  Be prepared!

  • Make a list of all the songs that you will be singing for the program
  • List them in the order order that you will sing them
  • Sing the songs with the children
  • Make note of the songs or verses that need some extra review
  • Know how many weeks you have before the program
  • Plan your singing time to review the songs
If the children know the songs well, they internalize them, the understand the message and enjoy singing.  This will carry over to the congregation.  They, in turn, will feel the spirit of the song and the love the children share in singing the songs.