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Ward Primary

Music Leader
"Music is of enormous importance in our worship services. I believe that
those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence
the spirit of reverence in our meeting more than a speaker does. God bless
them." Boyd K. Packer, October 1991, General Conference.

Music in Primary
Remember to Follow the Handbook! Follow the Handbook! Follow the Handbook! Don’t go
astray. Follow the Handbook! Follow the Handbook! Follow the Handbook! It knows the way!

“Music in Primary should create a reverent atmosphere,


The handbook says, !Primary
teach the gospel, and help children feel the Spirit of the
Lord and the joy that comes through singing. The leaders, teachers, and children
Children's Songbook is the basic resource for Primary should strive to create a
music. Hymns from the hymnbook and songs from the
reverent atmosphere.! Keep
Friend are also appropriate. Occasionally, patriotic or
holiday songs that are suitable for Sunday and for the this in mind, but also
children's ages are also appropriate. The use of any remember that you can have
other music in Primary should be approved by local
fun and still be reverent.
priesthood leaders.” (Handbook of Instructions, Book 2 Section 5, p. 236)

“In selecting music... music leaders consider the feeling they want the songs to create. They
choose songs that are familiar to the children...They also recognize birthdays and baptisms by
having the children sing an appropriate song.” (Handbook of Instructions, Book 2 Section 5, p. 236)

Don’t feel like you have to race to teach


the Sacrament Meeting Presentation songs
at the first of the year. Teach them as you
go through the themes, as suggested by the
CSMP outline. Savor the meanings of the
songs. Help the children understand the
words so they can remember the messages
when they need them. We want the
children to recognize when they feel the
Spirit. Don’t forget to use songs they
already know to reinforce concepts. We are
teaching the gospel, not a list of songs.

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Visual Aids
Keep the visual aids clean looking and easy to follow.
While visual teaching helps keep the attention of the
children, it can remain simple and it does not require
artistry. Be sure that your visuals do not confuse
message of the song.

Make sure that the visual aids you use are in harmony
with gospel teachings. A good idea is to use pictures
from: The Gospel Art Kit, The Friend (Ensign, Liahona,
or The New Era), Primary manuals, and/or from
www.lds.org/newsroom. The pictures contained at
these places are all approved by Church Headquarters.

Teaching a Song to Children


Children learn to sing a song by hearing it sung many times. Involve the children by asking
questions about the song that will challenge their thinking. A leader should keep two steps in
mind when teaching a song to children:

1. Know the song. Before you can teach a song


Children and adults retain: effectively, you must know the song yourself.
10% of information told to them Become familiar with the words and melody.
40% when a story is added Notice parts that will make the song easier or
60% when a picture is added more difficult to learn. Ask yourself how you
90% when a song is added. might use the scripture references at the end of
the song when teaching it. Look for keywords,
rhyming words, and hard to understand words.

2. Make a plan. Ask yourself:


a. How can I capture the children's attention? (Perhaps with an object, a picture, a
scripture, an experience, or simply a whisper.)

b. What questions can I ask that will encourage the children to listen to the song?
(Ask questions that help the children understand the gospel message— for example,
What? Where? Who? When? Why? State the questions in such a way that
children can discover the answer as you sing the song.)

c. How can I encourage the children to sing the song? (Invite the children to sing the
phrases that answer the questions. Vary the tempo and the volume to add meaning.

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Ask the children to listen to their singing without accompaniment. Expect the
children to sit tall and to watch you carefully.)

d. What testimony can I leave with the children that will strengthen them? (Bear your
personal testimony, or read testimonies recorded in the scriptures.)

Adding Variety to Singing


Some children learn by listening, some by seeing, some by memorization, some by moving their
bodies. We need to do our best to use all of these teaching styles. The following is a list
from the Outline for the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation. Of course, not all ideas
will be used for music, but they all add variety.

! Teach songs with suggested actions or have the children help you improvise actions.

! Assign small groups to sing different sections or verses. (Have a child sing a solo or ask a
group of children to sing.)

! Use songs that have two parts to sing together or optional parts such as descants,
ostinatos, and obbligatos. This can challenge children and allow them to experience
harmony.

! Arrange a medley of two or more songs that have similar messages or that tell one story.
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Working with pianists
It’s helpful to the pianists to know (in advance) what songs will be sung on Sunday. Give the
pianist a list with page numbers in case practice is necessary. It helps keep reverence if
everyone can follow along and can be ready when it’s time for the children to sing.

Final Note
You don’t know where your influence will end. Enjoy your calling and have fun!

Everything I Need to Know…


I Am a Child of God, I Lived in Heaven,
I Know My Father Lives, I Need My Heavenly Father,
Reverence is Love, He Sent His Son,
Jesus Once Was A Little Child,
Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam, Jesus Has Risen,
I Feel My Savior’s Love, I’m Trying to be Like Jesus,
An Angel Came to Joseph Smith, I’ll Follow Him in Faith,
The Priesthood is Restored, Seek the Lord Early,
Follow the Prophet, Love One Another,
Kindness Begins With Me, Keep the Commandments,
I Want to Live the Gospel, I Believe in Being Honest,
I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth,
Choose the Right Way, I Will Follow God’s Plan,
I Hope They Call Me on a Mission,
We’ll Bring the World His Truth,
Families Can Be Together Forever,
I Love to See the Temple, Love is Spoken Here,
When We’re Helping We’re Happy,
We Are Different, I Have Two Little Hands,
Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked,
My Heavenly Father Loves Me

…I Learned From Primary Music

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Internet Resources
JollyJenn’s Visual Aids:
www.jollyjenn.com

Gospel Art Picture Kit:


www.lds.org/hf/art/0,16812,4218-1,00.html

SugarDoodle:
www.sugardoodle.net

Carl and Phyllis still cling to their


childhood belief that popcorn
really does pop on the apricot tree.