I have been the Primary Music Leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints multiple times. I’ll share some resources and other ideas that I’ve done in Primary or things I have come across that are worth checking out.
Teaching a Song
I think reviewing a song and enjoying singing is so easy. Teaching a song can be a challenge if you have never seen an effective Primary Music Leader in action. I love this CTR Music Wheel. It reminds us to “sing” to the children more than we chant, explain, or play games. They learn by hearing you sing it first.
We should also have the children hear the song many times before asking them to join in. Longer listening leads to faster learning. Sing the whole song or a large chunk (ex: the entire chorus) and ask the children to listen for something and do something while they are listening. Short listening experiences (echo) and piecing phrases together actually makes the learning process longer and less enjoyable.
Pat Graham (www.grandmamusic.com) and Sharla Dance (www.toteachachildasong.com or http://teachingprimarymusic.com) are some of the best examples of master teachers.
I like to get organized and usually make a cover for a binder that holds the yearly schedule (in table format), monthly schedule (table format), lists of children/classes, ideas I’ve seen or want to do and make. Ideas for Primary Music.cover
Simplified Piano Music
My piano students have a binder of the music outlined in the CSMP (Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation). I found simplified versions online and simply put them all in one place so they can play for Family Home Evening (FHE), prelude for Primary, or their own enjoyment. I use “I Can Play It” from the Friend (www.lds.org), Simplified Primary Songs (www.laytonmusic.wordpress.com), and Simplified Primary Music (www.frontiernet.net).
Chime Charts & Music Map
I like to use chimes are harmonies instead of melodies. However, when a chord or harmony is outlined or a melody sounds bell-like, I like to highlight it. Here are some examples:
We Welcome You, CS 256 (ring on “sing this song for you.” A F G C C’)
He Died That We Might Live Again, CS 65 (“Rejoice, Rejoice and Sing, Sing, Sing!” D F A C’ F G A F)
Our Bishop, CS 135 transposed to C Major (“He’s Our Bishop” is highlighted three different ways: 1). C’ A G D 2). C’ A B G 3). C’ A B C’)
I also like to wave my hands and have all the bells ring together. Show the sign for “stop” and they stop (usually).
Here are some of the charts I have made for chimes/bells with chords/harmonies:
Putting two or three songs together is easy. You can change any song in the Children’s Songbook or Hymns to any key on http://www.lds.org (music).
Be careful when lowering a song. Children’s voices should not go lower than a B-flat below middle C. Depending on the key, B-flat can even be quite low for the children (ex: Families Can Be Together Forever, I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus).
For Mother’s Day, I put together “I Often Go Walking” together with “Teach Me to Walk in the Light.” Click here for the sheet music (Mother’s Day Medley 2015.3songs). I’m going to have the children sing “When We’re Helping” in the key of E-flat Major before the medley. Here is the 2016 Mother’s Day Medley (mothers-day-2016).
For Father’s Day, I put the second verse of “Love is Spoken Here” together with second verse of “The Family is of God” and added a little coda or tag. Click here for the sheet music (Father’s Day Medley 2015). Click here for the 2016 Father’s Day Medley (fathers-day-2016).
Music in Nursery
Here is what I do in nursery. It’s so easy to have an object or action for each song. Everyone participates whether they sing or not. Sing in their range and they will sing with you when they are comfortable. Adults usually sing too low for children to match pitch!
I was a Stake Music Chairman and thought it was important to have ongoing training and a place to share ideas. Here are my handouts from past workshops.
Be Joyful Workshop: be-joyful-training-10-27-2016
Primary Music Leaders, May 2, 2019
Movement is so important to learning. Latter-day Prophets is so fun with all these actions for each prophet. I learned it at a Primary workshop at Day Murray Music, January 2015. Thanks to Jared Day for sharing this with all of us. Don’t explain, just do it. Say to the children, “See if your hands can follow my hands.” Ask what different actions mean after they have had a chance to do them in the song. Use a whole-part-whole approach when using sign language, action word actions, and movement. Experience first, label afterward.