Adding variety gives the music a special touch. Here are some ways you can add variety when you have a special occasion to sing for in sacrament meeting:
- Add another timbre (color) or voice or instrument. If you don’t have someone who can play the violin, flute, cello or other instrument, have someone play the new part on the organ with a beautiful, single stop. (See below for the music I have written for a solo instrument. Another option is to check jennyoaksbaker.com. She has many violin and cello options for beginning, intermediate and advanced players).
- Give children a chance to sing a solo or be part of a small group. This strategy works well when you have a song with multiple verses. Everyone sings the first verse and chorus. A soloist or multiple soloists can sing a line (phrase) of the other verses. The chorus becomes full and powerful. Children also enjoy singing “in the microphone.”
- Have the organ join the piano. (Jesus Is My Shepherd has two arrangements. Play the simplified one on the organ and the other arrangement on the piano).
- Make your own arrangement. Putting two or three songs together is easy. You can the change any song in the Children’s Songbook (soon) or Hymns to any key on http://www.churchofjesuschrist.org (music). See an example at the bottom of this page.
- 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).
Medleys for Mother’s and Father’s Day
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).
Sacrament Meeting Presentation + Instrument
My Heavenly Father Loves Me Violin (Suzuki Book 3/4 Level)
If I Listen With my Heart.Violin (Suzuki Book 1 after Etude)
Favorites From the Friend + Instrument
Build An Ark by Marianne P. Willcock was published in the Friend, September 2010. Click the button for a link to the free sheet music.
The Family is of God by Matthew Neeley was published in the Friend, October 2008.
Gethsemane by Melanie Hoffman was published in the Friend, March 2018. I like this key for children’s voices. The commercially published arrangement is too low. Click the button for a link to the free sheet music.
I Will Walk With Jesus by Stephen Schank was published in the Friend, February 2020.
Jesus Is My Shepherd by Tammy Simister Robinson was published in the Friend, September 2013. It also has another setting in the same key. It is a beautiful version of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Light the World happens every December. We fill our lives with small acts of kindness to light the world. Janice Kapp Perry wrote a song and I love the refrain. Light the World With Love was published in the Friend, January 2018. Click the button for a link to the free sheet music.
The Miracle by Shawna Edwards was published in the Friend, June 2018. Click the button for a link to the free sheet music.
The_Miracle.Lower Violin Version (Suzuki Book 2 after Two Grenadiers)
The cello part is accessible to performers who have had Suzuki Book 2 and above.
Peace in Christ, 2018 Mutual Theme Song, is a favorite to sing. The violin part has a second page with positions.
Scripture Power by Clive Romney was published in the Friend, October 1987. Clive came to our Primary in 2016 and shared Singing Time with us. He brought his guitar, played along with us, and shared the story of this Primary favorite.
The Scriptures Can Lead Me to Jesus, written by Clive Romney, was published in the Friend, May 1999.
Ukulele & Beginner Violin Publications
These ukulele books are great to sing the melody while strumming a simple steady beat or rhythm pattern. Some of the songs are too low for the Primary children to sing along with. I’ve added capo adjustments so you can sing in the original keys which are perfect for children’s voices.
My daughter is playing from the Primary Violin School book and loves playing Primary songs. She played at her cousin’s baptism and now she is getting ready to play for her own. An accompaniment book is also available, but I have been making up my own accompaniments. Her favorite songs we will be playing as a medley are I Am Like a Star, Jesus Once Was a Little Child, I Am a Child of God, and In the Leafy Treetops! It’s never perfect, but it’s cute!
These arrangements are just perfect for the beginning violinist. They are often a third lower than the original key. Double-check the original key if you want children to sing along. If not, these arrangements make great prelude selections.
Changing a Key
When you want to change a key for a hymn, first consider the range. Here is an example of changing the key from B-flat Major to G Major for “The Spirit of God.” Find the hymn on churchofjesuschrist.org then music library and click on the Hymns icon. Next click on the title. Scroll below the hymn and click on the button, “Switch Player.”
It will generate a new view. The top bar will show the key as B-flat. To lower it to G, use the arrow key to go down to A, then A-flat, and finally reach G Major. Your pianist will thank you!