Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Final Program Review--With Puppets!

Invite puppets to come hear the children sing.

My favorite Sunday of the year is almost here.  I can't wait for the children's Primary program!  (Yes, it was my favorite Sunday before I had either this calling or children of my own....)  Here is my plan for the last Singing Time before our program practice in the chapel.

Goals for This Singing Time

Overall goal:  Familiarize the children with all musical aspects of the program so the practice in the chapel can focus on other areas.

Breakdown of that goal:
  1. Sing through each song once as a final review.
  2. Teach the children my cues for standing up and sitting down for each song.
  3. Rehearse the program format of each song (soloists, special accompaniment, sign language, etc.).
  4. Turn the children's attention to the words of the songs, so they can sing with feeling.
  5. Practice standing and sitting enough times so they can almost do it in unison.
  6. Don't bore the children to death. :)

  Plan for Each Goal's Fulfillment

  1. Beforehand, place your songs in order according to difficulty level (not according to their actual placement in the program), placing last the song with which your children are most comfortable.  This is insurance, in case you don't have enough time to get through all the songs.
  2. At the beginning of Singing Time, teach the children your particular version of signals to stand up and sit down.  I count a silent 1-2-3 on my fingers and then raise both my hands up, for standing.  I simply lower flat palms for sitting.  Give your cues and have the children practice a few times.
  3. For each song, pretend as though it's the day of the program, and sing straight through that song without stopping or talking.
  4. In between a few of the songs, point out how you can feel the Holy Ghost as the children sing, and ask them to sing the next song while they really think about the words.  A song can be a testimony--when you mean it!
  5. Before each song, give your signal to stand and have the children sing while standing.  After every song, signal them to be seated again.  With so much repetition, they can't possibly forget your cues on program day. :)
  6. Here is where the puppets come in.  Before we start the songs, I tell the children that I was telling one of my friends about how great their singing was, so he wanted to come hear them. I pull out a puppet and have him say hi to the kids.  I ask the children to sing their best, so my little friend will know I was telling the truth. Then, I set him on top of the piano, so the kids can see him while we sing.  After the song, the puppet comes back up and says the singing was so great that he wants to invite another friend to come hear.  Up comes a new puppet to join him.  Repeat.  By the end you have a whole line of puppets listening to the kiddos.  I try to make the puppets' remarks short, so this doesn't eat up all the time. 

This is definitely an atypical Singing Time, but singing in front of a large group is unnerving for many children.  I consider it my job to help them feel as comfortable as possible by letting them know what to expect.  Good luck with all of your programs!

Happy singing,

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