Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"If I Listen With My Heart"--an Intro Activity for Junior Primary

The song, "If I Listen With My Heart," shares a powerfully important lesson for our children to learn:  in the scriptures, we hear the voice of the Savior.  With shifting morals all around us in society, it's vital that our children learn where to go to hear God's word. This song can help us accomplish that, but the complicated melody can be especially hard for the younger children to learn.  With new Sunbeams in my Junior primary, I decided to do an intro activity for this song aimed at the youngest children, reminiscent of how I do music in nursery (see my example nursery agenda here).

Dive Right In

Scripture accounts of the Savior
I hold up a stack of pictures portraying the Savior in various scripture accounts.  "I brought some pictures to share today.  Raise your hand if you can share a picture with the friends sitting next to you."  I start singing "If I Listen With My Heart" and then start passing out the pictures as I sing, one picture for every two or three children.

Connect the Pictures to the Song

"Now, don't say it out loud, but raise your hand if you know--who do you see in your picture?"  Once I receive the answer of Jesus, I continue, "That's right! We can't hear Him talking to us like the children who lived by Him, can we? But we can hear His words when we read the scriptures! I'm going to hum my song again, and I want you to whisper with your teacher to find out which scripture story you have in your picture."  I immediately start humming the song along with the piano (having previously asked my pianist to play only the melody line, so the children can hear it better).  When I get to the last line, I sing instead of hum, "If I listen with my heart, I hear the Savior's voice."

Focus on a Phrase and Repeat

I hold up a picture of Christ that I kept back, and pointing to Him, say, "Did you know that 'Savior' is another name for Jesus? Can you all say, 'Savior,' with me?"  I encourage them to repeat the word with me.  Then I ask one little group, "What scripture story do you have?"  After they answer, I take back their picture and hold it up for everyone to see.  I immediately launch into singing the final line of the song, "If I listen with my heart, I hear the Savior's voice."  This time, I add simple actions as I sing.  I cup my ear with my hand on "listen," I put my hand on my heart on "heart," and I point to Christ in the picture on "Savior."

Now I repeat the exchange for each tiny group.  After two or three repetitions of asking and singing, I encourage the children to do the actions along with me.

I'm hoping this activity has helped my little ones 1) understand the main gospel principle in the song and 2) hear the last line enough times so that they'll recognize it as a comforting, familiar song next week.

Happy singing!

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