Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Guest Instruments--a Spiritual Analogy for "If I Listen With My Heart"

Different instruments will capture the kids' attention
Does your ward have a few people who can play different instruments? I had a couple guests come into Primary to play their instruments for the children, and we played a guessing game to see if they could identify each one by sound only.


Reach out to a few instrumentalists in your area.  Most musicians are thrilled at the chance to share their talents in Primary!  I arranged for flute, guitar, and glockenspiel (the metal xylophone-like instrument pictured at right).   Give them the sheet music for the song "If I Listen With My Heart," found here.  Ask them to prepare to play the melody of only the last, repeated line, "And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior's voice."  I also asked my pianist to prepare to play the same line.


Sing the first line of verse 3 of "If I Listen With My Heart":  "I feel the Holy Spirit as He teaches truth and right," and pause. "Boys and girls, did you know that everyone feels the Holy Ghost a little bit differently?"  Explain briefly that although the Spirit teaches the same truth about Jesus, people feel it in different ways. You could give some examples of ways you feel the Holy Ghost.  "That's why we need to listen with our hearts." Sing, "And if I listen with my heart, I hear the Savior's voice."

Tell the children that you're going to help them understand how the same message could be shared in different ways.  They will hear different instruments play the same bit of song, but each instrument sounds a little different from the others.  Challenge them to pay close attention the first time through, as you will quiz them afterwards!


One at a time, ask the guest musicians to play their line of the song.  In between each one, either cue the children to join with you in singing the same line, or make comments such as, "Could you hear how this time, the music was higher? But it's the same song, isn't it?!"  

Once each instrument has been played, grin and tell the children it's time to see how well they listened.  Ask the children to close their eyes and see if they can hear which instrument is being played.  Silently point to one musician, so he can play his line.  Invite the children to open their eyes, and then take their guesses. You'll be surprised by how well they listen!  Give each musician a time to play for the children again.

As you finish, remind the children that just as they had to listen so carefully to hear the difference in the instruments, they also have to listen carefully with their hearts to hear the Holy Spirit speak to them. I can think of no better skill for us to teach our children.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?     For another thought-based activity, try Nature Daydream, here.

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