Monday, July 30, 2018

Using Primary Music in Other Callings

Pioneer Sunbeams sing as they walk.
Confession time: I haven't been a Primary music leader in years. I've forgotten how many years, actually. But Primary music is so much a part of me that I take it wherever I serve, so I don't feel as if I've ever left! I wanted to share with you a few examples of how I've used Primary music to help me in other callings. 

If Primary music isn't your current calling, I hope this gives you some ideas. If Primary music is your current calling (as I expect is the case for most of you!), then please consider whether this post could be useful for your friends and ward members. Then feel free to share the post, so as to fill the world with more music. :)


I love using Primary music in seminary! Here is a short list of ways I've had it work well.
  • Take a month and focus on Primary songs for the opening hymn.
  • Ask them their favorite Primary songs, and ask them what gospel truths they've learned from them. See my post on this activity here.
  • Have them write their own verse to Book of Mormon Stories or Follow the Prophet, as a way of sharing which scriptural personalities they connect with. See my post on this activity here
  • Bring in Maori sticks to learn the memorization song for your current book of scripture. (For example, The Books in The Book of Mormon). Sharla has a great post with a video of how to use Maori sticks. It's complex enough that my seminary students loved it!
  • Show a video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a Primary song in General Conference. Here is one of my favorites, "He Sent His Son." I have done this numerous times with different songs to help the Spirit testify of a principle we're learning.

Course 12/13 Sunday School

Youth Sunday school might seem like a harder stretch for using Primary music, but remember, the point isn't to make Primary music fit. The point is to help the youth think about the principles, feel how important they are, and then want to live them. Primary music is fantastic for helping accomplish those objectives. Here are some ways I did that with my 12- and 13-year olds.
  • Show a video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a Primary song in General Conference, as described above.
  • Bring in Primary song books and have the students find a song that teaches the principle you're learning.
  • Write their own verse, as described above.


Ok, guys, I've been in this calling for one month now, and I have to say, this has got to be the easiest calling for including Primary music! The manual already gives suggestions of songs almost every week, so all I have to do is choose a way to make the songs really engaging. Hint: most of the time the children won't sing with you, but that's okay. :)
  • Sing "Families Can Be Together Forever" while the children put together 4-piece puzzles of pictures of families. (Full post on puzzle pictures here.)
  • Sing "Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked" while the children wear simple costumes and walk around the room. (See the picture above. Aren't my Sunbeams just the cutest?!) Stop and do appropriate actions when the song talks about Sunday activities. 
  • Sing "I Am a Child of God" while using hand scarves.
  • Sing "I Love to See the Temple" while the children put pretzel sticks on the outline of a temple. Bonus: snack time with a purpose! 
  • Or choose another activity with any song the manual suggests. 

I truly love Primary music for the way it helps me feel the Spirit. No matter the age of my students or the setting in which I teach them, I want them to be able to feel the Spirit in every class. Primary music is one way we can help them do just that.

Happy singing!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Prepping for a New Songbook--Write Your Own Song!

Writing Primary Songs in Seminary
I'm excited for the Church's new hymnbook and Children's Songbook! (Read the announcement here.)

I also love the idea that anyone can submit songs they've written. The announcement came at an especially fun time because I had just had my seminary students, for a year-end lesson, write their own verses to Book of Mormon Stories.

Here are a couple they wrote:

1. Aft’ they left the tower behind, the Jaredites embark. 
Jared’s brother brought some stones to take away the dark. 
To the promised land so that the people could be free. 
Followed God, with the light righteously.

2. Enos was a bad hunter, he couldn't shoot a deer
But his father prayed for him and asked that he would hear.
The words of God forgiving him as he fell to his knees
Through day and night, he asked in faith, righteously.

And a fun one:

3. Laman and Lemuel weren’t so bad after all
Sure they complained a lot but followed Moses Law
They tied up Nephi but eventually set him free
Mmmmh, no, they were psycho, righteously.

Aren't these youth fantastic!? I love their thoughtfulness and creativity. Something similar to this could also be a fun challenge for your senior Primary. Then, if they wanted, they could submit their new verses to be considered for the new songbook! 

I gave my students the following pattern to write their verses in groups:

Line 1: 13 syllables, rhyme with Line 2
Line 2: 13 syllables, rhyme with Line 1
Line 3: 13 syllables, rhyme with Line 4
Line 4: 6 syllables + "righteously"

We wrote their verses on the board so everyone could sing them, and they were really into it. I love any time we can bring the music of the Church into our lessons, to help students of all ages learn. 

Happy singing!

Looking for other ways to get Senior Primary kids more involved?  

Read how I've used child pianists, here.

For an idea of how to adapt a junior Primary activity to be more interesting for senior, try this one.