Singing Time Ideas and Helps from Natalie from Ogden, Utah Thanks!

Music helps from Natalie from Ogden, Utah Thanks!

  1. First: If someone cannot draw, they should remember that they can enlarge simple clip art and tape it to the window and trace it onto poster board. I promise, no one will know you didn’t draw it. People in my ward think I’m this great artist (they don’t know my secret!)
  2. Second: Latter-day Prophets, p.134. In a 3-ring binder, place the pictures of the prophets from the Gospel Art Picture Kit (the prophets packet is about $2). Place them in sheet protectors, starting with the sheet of all the prophets. Then, turn the page and on the back (in the same sheet protector) have Joseph Smith, then Brigham Young shares his sheet protector back with John Taylor, etc. Type the names of the prophets in a large, easy-to-read font and cut the paper so you can slide the name of the prophet down to the bottom of the sheet protector. When you sing the song, you just flip the pages of the binder and the kids and teachers can read the name (if necessary), but they also get familiar with what each prophet looked like. It is easy to flip the pages with one hand, and everyone likes singing this song!
  3. Third: Follow the Prophet, p.110. I drew a picture of a prophet (from the head down to the chest) vertically on a half sheet of poster-board. This way you can get 2 prophets out of one sheet. Cut out the face of the prophet so the child can place his face in the opening (sort of like the things at Disneyland). I drew the prophet about 1/3 the way down from the top. At the top of the poster I wrote the name of the prophet, as well as drew a few pictures of things that go with that verse, such as a city in the clouds for Enoch, a whale for Jonah, a tv and a compass for the last verse, etc. I typed and taped the words and verse # on the back of each poster so that I don’t get them out of order or forget who we are singing about when I am standing behind the kids. They LOVE it, especially the Jr Primary kids, because they think it is so fun to stand there and pretend they are the prophet. My kids’ favorite verse is Enoch (I don’t know why).
  4. Fourth: For Father’s Day, I drew a picture of a dad (very simple) in a white shirt on a piece of poster board. Then I printed out a clip art of a tie onto several different colors of cardstock and laminated them. We play “pin-the-tie on the dad” and on the back of each tie I tape the name of the song, or simply a number. Then the pianist has a list of the numbers and the songs they correspond to. That way it takes little preparation from year to year. I just have to write a list out for the pianist.
  5. Fifth: Conducting. I have found that the Sr primary is very interested in learning how to conduct. I have been the chorister in more than one ward and I have found this to be true each time. Pay attention and watch to see if any of them are copying you. If they are, simply switch hands and lead with your left hand so they can copy with their right. I got out books and explained the time signature and measures to them, so they could understand the different beat patterns and feel the down beat. I let them lead right along with me whenever they want to. It seems to give them a greater concentration, as well as allowing them to move their bodies (they have been sitting for a long time, and sometimes I allow them to stand up). After all, we don’t tend to sing the movement songs, such as Popcorn Popping and Once there was a Snowman, with the Sr primary as much. This will help them so much as they enter YM/YM and it teaches a life long skill that even the teachers seem to enjoy learning.
  6. Sixth: Keep a Tally Sheet. Make a copy of the songs listed in the back of the book or type up the titles into a table. Each time you sing a song, make a tally mark next to the title. This way you can quickly reference that you have sung “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” 12x already this year and you can easily add more variety to your planning. The children and the teachers will appreciate this, and they will learn more songs this way.
  7. Seventh: Use the Ensign and the Friend. You can make great posters of songs by using pictures cut from these magazines. I have found the Ensign to be especially helpful, because the pictures are much larger and usually photographs rather than drawings. These work particularly well when you need pictures of Christ, because these are not cartoon drawings of Him. Simply tear them out, cut out any unnecessary words, etc. and use a glue-stick to adhere them to the poster. They don’t cost a thing and you don’t have to color them! Ask friends and family members to save their old magazines for you or pick up old copies at the DI. They are around 25 cents an issue and you can get a lot of pictures from just one issue. If you laminate the posters, they will last longer, but this is certainly optional if money is an issue.
  8. Eighth: Planning. Always try to get your songs to your pianist at least one week in advance. Most of us would be terrified if we were asked to give a lesson or talk at the last minute, and many pianists feel this way when songs are thrown at them with no chance for them to practice. In my ward the Primary Pres. has me fill out a paper that plans out the entire upcoming month. We list our songs for Opening/Closing Ex, as well as singing time. A copy stays with me and one goes to the Secretary as well as the pianist. Then the Secretary can list the songs on the conducting outline so they can be announced easily.
  9. Ninth: Use Sign Language. The Church has several books/videos available through the Distribution Center, or simply check out a sign language dictionary from your local library. Just sign the basic words, as the kids get confused if you sign every one. We have a child who can hear, but has trouble speaking, and therefore was having a very difficult time sitting through singing time. This has helped him greatly and the kids love it. Again, it is a chance to move their bodies, even on reverent songs.
  10. Tenth: The Chapel Doors, p.156. The words to The Chapel Doors have been changed since your teachers were children! To help them learn the new words, I drew a basic Church on a piece of brown posterboard. Then I glued two file folders facing each other to the middle of the church to look like doors that open. When you open the doors, you will have 4 panels. On the first panel, I placed a calendar pointing to the “Sabbath Day.” On the second panel, I placed a picture of Jesus. On the third, a picture of children singing and on the fourth, a picture of a child praying. When we sing the part about “We gather here on the Sabbath Day….” I open the doors to reveal the pictures. Then we close the doors again on “So when we come to the chapel doors….”