Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Primary Music Leader Training

We had a fun Stake Primary Music Training in our stake recently.  All of our ward Primary Music Leaders came and shared their ideas.  I wanted to share the information from that night.

Sing Your Heart Out
Music Leader Training Get-together

“We care so much about you and about the children you are teaching. Prepare well to bless these little ones.  Give it your best effort.  Your influence will - quite literally - affect these children for eternity.  Enjoy the assignment that you have, and discharge it faithfully.  However much we love and admire children, I am certain we underestimate who and what a child is, and what in the hands of God he or she may become.  May God bless you always in your sacred opportunity to help save the children of this Church.”   
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Leadership Training Library, “Supporting the Primary Music Leader”

“We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music...some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly.”  
-Boyd K. Packer, “The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord,” Ensign, Aug, 1976, 61

READ and STUDY the Outline for Sharing Time

LDS.ORG has several great tutorials and information

Music In Primary

The purpose of music in Primary is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Primary songs make learning the gospel more enjoyable, invite the Spirit,
and create a reverent and learning atmosphere.

Handbook  2 - 11.2.4, 11.5.4, 14

Singing Time

Music in Primary should establish a reverent atmosphere, teach the gospel, and help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and the joy that comes through singing. You should spend 20 minutes teaching music in sharing time. This will ensure that you have enough time to teach new music and to help the children enjoy singing.

The Outline For Sharing Time booklet includes a new song for the children to learn this year (see pages 28–29). It also includes a section titled “How to Use Music in Primary” (see pages 26–27) and additional ideas for teaching songs to children (see pages 3, 5, 9, and 15).

Guidelines for the Sacrament Meeting Presentation

Under the direction of the bishop or branch president, the children’s sacrament meeting presentation is given during the fourth quarter of the year. Meet with the counselor in the bishopric or branch presidency who oversees Primary early in the year to discuss preliminary plans. Obtain his approval when the plans are completed.

Plan for the children to present the program based on the monthly sharing time themes. Throughout the year, keep notes of children’s talks and personal experiences for possible use in the presentation. As you plan for the children to share what they have learned about this year’s theme, think of ways they can help the congregation focus on the gospel doctrines they are teaching.

As you prepare the presentation, remember the following guidelines:

*Practices should not take time away from classes or families unnecessarily.
*Visuals, costumes, and media presentations are not appropriate for sacrament meeting.

It is not necessary to give each child a scripted speaking part. Effective presentations involve the children in a variety of ways.
Know the Song
Before you can teach a song effectively, you must know the song yourself. Become familiar with the words and melody by playing the song on the piano or listening to the music on the Church music website.
·         Do I know the song well enough to make eye contact with the children?

Use the Scriptures
Study the song to learn what message the words convey. Use the scripture references at the end of the song in your preparation or in teaching the song.
·         Do I connect the doctrine to the words the children are singing?

Sing, Sing, Sing
Children learn to sing a song by hearing it sung and by singing it themselves. Spend more time singing than talking during music time.
·         Do we sing more than we talk or play games?

Capture the Children's Attention
Engage the children's attention with an object, a picture, a scripture, an experience, or simply a whisper.
·         Do the attention-getters that I use enhance the learning experience?

Include Different Learning Styles
Use a variety of approaches to involve as many of the senses as possible.  Seeing, speaking, moving, and doing, as well as hearing, will help children better understand and remember the songs.
·         Do I vary my teaching plan to include different learning styles?

Direct Children's Listening
Ask questions that will encourage children to listen to the song and help them understand the gospel message. For example, ask—What? Where? When? Why?—and state the question in such a way that children can discover the answer as you sing the song.
·         Do I ask questions that encourage thinking?

Involve the Children
Create opportunities for children to participate. For example, invite children to improvise actions, assign small groups to sing different sections, ask for ideas to vary the styles of singing, or give them a picture or object to hold to remind them of the words to a song.
·         Do I use activities that involve all of the children rather than a few?

Bear Testimony
Bear your personal testimony or read testimonies recorded in the scriptures. As children hear the testimonies of others, they will be strengthened.
·         Do I bear brief testimony of the doctrine taught in the song?

Reverence Ideas               
 Bubbles in cheeks (Junior Primary)

To fold arms with choices (jets or fish, in lap or on chest)

Stand up/Sit down

Proximity Control

“If you can hear me ______.”

“To Catch a Butterfly”

Positive Reinforcement - “I” statements    

  • “I’m looking for…”
    • beautiful eyes
    • big smiles
    • chins up
    • mouths moving to sing
  • “I noticed…”
    • Include specifics
    • Whole group, class, or individuals
    • Use a variety
  • Praise around
  • “I give ______ to those who ______”  
    • thumbs up, smile.
    • winks, look at me.
    • pats on the back, sit up straight.

  • Silent cheers
Old Reliable! (Games for THOSE weeks)
From The Barefoot Chorister, Stacy Sanchez

1. Hide the Note/Hot and Cold
2. Name that Tune (Notes, humming, rhythm, etc)
3. Stump the Chorister
4. Pop the Balloon
5. Skittles Challenge
6. Who's Missing
7. Something's Different, Sister ________
8. Swat Team
9. 4 Corners
Choose and Review games
From Kathleen Mower
1. Everyone who…

2. Three in a Row

3. Scrambled Word Puzzle

4. People in the Scriptures Made Good Choices

5. I Spy With My Little Eye

Roll ‘em and Blow “em

Cut the Bishop’s tie

Roll/Spin Mix ‘n’ Match - Fun Ways to Sing

Structuring your 20 minutes each Sunday to maximize effectiveness.

Enthusiastic Greeting
1 minute or less  
You need to get their attention.  Their minds will be all over the place.  Greet them with enthusiasm, hook their attention so you can sing!  Sing!  SING!

Wiggle Song (or two!)
3 minutes
Maybe they just came from class and are feeling wiggly.  Maybe they just came from Sacrament meeting and they just can't sit still.  Sing a fun song, or two or three and get the wiggles out.  Don't be afraid to sing it in a silly style to make it even more fun!

Practice Song
9 minutes

Review Songs
5 minutes
This is the time to sing one or two practice songs for the program, or throw in more favorites so the kids continue to pay attention.  Everyone needs a break from singing the same verse of the practice song over and over again!

Practice Song
1 minute
After a short break of review/fun songs sing this week’s practice song one more time.  It lets you know how well they learned what you taught earlier and the parts of the song where the kids are struggling.  This way you know what to focus on next week.

Reverent Song
1 minute
Whether the kids are about to go into sharing time, class or home always end with a reverent song.  The reverent song lets the kids know it's time to settle down and be prepared to pay attention to what is next.

A well organized singing time will have time for 8 to ten songs, even if you are spending ten minutes teaching a song.  Reviewing songs is very important!  It helps reinforce gospel principles, it's fun and it's what singing time is all about!  SINGING!


Children can put their arm into the elephant's trunk and practice leading the song.  A simpler version could be an apple with a worm sticking out of it (if you don't want to try drawing an elephant).


Wiggles and Giggles - Children can pick one of these cute things out of the jar and there is a fun song attached that they can sing.  Great idea to pull from when you see the kids need a little break and some movement.

 Roll the dice to see what style to use while singing the song.  Kids love that!  

Uno Game to learn a song. 

This was a fun idea.  One binder contained a copy of the Primary Children's Songbook that she had taken apart and put in sheet protectors.  The other binder had the plan for the month.  Great way to be organized and what a fun theme.

This was the treat table for our training.  Our theme was Sing Your Heart Out since we held it a few weeks before Valentine's Day.  Who doesn't love sugar cookies and chocolate?

This was the table of things we gave our music leaders. 

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