Friday, September 4, 2009

How's it coming?

Hey guys,

I hope you all are having fun reviewing for your programs. I hope you've been able to take some of these ideas and make them your own. I would love to hear from any of you who would like to tell me which ideas have worked best for you. Let me know what you did to expand on them.

New posts should start in a few weeks for the coming months. It will be a fun three months to relax before our new year starts.

Keep it up! They're all counting on you. Let me know if I can help with anything specific.



Megan said...

Thank you so much for working so hard to share all your great ideas!! It has certainly helped and I am excited to use many of them as our program is late in Nov. But I did have a question... how do you get the children to sing out on the day of the program? I feel the kids really sing out, are entertained and know the songs each week but when we've gotten up to sing in Sacrament, it's almost as if they get super shy and really don't sing as they had during singing time. Do you use visual aids during the program? Any ideas are really appreciated!! Thanks


Dave, Loralee, Emma, & Bree said...

so far I've used the back to school and birthday party ideas and they've worked so well!! thanks again for all your hard work and creative mind :)

Melanie said...


I am glad I've been able to help you. To answer your question, I practice singing out with cues that I give the kids. When I put my hand to one ear they increase the volume and when I put my hands to both ears they sing very loud (not shouting loud...just with power). I also make my hand movements more dramatic to lead their voices. Kids need a visual to what you make it big if you want them to be big and small if you want it soft. You need to feel the music just like they need too. I don't use picture helps..but I have brought a big smile on a stick that I show them so they remember to smile.

Good Luck!


tolmans said...

I have used many many many of your ideas this last year. But just recently I did the Birthday party. It was a blast. I added a couple of games, one being the balloon pop. Everyone received a balloon with a word or phrase, and when I said three we all sat on them and tried to figure out the song. Ofcourse for Junior I color coded the phrased to make it easier. I also added a matching game for each song to let us all know how to sing. ie shake shake shake like a rattle snake. It went over really well and I was able to take the entire time for primary. Thanks for all your time and effort you put into your calling. You have truly been blessed with a talent.

Dedra Tolman (Lacey Washington 3rd Ward)

Michelle said...

I was recently called to primary chorister and your blog has helped so much, thank you! I did the birthday party idea, and many others. Thank you for all your creative ideas!

Sharla said...

Just found you, wish I had found you earlier. Just curious, do you use any visuals when you are conducting the program, or do you give them the words? I got called right before the program, so am not confident they know all the songs by heart. I find that they seem to strain to look at whatever I hold up, and would rather not go that route. Any help would be apprecited. program is next Sunday! Yikes!

Rachel said...

You are AMAZING and wonderful to share your ideas! I am a stake primary chorister and share your ideas every single month with my 10 ward choristers. It makes me wish I was still the ward chorister myself so I could use them, too! ;o) My favorites so far were the 5 review games posted in August.

Dana said...

Instead of using the ice cream game, I modified the pin the bow on the present game from last year, but to tie it in with this year's theme, instead of a present, I cut out clipart of a family and a few people dressed in olden days clothing and laminated them with the name of a song on the back, so there were 8 songs total. I put a picture of the temple up on the board and told the kids that the family was ready to be sealed and needed our help to make it to the temple. We needed to "sing" them to the front door. With the Srs. I also added the "ancestors" who we could do baptisms for. A teacher would choose one of the paper dolls. The teacher started in the back of the room with eyes closed and the children would guide them by singing loudly when they were on the right track and softly when they were not. If the teacher "missed" we sang it again to rescue the doll. It was a fun game and the time passed quickly.

Thanks for all your ideas, Melanie! If it weren't for you I wouldn't love my calling nearly as much as I do.

Kate said...

Fantastic ideas! Your website rocks! I'll be coming back OFTEN! Thank you for sharing.

Nicole Kinateder said...

I started looking at your blog about a year ago and I have never felt more confident doing the music in Primary! You have AMAZING ideas and every sunday I use them! The primary presidency always tells me how great singing time is and I have to pass on that praise to you! Thank you for posting your ideas! You really have helped me and many others. Thank You!

Scooterdoodah said...


I'm DONE! Woohoo! It went very well, and that is in large part, to YOU! I pray that you don't get released before me - or, if you do, let me pay you to keep this blog open!! Thanks so much. I'm looking forward to doing some songs that I simply haven't had time for, and I just might start working on 2010 - since my bishop insists on having the program in September!! (I miss a little polish time that October & Novembers have.)

Again, you are so appreciated here! I can't wait to start using your "method" more seriously this coming year, and am looking forward to seeing what your amazing mind comes up with!

Love, Carolyh

Emma said...

Your blog has been such a blessing for me this past year - does that sound odd? Thank you so much for sharing your creative ideas. We had our primary program today and it went SO WELL! Much better than I anticipated! My primary is combined Jr and Sr because we have so many young kids and not enough older ones, which can make this a very challenging calling. But today the children (even all of the young ones) sang and performed so well. I had their full attention and felt the Spirit so strong. In fact, during the final song, I turned my back to the children to lead the congregation. After the song, as I was heading back to sit down, I realized that they were all still patiently standing, awaiting my signal for them to sit down. It brought tears to my eyes. Such darling spirits. Even if it is hard to feel that way all of the time, I'm grateful for the glimpse I had of their spirits today.

Trisha said...

I have an idea for a review--especially for 5th Sundays that are devoted entirely to Singing Time.

Learning Italian

Because most music words are Italian, I decided to teach the children some common Italian music words while reviewing songs for the program.

I used the following pairs of words:
* Forte (loud) and Piano (soft)
* Allegro (fast) and Largo (slow)
* Staccato (crisp, detached) and Legato (smooth, connected)
* A capella (without music) and Con musica (with music)
* Regazze (girls), Ragazzi (boys), and Insegnanti (teachers)

I used an online translation site to find the translations for girls, boys, and teachers. The site also says the words for you so that you can hear the correct pronunciation ( It works for other languages too. Want to learn Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes in another langugage? This site is extremely helpful for that. There are other such sites out there, but this is one of my favorites.

I dressed in a trench coat, with a hat, and big sunglasses. I was a detective and I invited the children to play detective with me to figure out some Italian words that have to do with music and singing.

For Junior Primary, I hid the pairs of words in numbered envelopes under their chairs so that they could help me find the missing Italian words.

Then, I had the children with the number one words come up to the front and hold their words.

I had a "magic wand" (a digital drumstick with the power off). I told the children my wand could read Italian, so they had to guess what each word meant based on how my wand responsed. I'd read each word by running the tip of the wand across each word. Then, my wand would respond in a corresponding way. I'd then ask them what they thought that word meant in English.

* Forte (very large movements)
* Piano (very small)
* Allegro (very fast)
* Largo (very slow)
* Staccato (robot-like, sharp)
* Legato (flowing, almost dancing)
* A capella (sharp, cut off motion towards pianist)
* Con musica (pick up/include motion towards pianist)
* Ragazze, Ragazzi, and Insegnanti (point towards girls, boys, or teachers, or point to pictures on the board or on a poster, or walk around tapping a few gently on the head)

For Senior Primary, I also put "How?," "Who?," and "When?" wordstrips on the board. For each set of words, they helped me deduce if that pair of Italian words helped us know WHO shoudl sing, WHEN we should sing (or sing with accompaniment), or HOW we should sing.

We sang through several songs in the program with a different set of words for each song. The children had to watch the wand carefully to know how to sing the song at any given moment because the wand would switch back and forth between each word in a pair. If they needed extra practice with a song, a helper got to come up and direct the wand with the appropriate motions for the Italian words used with that song.

At the end, we sang through a couple songs using all of the Italian words together. They really had to watch me and my wand then!

I also sent home a straw with each child. The straw had a little paper flag taped to the end of it. The "flag" listed all of the Italian words we learned that day. I told them they could practice their Italian and music with their families.

Trisha said...

To learn a song that has a strong beat (like How Firm a Foundation), here's another idea.

I made rhythm sticks out of 5/8" dowels cut into 8" lengths. I found 3' and 4' dowels at our local building supply store. I made enough sets of sticks so that at least half of the children had a set. If a child didn't get a set of sticks first, they clapped. And we switched sticks often so that all of the children had a chance to clap and use the sticks.

First, I had us all clap or tap out the beat. The beat never changes in most of the Primary songs. Each song is usually composed of three or four beats in each measure. The beat just goes on and on. You can talk quite well while you and the children are clapping/tapping the beat. I repeated "The beat goes on and on. It never changes" to the beat a couple times to emphasize the steadiness of the beat.

Second, we all practiced clapping/tapping out the rhythm. For the rhythm, you clap or tap each time there's a note in the song. It usually works out to a clap/tap for every syllable in each word. For example, How Firm A Foun-Da-Tion, Ye Sa-Ints Of The Lord with every capital letter indicating a clap/tap.

When the children had the rhythm under control, I switched it up.

One side of the room kept the beat, while the other side of the room clapped/tapped the rhythm. That way, they could hear the differences between the beat and the rhythm. And then we switched sides.

You could use a teacher or member of the Presidency to lead one side of the room while you lead the other side. I used one of our 11 year-old girls that was musically talented and who was leaving within the next week to attend Young Womens. She loved it. The kids loved it too.

We repeated both verses of How Firm a Foundation several times, but the children didn't seem to notice all the repetition while tapping/clapping the beat or the rhythm of the song.

Summer said...

Just had our program last Sunday, and it went so well. The kids were amazing, and the Spirit was strong. Thanks for all your great ideas! Such a great help!

apple said...

I am wondering if anyone has a list on the lyrics of each of the songs in the program. I would like to give a copy to each of our teachers and leaders to have with them during the program. I can type them up but if they are already out there, it would save me some time, especially because we have a new operation system on our computer and I'm not too sure how to use it:)
Thank you.

Scooterdoodah said...

Apple ~

I do, but we may not have chosen the same songs! What is your e-mail address?

TIFF said...

I would love a copy too!!!! If you get this, could you add me to that email? my email address is: