"Teaching Children the Gospel through Music"
Fall 2001 Music Workshop


Objective: To help music leaders better understand how to teach children the gospel through music.

Music brings the Spirit that testifies of Truth.

Song, "When Jesus Christ was Baptized", CS 102.
Song, "We Listen to a Prophet's Voice", Hymns 22. Show pictures of Savior, heart, Prophet, hand reaching for Iron Rod. (Friend, Jan 2001 24-25) Start quiet and build, but never sing louder than is beautiful.

Hold up as many fingers as you have members in your family. Sing, "Families Can Be Together Forever", CS 188, and each time the word "family" is sung, hold up your fingers.

A music leader is a Gospel Doctrine Teacher, she teaches through song. Quote from Boyd K. Packer, "Teaching, No Greater Call", p 46. He said, "we are able to feel and learn very quickly through music . . . some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly." Primary songs allow children to bear their testimonies simply and beautifully. Many great ideas are presented in "Teaching, No Greater Call", p 172-175.

Gayle M. Clegg, counselor in the Primary General Presidency, said, "Memorized songs are gospel nuggets of testimony and truth". Think of your feelings as you sing these phrases from the following songs: "Jesus Once Was a Little Child" CS 55, "I Have Two Little Hands" CS 272.

Skit, "Music Leader" with sign around neck, says, "I was just set apart as the music leader in Primary. They handed me this box of resources, and told me to figure it out." Box of resources included the Outline for the Primary Sacrament presentation, ideas of song presentations downloaded from LDS.org site, Children's Songbook, Primary Handbook, Teaching No Greater Call, video, "How to Teach a Song to Children", Gospel Art Kit, Flannel board figures, Sharing Time Page in Friend magazine.

The counselor over Primary Music says, "You must PLAN to FILL your primary with music. It doesn't just happen. You must plan on your own, and plan with the Primary presidency. (Signs with words PLAN and FILL)

Plan
Handbook outlines integrating music with sharing time concepts. Church Handbook of Instructions, 236, "Music in Primary"

The music leader doesn't need to attend presidency meeting every single week. Sharing times should be planned a month in advance, and then music leader could be invited in to see how music could enhance a particular sharing time.

Skit of presidency meeting: "Does anyone have an idea of how to teach family history?" Words to Malachi's prophecy, story, song "The Hearts of the Children" CS 92. How much time will you need to teach the song? Talk about using a pedigree chart to demonstrate to children the way to organize family history.

Plan on your own: Create a schedule for teaching songs from outline, choose additional songs to teach, choose activity songs to get the children involved and moving, think of a variety of ways to present these ideas.

FILL Focus, Involve, Love, and Love some more. FILL our primaries with music.

Focus
Capture their attention. Children remember 10% of what they hear, 40% when told with a story, 60% when a picture is added, and 90% when taught through words of a memorized song.

To demonstrate, have group sing the end of the phrase that you start.
"As I have loved you, . . . love one another" CS 136
"We Thank Thee, O God . . . for a prophet" Hymns 19
"Reverence is more than . . . just quietly sitting" CS 31

Capture children's attention, with whispering, object lessons, picture, or story. Ask questions that encourage them to listen.

Month 5, "My body is a temple". Hold up apple (wooden). What is this? Is this good for our bodies? Actually not, it is made of wood. The prophet Joseph Smith received a set of commandments that help teach us what is good for our bodies, called the Word of Wisdom.

Song, "The Word of Wisdom" CS 154.
Point to head when you know the answer to my question.
Sing the first phrase of the song. "The Lord has revealed the Word of Wisdom to Joseph Smith the Prophet."
Who was the prophet that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to? (point to head when you know)
Sing the phrase again.
Put picture of Joseph Smith on one face of cube. On another face, start with printed words, "The Word of Wisdom".
Now, half of you listen for how we follow, and the other half listen for what is promised.
"If we obey, and follow in faith, beautiful blessings are promised." ( point to head when you know). On one face of cube, put a picture of a girl reading the scriptures with the words "If we obey"above it and "follow in faith" below it.
Listen for three phrases that tell us what blessings will come. Remember, when you know, point to your head. Sing, "A clean body, a clear mind, a spirit in tune with the Lord".
Who are these promised to? Point to your head when you know the answer. Sing, "These are promised to all who follow the word and will of God."

The music cube has six faces. Face one, The Word of Wisdom. Face two, Joseph Smith, Face three, girl reading scriptures with words, If we obey at top, and follow in faith at bottom,
Face four, clean body, clear mind, spirit in tune. Face five, picture of Jesus, word and will of God. Turn cube as you sing.

Sing song again, this time splitting into two groups. Sing first verse and second verse at same time.

Focused listening helps children learn the words and the meaning. When you teach a song, don't just say the words. Sing each phrase and have the children repeat after you.

INVOLVE
Use Music. Song, "Come With Me to Primary" CS 255. First time through, tap beat with feet or march to the beat. Second time through, sing "Oh bring a friend to Primary" and clap the syllables. Third time, sing, "Oh sing a song in Primary" and half of you beat the rhythm with feet or march, half clap the syllables. Those of you who think that you are really good, try to do both at the same time. (Hint, marching is easier to do with clapping)

Song, "You've had a Birthday" CS 285 with hand movements. Clap twice in lap, clap twice in front of you, then scissor hands above and below each other. Repeat three times. On last time, clap twice in lap, twice in front, then click fingers, point, "to you".

Successful sharing time helps children come to reverence at the end. Hide bags under chairs. First bag has picture of a cake. Song, "I Like My Birthdays" CS, 104. All stand up, with the person who found the bag choosing 7 people around them to help be candles. When you sing the words "I can't wait until I'm eight", the rest of the group sits down, (cake) and the candles remain standing.

Second bag, picture of scriptures. Song, "Search, Ponder, and Pray" CS 109 with sign language.

Third bag, picture of temple. Song, "I Love to See the Temple", CS 95. Divide into 4 groups. First group start, then second joins on next line, and so on, swell and strengthen as you add groups.

Use testimony. Richard G. Scott, Teaching No Greater Call, p 48. "If you accomplish nothing else in your relationship with your students than to help them recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit, you will bless their lives immeasurably and eternally."

Song, "Oh How We Love to Stand", CS 279. Use actions.

Song, "Reverence", CS 27.

Use movement. Stand up, use hand actions, use appropriate music while maintaining reverent feelings.

Use appropriate visuals. If a visual needs a lot of explaining, don't use it. Don't use "cartoon" type pictures. Use church approved pictures. Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1989, 28. " . . . we have procedures to ensure approved content for materials published in the name of the Church or used for instruction in its classes. They provide a spiritual quality control that allows members to rely on the truth of what is said." Compare the different feelings you have as you see on one side a picture of an angel, cartoon-style with wings. On the other side, a picture of Joseph Smith and the Angel Moroni appearing to him. There is a really different feeling about the two, and different ideas enter your mind. (GAK 406)

D&C 43:15 "Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit"

Use children's own drawings to teach songs. Children could draw pictures of situations where they are obeying mother or father. Song, "Quickly I'll Obey", CS 197.

Ostinato phrase for, "Quickly I'll Obey" CS 197. Look in back of CS, listed under ostinato.

Older children help with "The Books in the Book of Mormon" CS 119. Two children hold rope, others try to quickly put up the books in the Book of Mormon in order as the rest sing the song. Could give several opportunities to repeat the song. Could also be done pulling the names off in order, especially for younger sharing time.

LOVE
Love the children. Teach and prepare children, not teach and prepare a song, a whole different approach. When you are teaching an individual and not a song, you must be much better prepared. You must know the words so well that you don't need to be by your songbook, instead can smile, touch a child's shoulder, make eye contact.

Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov 1994, 54. Prayer to save the children. "My plea, . . . is a plea to save the children. Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loveliness and despair. Children need sunlight. They need happiness. They need love and nurture. The need kindness and refreshment and affection."

Let's see the sharing time that our presidency planned with their music leader.
Month 8, "We serve others through temple work". If you have a grandma, raise your right hand. If you have a grandpa, raise your left hand. If you have grandparents, raise both hands and shake them, then put them in your lap. Song, "I Am a Child of God" CS 2. Sing fervently, singing about your Heavenly parents with the same feelings that you feel for your earthly parents.

Choose a child, give them a teddy bear to hold. That child goes out and chooses two people, a girl and a boy, to be parents. Mom gets keys, Dad gets tie. Each sign their first name onto the pedigree chart in the appropriate spot. Sing first line of "A Happy Family" CS 198. Girls stand and sing first line, boys stand and sing second line. All sing the ending. Mother and Dad then choose two people each to be the grandparents, and they sign their first name on the pedigree chart. Grandpa 1 gets golf club, Grandma 1 gets gardening tool, Grandpa 2 gets apron (for barbecuing) and Grandma 2 gets running shoes. Repeat the song, using Grandma and Grandpa.

Song, "Family History" sung to tune of "Genealogy" CS 94. Choose the family member you identify with and stand when their name is sung. Words will have to be found out.

LOVE
Feel the Savior's love. That love will help us teach as he would teach. Singing also gives a chance to show that love that we feel for Him. Song, "I Feel My Savior's Love" CS 74.

Moroni 7:47-48, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love".

Song, "Lift Up Your Voice and Sing" CS 252.



Vicki's idea: Temple box for AD girls to prepare. Put in 20 items (like a time capsule) of things of today, picture of Primary class, coin from current year, cassette recording of your family or class a family photo, a stamp, a movie ticket, a program from sacrament meeting, school papers, report cards, family artwork, poems etc, and then open it on the day they go to the temple. Don't forget where you hid the box!