December 11, 2010

Christmas Singing Time

This idea was shared by Kristen @ I Sing U Sing.  She has so many wonderful ideas that I've used over the last few weeks!  I did modify it a bit to fit my primary.  Some of the songs I chose are different & therefore I needed to use different scripture references.  I'm going to use a mini Nativity set I was given when first married many years ago.  It's one that I've always allowed my girls (that's right, no boys!) to play with even when little.  I will have all of the pieces set up except for the following:

Nativity scene:  

1.  Angel- Helaman 14:2 (sing "Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus", CS 36.  Flip chart)
2.  Mary- Luke 2:15-16 (sing "The Shepherd's Carol", CS 40.  Flip chart)
3.  Jesus- Luke 2:7 (sing "Away In a Manger", CS 42.  Chime/flip chart)
4.  Shepherd- Luke 2:8-10 (sing "Stars Were Gleaming", CS 37.  Chime/flip chart)
5.  Wiseman- Matt. 2:1, 11 (sing "Picture a Christmas", CS 50. Pics/Frame)

These pieces I will place throughout the room, in plain sight.  The children will choose one to place with the other pieces of the Nativity Scene & we'll sing the song that corresponds with it.  The Sr. Primary will also read the scriptures before singing the song.

The flip chart for "Samuel Tells..." is one from another wonderful site.  I love it when people share!  The flip chart for "The Shepherd's Carol" is one that I did and you're welcome to download.  The idea I got from the website or blog linked for "Picture A Christmas" pics/frame is worth checking out, too.  I did download my own pictures, but I didn't keep a file for it.  The flip charts for the other 2 songs & one chime chart were used by former choristers in my ward & I'm reusing them.

I made the chime chart for "Stars Were Gleaming".  I only did the first verse.  The main notes are the letters above the words that are written in blue marker (it's kind of hard to tell with this picture).  The purple letters are the harmony notes that the Sr. Primary can do.  I included the notes of the last 2 measures of the song.  It just needs to have the chimes to give it a finished sound:)  

Whew!  This Christmas Singing Time should take 2 weeks accomplish.  I'm counting on it anyway:)  We're singing songs in Sacrament Meeting this Sunday as well.  So it'll be nice to sing different Christmas songs.  Have a great weekend!  Get that shopping done:)

December 9, 2010

I Need My Heavenly Father

This week I'll be teaching the children a new reverence song.  It's a short & simple one.  I made a flip chart for it anyway.  It's only 2 pages and the last page repeats the words to slightly different notes.  So, the * represents musical repeat signs.

December 8, 2010

Could I Hold the Baby?

The primary children learned "Could I Hold the Baby?" 5 years ago for Christmas.  It is by far their favorite Christmas song!  Back when we first learned the song, the composer hadn't published it & we asked her for permission to sing it.  She granted us permission:)  I've just learned that she finally had it published!!  So I just bought the MP3 download ($1.60) with the voice & orchestral accompaniment.  It's a favorite song of mine as well.  I love it so much that I figured out the basic guitar chords for it and I'm playing/singing it at my Guitar Christmas Performance on December 15th.  Hmmm......maybe I could make those chords available.  I don't know about copyright laws, so.......?

I just wanted to share this information with you.  It's a beautiful song that brings the spirit into the room like no other Christmas song I know.  Please do a sample listen of it.  You won't regret it!   Do it, do it, do it.....

Thanks To Our Father

I set a goal to teach the Primary children more reverence songs.  They just didn't know very many & I was getting bored with rotating through the few they knew.  And I have only been the Primary Chorister since June!

As you know, we get very little time each week to teach the children the monthly songs as directed in the yearly outline.  So how can one teach them more songs above & beyond that which is required?  The Primary Presidency helped lead the way with the answer:  Prelude Music.   Our pianist plays the reverence song I want them to sing as they are coming into Primary.  If I have a flip chart, I'll ask for helpers to hold them up front for me.  As the children (Jr. Primary only) come in, I begin singing the song (all by myself! Scary, I know.)  But then the children immediately focus on the song & join in when they feel comfortable.  This prevents the children from getting giggly with their neighbors & instantly brings the spirit into the room.  We will sing the song over & over again as we first learn it.  Repetition!  So far the songs are pretty short.  When I feel the children are focused, I have them finish the song & then turn the time over to the Primary Presidency to open with prayer.  It's been wonderful!  We've learned 2 songs so far.  The first one was so short I didn't bother doing a flip chart.  It was "Reverence" on page 27a of the Children's Songbook.  I just sang it over & over (3 or 4 times) until most kids had joined me.  We did this song for 3 consecutive weeks & they had it learned.

The first 2 weeks that we learn a reverence song, we not only sing it for prelude/opening song but we also sing in during middle exercises right before the scripture & talk is given.  This way the Sr. Primary can also learn it.

I've uploaded my "Thanks To Our Father" flip chart to my scribd account for you to access & download for your own use.  One picture is of my sister, her husband, and their little baby girl.  It is used with their permission.

The Nativity Song

This is a flip chart of "The Nativity Song" from the Children's Songbook, pg. 52.   I finally learned how to convert it to PDF form!!  It only took me 3 weeks:(  Anyway, it is one of the 3 songs our Primary children are singing in Sacrament Meeting on Dec. 12th.  Our pianist plays the introduction only at the beginning of the song.  We cut it out between the verses to help the song move along.  The idea of the introduction was meant to be played while pictures could be swapped out between the verses.  However, no visuals are supposed to be used in Sacrament Meetings.

This is how the Primary are singing the song:
Verse 1:  Jr. & Sr. Primary sing
Verse 2:  Sr. Girls Only
Verse 3:  Jr. Primary Only
Verse 4:  Sr. Boys Only
Verse 5:  Jr. & Sr. Primary sing

Because I haven't yet figured out how to post a flip chart onto my blog, I submitted it to Sugardoodle.  They have posted it for me:)

December 5, 2010

Christmas Music Chain

I've had a pretty busy week.  I've spent a lot of time preparing myself & my piano students for next weeks Christmas recital.  Then on Saturday, my plan of making suckers with my girls extended from 4 hours to over 10!  Therefore, Singing Time preparations for today were non-existent.  I came up with a flimsy plan late last night & got to work on it this morning.  As I was preparing, I perused some of my favorite blogs.  I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Kristen @ "I Sing U Sing" for the idea of a Christmas Paper Chain for Singing!

Our primary is singing 3 songs in Sacrament Meeting next Sunday, December 12th.  We've been working on the songs since the first week in November.  So for today, I just wanted to go through each of the songs once and then move on.  But to what?  This is where that wonderful idea comes in:

We made a 7 link paper chain using 3 colors.  Each color represent one of the songs they are performing next week.  Each night they are to rip off a color & then practice the assigned song for their family.  The idea is to get them ready for Sunday by implementing the practicing at home for the week.

I had each "chain kit" put together & in a bag.  I handed the bags out to the teachers for their class.  Once we'd sung the 3 songs, we spent the rest of Singing Time putting the chains together.  
The children will definitely be ready for next week!!

Thanks, Kristen!

November 28, 2010

I Am Glad For Many Things

Primary Children’s Songbook pg. 151
(Lyrics only)

1.  I am glad for many things, Many things, many things.
    I am glad for many things That are mine today.

2.  I am glad for eyes that see & ears that hear when summer’s near.
     I am glad for eyes and ears that are mine today.

3.  God gave me my family, family, family.
     We are sealed for eternity.  His name I praise today!

4.  Heavn’ly Father loves me so, He sent His Son for all to know
     How to live and how to grow.  *I trust in Him each day.
                                           *(My faith I’ll show each day.)
                                           *(My faith shines bright today.)
5.  Thank you, thank you, my heart sings, My heart sings, my heart sings.
     Thank you for the many things That are mine today.

Lyrics for verses 1 & 5 are the original 2 verses published in the Songbook.
Lyrics for verses 2-4 were written by Tifany & Brynn Hoecherl, June 2008.
On verses 2-4, you will need to insert an eighth note here & there to fit the added lyrics to the timing of the song.  

*Choose whatever phrase works for you.  I just couldn’t decide!!! 
I have also made a flip chart for verses 2 and 3.  You can find it here.

Ways to Sing in an Egg Carton

This is another idea I read from someone else's blog or website.  I just can't remember where.  Sorry.  So anywho, I don't take any of the credit:)  Since I do buy 90% of our groceries at Costco (family of 6!), I specifically went to regular grocery store in search of a dozen count egg carton without any windows that the marble could fall out of.  Sheesh!  It took a few weeks, but I found one.
I randomly wrote numbers from 1-12 in the bottom of the carton.  I placed a large marble inside.  On the inside of the lid, I wrote a numbered list of different ways to sing a song (like a skunk, girls only, under water, and so forth).  I would choose someone to shake the marble around inside the closed carton.  Upon opening it, the number that the marble landed in would instruct us on how to sing the song.  I can easily change the numbered list of ways to sing at any time to better fit the type of songs we're working on.  It can be used over & over again!

Reverence Mouse

I found this free crochet pattern of a mouse.  I made one for our Jr. Primary.  Like all primary's, some days are more reverent than others.   Kids love to hold stuffed toys and animals.  On days that are a bit more difficult to maintain reverence, I'll pull out the Reverence Mouse.  As the kids sing the songs, I'll watch for someone being reverent & yet still singing.  I'll hand them the Reverence Mouse to hold through the next song & then pass it on to someone else, repeating for each song.  
It's amazing how quickly the children will calm down:)  I have also pulled the mouse out for comforting purposes.  Sometimes the little Sunbeams become upset for one reason or another & cry.  To help them feel better & to hopefully keep them in Primary, I'll give them the mouse to hold.  Then the entire Jr. Primary will sing that child's favorite song or a reverence song to help him feel better.  It works every time!

It's Autumntime

This is an idea I read about on Sugardoodle.  I already had store bought material leaves from a few years ago & I always have yarn:)
I used a blunt craft needle to thread the yarn through the leaf.  I tied a knot on both sides of the leaf to prevent it from coming off.
I left about an 8" tail of yarn for the children to hold on to & sway the leaf in time with the music.  It's a wonderful way to explain the "feel" of the songs.  

We began by singing "It's Autumntime" (CS pg. 246).  We swayed the leaves in time with the beat.  Once comfortable with that, we had the pianist set the tempo.  When he sped up, we swayed faster.  When he slowed, we swayed slower.  

We also used this concept with "Rain Is Falling All Around"(CS pg. 241).  Except we sang "Leaves are falling all around".  The Jr. Primary children loved it & they could hear & feel the tempo differences.  

Thomas E. Normous

This is Thomas E. Normous.  He doesn't have any tail feathers.  They were originally plucked to prepare Thomas for someone's Thanksgiving Feast.  However, he got lucky and didn't end up on anyone's table!  So the Jr. Primary worked hard to give him his beautiful tail feathers back for another year.  They earned 3 feathers for every song they sang today to help Thomas's tail return.  

 They absolutely loved it!
One thing that I have learned recently as the Primary Chorister is that Jr. Primary children love to build things......and Sr. Primary children love to tear them down!  So once the Jr. Primary succeeded in giving Thomas his tail, Sr. Primary proceeded to pluck them right out again!  Everyone was happy.  Well, except Thomas E. Normous:(   See ya next year, Thomas E. Normous!!

I made Thomas E. Normous by crocheting around a 6" styrofoam ball (body), and a 3" one (head).  This way the feathers can be pushed in over & over again & hold firm.  I don't have a pattern, I just did it free hand.  I made the feet & stuffed them so that Thomas could stand independently.  Thanks to my oldest daughter, Brynn, for coming up with a clever name for him!

November 21, 2010

Turkey Land of the Free

Here is Tommy the Turkey & his wife Betsy.  They love each other very much!  

Oh, no!  Tommy has been kidnapped to be served for Thanksgiving Dinner!  

Betsy was able to get away & go to "Turkey Land of the Free".  She missed Tommy so much!  She knew that he didn't have a good chance of getting away to live with her again in the beloved land of free turkeys. 

  But Betsy just knew that if the primary children could sing the songs beautifully and strong, Tommy would be able to sneak away from certain doom & on to freedom, one plate at a time.  


First they sang "The Nativity Song".   Twice!  They were able to help Tommy get off the carving plate:)  Next came the Giving Thanks Medley.  The children did such an awesome job of sing two songs as one that Tommy was able to sneak over 2 more plates!  Nice job kiddos!  He's just one song away from eternal bliss.  What better way to guarantee his freedom than to sing "Could I Hold the Baby?"?  *Sigh!*  They did it!  Tommy & his beloved wife, Betsy, lived happily ever after in freedom.


P.S.  I forgot to take a final picture of them together in freedom.  You'll just have to imagine how wonderful it was:)

November 20, 2010

Giving Thanks Medley

I've been teaching the children 2 songs:  Thanks to Our Father & I Am Glad for Many Things.   So I had an idea last week.  I put the two songs together to make a medley.  I will be teaching it to the kids tomorrow!  I have a flip chart already made for Thanks To Our Father & we'll just use those for this medley.  Then I'll just have a heart with music notes on it for the 4th verse.  I'm confident they all know the 1st verse:)

I also went on the LDS Music website & copied off both songs individually.  Then I placed Thanks to Our Father under I Am Glad for Many things & re-copied it as a single page for our pianist.  This will make it easier for him to go from one song to the other & back again.  Can't wait to try it out! 

Giving Thanks Medley Lyrics

Verse 1:  I Am Glad…CS 151
I am glad for many things, many things, many things.  I am glad for many things that are mine today.

Verse 2:  Thanks to Our…CS 20b
Eyes and ears and hands and feet, clothes to wear, and food to eat;

Verse 3:  Thanks to Our… CS 20b
Father, mother, baby small, Heav’nly Father gives us all.

Verse 4:  I Am Glad… CS 151
Thank you, thank you, my heart sings, my heart sings, my heart sings.  Thank you for the many things that are mine today.

November 13, 2010

"Christmas Bells" Rhythm

I have chosen 3 Christmas songs for the primary children to sing in Sacrament Meeting on December 12th.  The first song is "Christmas Bells" C.S. 54    It has a descant that can be sung with it.  I will have the Sr. Primary Girls sing the descant and the Sr. Boys & all of the Jr. Primary sing the main part.

The rhythm can be tricky.  Many of the words are sung to 2 consecutive notes before moving on to the next word.  So I decided to start off by teaching the Jr. Primary to clap the rhythm of the song.  I had our pianist play the melody notes as I began to clap along with the rhthym.  As the children became more familiar with it, they joined in clapping.  Once they had it, we added humming along with clapping the rhythm.  Soon I was singing the words while clapping.  They joined in singing when they became more familiar with the words.  We did all of this at a much slower pace than we'll actually sing it for the performance.  We then changed up our clapping & did it on our laps or combined the two as we sang it over and over again.  They got it down!   Because our time was short, I didn't have time to bring out the bell bracelets I'd made.  But we'll use them this week!

For the Sr. Primary, I drew the notes of both the main part & the descant part on a white board.  The blue notes are the main part (Sr. Boys and all of Jr. Primary), the purple notes are the descant (Sr. Girls). My goal was just to get them to see the rhythm difference of the notes.  I had ALL of Sr. Primary follow along with my clapping by watching the blue notes.  Then, like Jr. Primary, the pianist added just the melody notes as we went.  Then we added the words, and ta-duh!......they had it down, too.  Now they don't really need to see the notes to learn the rhythm.  But to add the descant to it makes it easier to follow along if they have the visual of the rhythm.  So next we all hummed & clapped out the descant rhythm.  Once they had it, I had the boys rest while the girls learned the words & sang it.  We then put the 2 parts together.  After the 2nd attempt, FABULOUS!!!  I ended up having a boy that sings loudly & can stay on his part to stand up front with me & lead the boys.  PERFECT!  

I pulled out the bell bracelets I'd crocheted for them.  The boys would shake them to the rhythm as they were singing and the girls shook them to the descant rhythm as they sang.  It was totally awesome!!!  We had a lot of fun and they learned the song, both parts!  

The descant, as we learned, is written quite high.  I'm an alto, so there are times where I just lip sync songs on high notes anyway.  However, most of the girls were struggling with the range.  The Primary President suggested jumping onto the LDS website to lower it.  I did just that after church & we'll sing it this week.    

Conducting Elephant

A few months ago, I decided to make a Conducting Elephant.  On white poster board, my oldest daughter drew a cute elephant for me.  I colored it & cut out a circular hole in place of the elephant's trunk.
I found a large piece of cardboard.  I cut it slightly larger around than the poster board.  I painted the outer edges green and about an inch wide.  I painted the "trunk" edge pink.  This trunk hole is slightly SMALLER than the elephant's actual trunk circle.  It helps keep the abused look to a minimum.  I found 6 used canning jar lids & glued them to the cardboard.
I placed magnets on the back of the elephant poster board, lining them up with the jar lids.  I chose to take the time for this so that I can make other posters later & just be able to switch them as needed.
Lastly, I made a handle out of heavy cardboard & glued it onto the back of the cardboard. I used 527 Glue.

And there you have it: Conducting Elephant!  
I have multiple old long socks for the children to choose from.  They place the sock on their conducting arm & use it as the elephant's trunk to help lead the music.  I use this prop only for the Jr. Primary.  The Sr. are just way too cool for it.  I sometimes need to help the kids hold up the elephant.  It is a bit heavy.  But they love it & sing beautifully!

If this looks familiar it's because I had this idea posted on Sugardoodle  just a couple of months ago.  Great website!