May 30, 2011

Dennis's Dilemma

Being a 5th Sunday yesterday, I had been given the ENTIRE time for Singing Time.  (I love my Primary Presidency!) I'd been planning this one for weeks!  

A couple of months ago I was re-organizing all of my piano music.  I love to play as well as teach & have quite a collection.  I found an OLD story that has piano music to play along with it to sound like each kind of animal.  I was the primary pianist when I was 14 years old.  The chorister at that time found this story called, "Dennis's Dilemma" from somewhere.  I don't know where, sorry.  It's about a boy who doesn't sing very well, but wants to try out for the special choir to sing in ward conference.  As he's worrying about it, various forest animals talk with him & give him advice on how to be a better musician.  The 5 things mentioned were: imitate, sing loud, repetition, have fun, & believe in yourself.  Dennis then uses their advice, tries out for the choir, and makes it.  Lesson:  You can be a better musician by following the forest animals' advice.  Perfect for a Jr. Primary!  

After the "show", I asked the children to share who their favorite animal was & why.  The #1 pick was the Bullfrog (because he advised to sing LOUD)!   We then talked about each animal in the order they visited Dennis.  I assigned certain songs to go with each animal.  We sang the assigned song to practice the advice given.  The kids LOVED IT!!!  By the time we finished, we had 5 minutes to fill.  I chose the reverent kids to choose their favorite song for us to sing.  Before we'd sing it, I'd ask them to tell me HOW they were to sing it (reverently, fun, loud).  I then praised them for truly sounding like a beautiful choir.  I asked them if they felt that they learned from the animals and if they felt like they were better singers than they were just last week.  Oh YES!!!  It was unanimous:) 

I posted the story below.  Hopefully you can just click on it just like a photograph & be able to make your own copy.  I did change a few words for my own purposes (like Dennis sitting on a bale of hay near the forest instead of on the dock of a pond).  But the original is what you get.  This whole "show" took only about 6 or 7 minutes.  The remainder of the time was spent talking & singing about each animal to reinforce the "advice".

For each forest animal, there is a short phrase of music the pianist is to play.  I re-typed them from my newly found old copy.  Each phrase is to be played twice, hence the repeat signs:)

A boy doll on a bale of hay, bird hand puppet, small bird from the dollar store, garden decor cricket & owl, a stuffed frog, 2 baskets with greenery in them to represent the forest (dollar store is great!), & a table cloth.

Animals & their songs/advice
Mockingbird:  Do As I'm Doing-pg. 276  (imitate others)  We sang this one twice.
Bullfrog:  Book of Mormon Stories-pg. 118 (sing LOUD)  FAVORITE of the kids!  They sang both verses really loud, but not yelling.  I'm sure their parents could hear them down in their Sunday School class!  We sang it just once.
Meadowlark:  If I Listen With My Heart-outline (repetition)  We used the little bird to play Hot/Cold.  We sang through all 3 verses twice!  
Cricket:  If You're Happy-pg. 266 (have fun!)  Oh my gosh!  This was super fun!  I haven't had the kids sing this song in FOREVER and they had a blast!  We sang all 4 verses one time.
Owl:  I Am a Child of God-pg. 2 (Believe in yourself)  We sang just the 1st verse.  I had some Sunbeams come up to help me conduct because they were a bit antsy still & it calmed them right down. It brought in the spirit perfectly to end with my testimony about the gift of music.  

I would do this Singing Time again in a heart beat.  It was fun for me and more importantly, fun and engaging the whole time for the kids. 


  1. thank you for sharing this. I will have to file it away to use really soon

  2. Tifany, what a cute idea! I'm so glad you decided to organize your music. ;o) I love how it encourages those children who might think they can't sing. I'm always surprised how many have developed this idea and wonder why they do. I am surely going to adapt this to our primary. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. I get 5th Sundays as well. I cannot wait to try this one out! Thank You!

  4. This sounds like a perfect activity to use post-program! I have trouble finding things to do between the program and Christmas!