Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Random Explanation

Practical help and ideas are so important to new Primary choristers. The whole reason I decided to blog, in the first place, was to make my primary chorister "file" available to my daughters-in-law and my daughter who might someday receive this assignment. It occurs to me that I should try to explain what's going on in my head with this blog. It might then make a whole lot more sense to those of you who are currently trying to use it. So here is my attempt to explain what I'm doing here.

Blogging technology makes it so easy for me take something out of my primary music box, show it and explain how to use it. I can easily take the notes in my "file" and make them digital. In my posts, I try hard to show how to find an idea or how to take an idea and adapt it to be what it could be in another circumstance. In my own, humble way I am trying to give my sweet daughters the benefit of my primary chorister experience, sometime in the future when they might need it and I might be unavailable. My children tell me that this blog will be available forever. Hmm. That is kind of a scary thought.

Because I'm currently in the calling I try to use the current outline and themes as the vehicle for my explanations. And I enjoy showing what I'm currently using and doing. But, in actuality, my investment in this blog is really more in trying to show how the material can be adapted and used in different circumstances and with different content. I'm trying to show how to look beyond the current content for the "skeleton" of an idea or activity. If one can develop eyes to do this, almost any idea can be made to work for you.

I may have mentioned that I keep a master list of these idea skeletons, basic activities that can be adapted to almost any subject. I review and usually choose from this list as I prepare my singing times each week. Years ago, the church published a Sharing Time Manual and in the front was a grid with a list of basic sharing time activities on the left and where those activities were illustrated in the manual. This is how I learned how to keep and use such a list.

My posts are largely based on my master list and the post titles will often reflect this. I tend to think in terms of three main categories: methods for how to present and teach songs, ideas for song review, and ideas for teaching the gospel through "choose and review" singing times. You'll find these categories reflected in the labels. I am also trying to methodically show the musical aids I have found or made and how I use them. And then there are random thoughts and the encouragement thoughts because I so want to encourage. People who have never filled this assignment cannot imagine what it takes - it's not for sissies!

So this is where I'm coming from with this blog. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many people, other than my family, would be interested in this information. I realize that there are many of you who are new and inexperienced right now and need help and encouragement. I am deeply grateful that this blog might be of use to you as well.

An unexpected benefit to me, in this blogging effort, is that your comments help me know what my daughters really might want and need in the future. Your questions and comments help me refine and clarify my thoughts and so this blog might actually become what I want it to be. It might really end up filling the measure of it's creation. In your comments you are always thanking me, but in reality, these feelings are prompted by the Spirit that is in the common work we do, so I thank you back. I especially thank you for leaving comments. I can feel your faithfulness in your words and this encourages me also.

I hope you will continue to help me by asking questions and giving suggestions and ideas. If something I write about doesn't make sense, I hope someone will point it out. My daughters (and I and everyone else) will benefit greatly from you as well.


Jenni Taysom said...

I started reading your blog when I was music leader and now I continue to read it because as a mother of young children you share many ideas that I want to use for teaching my own children in my home.
Music in the home is a great way to teach children the gospel.
I really appreciated your sparkle posts - again the principles you shared relate not only to a calling as a music leader, but more importantly as a mother teaching young children on a daily basis. I really needed to hear the comments about how sometimes it's just about work, that is something I need to remember in my callings as well as at home.

The Children Sing said...

Thank you Jenni,I'm glad you are "adapting"! LOL. That's really just what I want to hear. I hope you can enjoy a new calling, change can be good too. I'm glad you will still be reading and I hope you'll continue to contribute comments.

Kristin said...

Thanks for the nice comments over on my blog, Kathleen! I also appreciate all that you share here. Thanks for the reminders to be spiritually prepared first. It's a wonderfully important lesson, and you teach it well.

Marquette Mower said...

Thank you so much for this blog Mom. It is really fantastic and uplifting, and I'm not even in Primary yet. :) I sure appreciate all you do for us, your kids. You're amazing.

Nalani said...

I have had just about every calling in the Primary over the years except music. Was I surprised to be called as Primary Chorister after all these years. Never having sung in front of anyone before, I know my Father in Heaven has guided me through this experience. As I study and pray about my music lesson, I often find I am learning along with the children. I have enjoyed finding your blog and others to help guide us newbies (although as a grandma I'm not much of a newbie in age; but I am young at heart—if that counts! LOL). I especially like blogs like yours that helps show how to connect the gospel principles as we learn the songs. I have come up with ideas of my own as well as have taken ideas from others, like you, and have added my own personal "touch" to them. Thank you for inspiring me. Now, how do I organize my idea boxes (already growing too large) so that I can peruse a list without rummaging through boxes? (I love crafts and being creative and that is a dangerous mix for a Primary Chorister.) I enjoyed your Random Explanation post and do have the old Sharing Time Manual with the matrix that you referred to. Would you mind explaining in more detail how you organize your list? For example, do you use the same labels from your blog? Thanks again for helping to inspire others.

The Children Sing said...

Nalani, thanks for both of your questions. I knew that sooner or later I would have to further explain my master list. I've been postponing in order to get enough examples posted so that the explanation will be illustrated adequately. Maybe its time to get serious about that post. :o) In the meantime, to answer your immediate question, the labels don't really reflect the list, but under certain labels, my post titles do. Largely those posts under the labels "choose and review" and "reviewing songs" are taken from my list.

I actually do have a "filing" method for all my small stuff that works pretty well for me. I'll take a picture and do a post of that as well -as soon as I can. ;O) I wonder how other choristers handle this. I've got stuff from many years of singing and sharing time, and have run out of room. I just actually threw away my cute marching band hat, because I don't have a good way to store it without smashing it and I just decided to make it again next year! Unless it fits well in a box, I'm in trouble with storage. Thanks again for your comment and I hope you'll watch for upcoming posts.

HeatherWasHere said...

I found your blog today (searching for ways to teach "If I Listen With My Heart...yikes!) and am just devouring it. I am in the calling for the second time and it is truly the best calling in the church. The first time I was called, I wasted a lot of time fretting that I wasn't the typical "chorister" personality. I wasn't good at making cute visuals, exciting games, and my voice was serviceable at best. But over time, I came to see that I could just be me and be okay.

This second time around I feel so much more comfortable and try to play to my strengths, which are a firm testimony of sacred music, a deep love for the kids, and a desire to create situations where the Holy Ghost can teach them. I am learning so much from your posts and I look forward to using ideas and methods here to help in my (very large, very sweet) Primary. I am so excited to get planning!

Thank you Kathleen!

Kathleen said...

Welcome to the blog, Heather. I am very glad to be of help.

Deb said...

I stumbled upon this part of your blog quite by accident, while coming back to look at your pot holder pattern again - I didn't realize you were LDS! My first calling after 17 years of inactivity was Primary Chorister! BEST CALLING EVER! My first song to teach was "The Books of the Old Testament" - YIKES! I was given LOTS of advice and boxes of visual aids, which just confused me... I earnestly prayed for help, and woke up with the most amazing solution. My peers were skeptical, but the children learned quickly through phrasing and the motions I was prompted to use! Heavenly Father truly guides us when we seek his help - and I was somehow able to teach without any visual aids. As long as I prayed earnestly for help, the Spirit guided me. I have never been on my knees as much as I was during that calling! It was a truly, humbling experience, and it ANCHORED me back the gospel. I'll forever be grateful to those leaders, who never questioned the unusual promptings to call an inactive woman to work with the the Primary Children!

Thanks again Kathleen - for this blog, and for my pot holder pattern!

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