“When You Hear...” is another method which takes advantage of movement and actions. Challenge the children to listen carefully and do several actions when they hear certain things in the song. For instance, say “Put your hand around your ear when you hear me sing about listening.” “Raise your hand when you hear who we should obey.” “Stand up each time you hear me sing about the Savior.” Sing the song and then after the children have responded, sing that part of the song together. Repeat with other things to listen for. After several times through the song invite the children to sing the entire song with you.
You can increase the difficulty by linking the actions. You could say “Raise one finger when you hear a question in the song and another finger when you hear the answer.” Two or even three actions are doable and fun for the older kids, but don’t try to string too many together at one time.
I like this method and think it works best in teaching songs that are medium to short in length. Longer songs should be broken up into shorter sections. If the song goes on for too long, the kids will forget what they are listening for! To keep things interesting, I usually combine this method with another simple method like choosing pictures for the phrases. “When You Hear...” doesn’t require any preparation and can easily add a little variety and movement to whatever else you might plan.
Some teaching methods, like this one, are really simple and work best in combination with something else. Because I like discovery questions so much I always use these "directed listening" kinds of activities when I teach a new song. Using more than one method gives the children some variety, especially if they just don't seem to respond to your primary method of teaching. Watch for two more of these simple teaching methods coming up in this week's posts.