Thursday, November 4, 2010

Song Presentation - Example: "If I Listen With My Heart"

This post is an example of a complete teaching plan. As I have mentioned before, I almost always use discovery questions and directed listening experiences. I believe this is the most effective way to teach a song. This method does take some training on the part of the children. Some primary children are not used to listening! But once the children understand what you are asking them to do, they usually respond very well. I'll try to post two more examples so that you will have a pretty good idea of what I typically do.

Teaching Plan - "If I Listen With My Heart"

First Week - Verse 1

Attention Getter: Show a picture of Christ and the children. Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine being with Christ. With their eyes closed, have the children listen to the song to discover how they can hear the words of Christ.

Sing the last phrase again and challenge the children to create actions to go with the phrase. Help the children sing the phrase while doing the actions.

Ask = “What are the two things I would have liked to do with the Savior?” Ask the children to create actions for this phrase as well. Sing the phrase with the actions.

Ask = “What can I do to hear the Savior’s words? Again challenge the children to create actions for this phrase.

Ask = “What word is sung on the highest note. Use pitch level conducting to discover the word. Invite the children to sing this phrase again. Emphasize the step by step building of the melody to the climax on the word “peace.”

Pass out pitch sticks for the children to use with pitch-level conducting. Use a vocal “oooooo” to help them hear the jumps in the melodic intervals. Use the sticks as you sing. After working with the pitch sticks, show the children melody charts for the phrases. Challenge them to find which chart goes with each phrase.

Use a picture of Christ and the children to review the whole verse.

Second Week - Verse 2:

Attention Getter: Tap or clap the rhythm of the first phrase. Invite the children to do it with you. Sing the first phrase while clapping the rhythm. Ask the children if they can tell if the rhythm continues on the next phrase. Sing both phrases while clapping. What about the third phrase. Does it match the rhythm? What about the fourth phrase. Does it match?

Ask = “Who speaks the words that Christ would say?” Show a picture of President Monson and have the children sing that phrase.

Ask = “What two words describe how the prophet teaches us to live? Sing this phrase with the children.

Use the echo method to teach each of the phrases for this verse. Sing a phrase and then have the children sing it back. Discuss dynamics and show how the melody builds a natural crescendo on the third phrase. Invite the children to sing the phrase with this dynamic change. Then use a picture of President Monson to review the whole verse.

Using the pictures, review both verses together.

Third week - Verse 3:

Attention Getter: Post a cut-out of a heart on the board. Using the side of a piece of chalk, shade a kind of halo around the heart. Explain to the children that we can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost as a kind of happy light in our heart and mind. Read and briefly discuss D&C 8:2.

Ask = “What other name does the song use for the Holy Ghost?”

Ask = “What does the Holy Ghost teach me?” Help the children sing that phrase and post a word strip with the word “teaches” near the heart on the board.

Ask = “What else does the Holy Ghost do for me?” (Post word strips for the words “comforts” and “testifies”) Sing this phrase with the children.

Ask = “What word describes how the Holy Spirit speaks to me?” (Post a word strip for the word “quiet”) Sing this phrase with the children.

Point out the steady accompaniment and how it contributes to a feeling of security and peace. Testify that we can rely on the Spirit and feel secure in the teachings of the gospel. We CAN feel peace in our hearts.

Prepare a smaller picture that includes the heart and the key words to review this verse. Then use the three pictures to review all the verses together.

Ideas for Review:

Use the chimes on a review week to emphasize those four important notes. D, G, A, and B

Use the paint brushes on a review week to “Paint the Melody.”

Use rhythm instruments on a review week.

Use "Action Substitutes" with the actions the children created for the first verse.

To prepare:

collect pictures: Christ and the Children, President Monson, Picture of heart with shading and 4 keywords: teaches, comforts, testifies, quiet

pitch sticks
heart cut-out
word strips for keywords: teaches, comforts, testifies, quiet

P.S. I haven't yet posted about the melody charts, the Echo Method, Chimes or "Paint the Melody." Be patient. They'll be up pretty soon. Kristin had a great post on chimes in July.


Jamie said...

Your is the BEST primary singing time blog I have found so far. This is my second time as primary chorister. The first time I had the calling I don't think there were all these blogs, or at least I wasn't aware of them, so I jsut went at it on my own and did just fine. This time I do like all the extra ideas but honestly sometimes think it is a little too much about just printing out a chart with words and pictures or going overboard with games to make sure the children are always having fun. I love, love, love your ideas and feel like they teach the children a little more about music and how to feel the sprit than just using a chart with words and pictures. I'll be back often for sure! :)

The Children Sing said...

Jamie, thanks for your comment. I also wonder if we choristers have fallen into the habit of catering to fun. It is too easy to feel like a failure if the kids are NOT having fun!!! I do know that it takes some experience to find a balance for everything. The second time around is easier, and it even gets easier after that! I am glad you are finding ideas that are helpful. Thanks for visiting.

Jeanie said...

Can you explain a little about pitch sticks?

Kathleen said...

Yes, Jeanie. Happily, a post is coming up and I apologize for being slow at it.

Deric Nance said...

Please tell us about your melody charts. You are so amazing!!!!

Mary Beth said...

I agree with Jamie, and am so appreciative of your blog and your ideas. I've been struggling with trying to simplify our singing time and not setting an expectation that every week will be something over the top. Thank you for sharing your ideas of how to quitely and simply invite the spirit into primary while helping the children to feel the spirit and enjoy primary as they learn.

Kathleen said...

Mary Beth, I'm glad that the blog is helpful and I'm glad that you understand that simplicity will be your best friend in the long term. Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your input for this song. I have taught music in a large primary for 2 years, but a little help is always appreciated. And I feel better knowing that much of what I had planned was included in this post! Thanks for helping.

Thank you for visiting The Children Sing. Check back soon for more LDS Primary Singing Time Ideas!