Saturday, November 6, 2010

Song Presentation - Example: "The Lord Gave Me a Temple"

“The Lord Gave Me a Temple” - Analysis

Message: My body is the temple of my spirit. It is a gift from my Heavenly Father. If I keep it clean and pure, I can claim promised blessings, including eternal life.

Words to explain: claim, resurrection, celestial glory

Key words: Lord, body(3x), temple(4x), spirit(2x), free, Father, clean, pure, habit-free, claim, promised, resurrection, celestial glory, forever, light

There are a lot of key words in this song. Important principles are taught! The song talks about two temples. I’ll need to make sure the kids understand that these are different, but also similar. The temple becomes a metaphor for our body. The words are interchangeable in the song. The children need to understand this but I’m not sure the young ones can understand metaphors! :o/ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 may help.

Rhyming words are earth/birth, free/me, habit-free/me, bright/light. The rhyming words will help the children remember the phrases.

Phrases: There are two verses with four phrases each. Eight phrases altogether. In the first verse, the first phrase and the last phrase state the same thing except for “the Lord” and “my Father.” This could be a little tricky to explain. Unless someone brings it up, I’ll likely leave it alone. The words “body,” “spirit,” and “temple” are completely intertwined. I’ll need to think of ways to help make this clear. Hopefully, the activities in four weeks of sharing time will also help teach this adequately.

Actions or Visual or Music Aids: I could use a puppet and my hand to illustrate the concept of body and spirit together and separate. I can show pictures of temples and discuss how our bodies are like and yet different from temples. I could make word strips or cards with the rhyming words.


Which word describes where I lived as a spirit?
What has the Lord given me?
What word describes what I was in heaven?
When did I leave my heavenly home?
What is the temple my Father gave to me?
What will I do with my body-temple?
What will I do for my spirit?

What two words describe when I will take my body?
What two words describe where I will live in light?
Where may I claim blessings promised to me?
What words describe how I will keep my body?
What word describes how long I will live in glory?

Notes About the Music

Signature: key is D major. 4/4 time. Beginning pitch is F sharp. Range is a full octave from D to high D. The mood marking indicates we should sing the song “sweetly.” The tempo is brisk but not fast - andante to moderato. The tempo stays steady throughout, and matches the conversational feeling of the words. There are no marked dynamics and keeping things steady here also matches the narrative style of the song. We could swell with a little more determination on “I’ll make my temple brighter, I’ll keep my spirit free.” This would emphasize this active commitment.

Melody: There are four phrases in the song. The first and second phrases begin the same and move smoothly in steps up and down the scale. The second phrase changes after the word “but,” with two steps up and then a wide interval (5th) between the E and the B. This change reinforces the change that happened at birth. The third phrase begins with an interval (4th) between the A and the high D and then comes down the scale, two steps back up and then down again to an E. The final phrase is very similar to the first phrase. It repeats the notes in a slightly different form and rhythm, but ends exactly as the same. This makes a nice musical “inclusio” or envelope for everything in the middle. The form is ABCD. I like the way the melody moves up and down and it feels very smooth. I could demonstrate this by drawing a melody line in the air with my hand. If I then show melody pictures (charts) drawn with a line I could ask the children to find the order of the phrases by looking at these charts. The words “temple” and “spirit” are drawn out over three tones. I could have the children listen for this.

I think the music emphasizes the words in the third phrase beautifully with the vocal jump followed by the descending scale. I can testify of the principle that effort and obedience now will result in future happiness.

Rhythm: Three of the four phrases have a quick eighth note pick up. The other rhythms are very even half notes and quarter notes. It feels very steady, not too exciting, but it supports the conversational tone of the song.

Accompaniment: Chords add beauty and majesty to the song-just what a temple needs. The upward movement in the accompaniment, beginning just before and continuing into the third phrase builds to the climax on that high D. I could show pictures of beautiful temples around the world while the children listen to the music and ask them for words that describe the music.

Challenges: The main challenge for this song will be remembering the words for both verses, especially for the younger kids. The concepts are too abstract to illustrate with picture cues. We’ll just have to sing it a lot to solidify the words in their memory. The rhyming words could help. I could make a chart with these words listed to use as a cue-card on review weeks.

Teaching Plan: “The Lord Gave Me a Temple”

Attention Getter: Use a puppet and my hand as an object lesson to show the two parts of the soul. Read D&C 88:15. Ask the children to listen to a song and discover another word for body. After the children name it explain how the temples and our bodies are alike in the need to remain beautiful, clean and pure from wickedness.

Use “Mystery Words” with the discovery questions to teach the words of the song. (Simply put, “Mystery Words” is an activity where cards are folded over and taped with the answer word inside. The discovery question is written on the back of the card and question marks are drawn on the front. The cards are posted on the board. A child chooses a mystery word card and reads the question. Sing the song and let the other children discover the word. Open the card to see if the answer is correct.)

Demonstrate the eighth note pick up. Have a child clap the beat. Show where the eighth notes come and invite the children to clap with you. Explain that there are three of these pick ups in the song and challenge the children to find them.

Point out the commitment in the words of the third phrase (verse 1) and ask the children what we could do with the music to emphasize this commitment. Sing the phrase with a slight crescendo and then ask the children if that helps us sound more determined. Point out how the vocal jump and descending scale also emphasize the words of commitment in this phrase. Testify of the principle that effort and obedience equals happiness now and in the future.

Ask = "Can you hear which two words are said over three tones in the melody?” After the children discover the words (temple and spirit), demonstrate how to sing the first part of the word on the first two notes and finish the word on the third.

Show how the melody moves smoothly up and down by drawing a melody line in the air with my hand. Invite the children to follow you and sing the song. Then show a chart of the melody line for each phrase and ask the children to put these in order.

Listen to the music while showing several pictures of temples to the children. Ask them to think of words that describe the music. Tell them I think it sounds “majestic.”

As a way to help the children remember the words, ask them to listen for the words that rhyme. Show a cue-card with these pairs of words listed. Use the card in reviewing the song until they are confident with the words

To review: (I could choose any of the song review methods)

Prepare: puppet, “mystery words” activity, melody charts with line drawings, pictures of temples, cue card with rhyming pairs of words.


Marisa said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to share this! This is so helpful to me as a fairly new primary chorister. I LOVE your blog. All of it has helped me so much and I've used a lot of your ideas. Thank you again.

The Children Sing said...

Well Marisa, you are very welcome! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Jenny in NC said...

I haven't had great success with listening questions in the past--seemed kind of boring, or maybe my questions weren't phrased well. Thanks for giving examples of how you do it. I like the "mystery words" idea because it adds a little fun to the process of asking questions.

The Children Sing said...

Jenny, I know that it takes some practice to learn how to use questions, and just asking one question after another can seem sort of boring. The trick is either to break them up with other kinds of listening activities and/or to think of different ways to present the questions. Don't forget that you can ask questions about what is happening with the music as well.

Of course, it helps to be able to remember the questions you were going to ask! This is a bit of a problem for me on this chorister go-round -- I seem to lose my train of thought at a critical time! The kids have learned to laugh with me and just roll their eyes. So I have to find ways to write those pesky things down, hence "mystery words." That activity is really a memory crutch for me. LOL! I also find that it helps when I've reviewed my plans adequately. It seems that I have to be even more prepared than when I was younger and could just remember everything I was going to say!

tawna said...

Your thoroughness and thoughtfulness is incredible! I will be using this next Sunday as we start to learn this song. Awesome and thank you!!

Greg and Nicolle said...

This is so great, thank you!

ecuakim said...

Wow! Music Theory 101! I am impressed by the depth of your musical knowledge, as well as your ability to share it with others and to teach the children. Very thorough and insightful. Thank you.

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