Friday, November 5, 2010

Song Presentation - Example: "Stand for the Right"

“Stand for The Right” - Analysis

Message: Our prophet extends a challenge to be true in our obedience and to stand for the right at all times. (There is an unspoken message that this will take courage. The prophet assumes that we have it.)

Words to explain: words (meaning counsel), true, stand

Key words: prophet, words (2x), true (4x), work, play, darkness, light, stand, right

Phrases: There are four phrases. “Be true’ is repeated four times. The message is taught clearly and emphatically. The key phrase would be “Be true...and stand for the right.” Both the scripture in Duet 6:18 and in Alma 53:20-21 help reinforce this message. The rhyming words are you/true and light/right.

Actions or Visuals: picture of President Monson. “Work,” “play,” “darkness” and “light” could also be illustrated with pictures or maybe sign language. I actually think this would be a great song to learn sign language (ASL). It is short and fairly simple, so even a few signs could suffice.


Who has some words for you?
What are the words?
When should we be true?
Where should we be true?
What should we do as well as be true
How many times do I sing “be true?”

Notes About the Music

Signature: The key is D major. 3/4 time. Beginning pitch is A. The vocal range is one octave from D above middle C to a high D.

Mood: The mood is marked “emphatically.” The tempo is fast -allegro. This is much faster than we normally sing it. Its pretty easy to drag this song, I need to remember to sing it up to the tempo. The tempo is consistent throughout the song, but should slow a bit at the end. The mood feels very deliberate. It is very straightforward and definite. The descending scale on the last phrase needs to be sung with emphasis.

Dynamics: There are no marked dynamics and since the mood is so deliberate I think it should be mf throughout with maybe a slight swell on the downward scale on the last phrase.

Melody: The melody moves in steps and there are a number of repeated notes. The first note in most of the measures is held longer. Most of the intervals are either seconds or thirds - very comfortable and natural to sing. One exception is a (4th) jump between the A and a high D. This D is the highest note and somewhat difficult to sing, but we move off it quickly. I think this last phrase is the climax. The notes in this phrase move down the scale from high D to F sharp, up one step to the G and down again to the D. The climax is reached with that vocal jump to the high d on “be true.” The melody moves over “words” in the second phrase and “true” in the last phrase. I’ll need to point this out and maybe show a picture of the slurred notes. Using pitch-level conducting could show the intervals and the nice descending scale in the melody. Matching melody charts to the phrases would also work.

Phrases: There are 4 phrases. The third phrase is identical in tone to the first, but the rhythm is slightly different. There is an added eighth note which nicely matches the natural rhythm of the words in this phrase. The form would be ABAC.

Rhythm: Most of the measures have a long-short rhythm with a half note followed by a quarter note or a dotted quarter followed by an eighth. The last phrase has all quarter notes on the descending scale. This steady rhythm seems to add strength and emphasis to the challenge to be true and to stand for the right.

Accompaniment: The long regular tones in the accompaniment stirs feelings of resolution and commitment. There are strong alto notes as well. I could teach some of the older kids or the teachers to sing the alto part. If we learn the song with the melody only and add the accompaniment later, the kids should be able to hear how it adds to the dignity of the song.

Challenges: This is a pretty straightforward song, without any real challenges. I need to discuss what it means to be true and stand for the right. It isn’t as hard to sing a slurred word as it would be to sing distinct notes, but I should still point out the slurs.

Teaching Plan - “Stand for the Right”

Attention Getter: Show a picture of the prophet Joseph Smith and read JSH 1:25. All of our prophets have urged us to do what Joseph Smith did. Ask the children to listen to the song to hear what Joseph Smith did.

The questions seem to center around the 5 W’s so I will use that method to teach the words of the song. I’ll use the word strips and ask the children to discover WHO the song is about (prophet), WHAT the prophet has for us (words), WHAT the counsel is (be true) and (stand for the right), WHEN we should do it (in darkness or light -always), and WHERE we should do it (at work or play - everywhere). Although not actually written into the song, I could point out the unspoken message and ask the children HOW we should stand for the right (courageously, or the children may think of other words). Testify that we can meet the challenge to be obedient and live righteously.

As the children discover the answers to the questions, teach them the ASL signs for those words and then practice the phrases one at a time.

Use pitch-level conducting or melody charts to show the intervals and the nice descending scale in the melody.

Postpone using the accompaniment. After the children have learned the words, have them listen to the music and ask them if the accompaniment adds dignity to the song.

Review ideas: Use “Action Substitutes” with the ASL signs replacing the words as we sing. Play “Sing that Phrase.” Find four (or eight) scriptures or quotes of prophets challenging us to be obedient and righteous. Number these quotes from one to four and then number the phrases of the song. Draw the papers from a can and read the quote. Have the pianist play that numbered phrase and challenge the kids to recognize and sing that phrase. Testify to the children that prophets have always challenged us to be true and to stand for the right.

To prepare: picture of Joseph Smith, 5 W’s word strips, worm puppet or melody charts for the phrases, pictures of the slurred notes for “be tru-e,” several quotes or scriptures of other prophets on numbered papers (for the review game.)


Anonymous said...

can you explain what a melody chart is and how to make one?

Kathleen said...

A melody chart is simply a "picture" of the melody, some way to visually represent the way the melody moves. So you could draw a phrase of the song on the chalkboard, with a single line that depicts the melody moving up and down in steps. You could draw dots or stars to represent the notes, and put these on different levels, somewhat like the way the musical notes are written on the staff lines. This kind of picture just helps the children visualize, in some way, what their voices are doing with the notes.

You can make a paper chart for each phrase of the song and ask the children to listen and put the charts in order according to what they hear. You could draw the melody lines on the chalkboard and ask the children to number them as to which "picture" comes first, then second, etc. You could use laminated die-cut numbers with magnets. Ask a child to place a number on the correct line picture. If you think about it, there are lots of ways to help the children connect with these melody "pictures."

Kimberly said...

Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for all the great ideas on your blog. I have been chorister for a couple of years now and was starting to feel like I was coming up "dry" and that everything on the internet I'd already seen. I love how focused your ideas are on the gospel and how essentially simple they are. Thanks again - I'm sure I'll be back often.

Kathleen said...

Well, Kimberly, you are so welcome. I know the feeling of coming up dry and I'm glad to have given you some new encouragement.

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