One of the purposes of the Primary Chorister calling is to teach the gospel through music. Sometimes I find myself trying to talk and explain the messages of the songs TOO MUCH!! I think many times the songs teach the message much better than I do and I need to just sing more and let the spirit talk.
A great idea I learned from my daughter Tricia several years ago is the 'SO WHAT' concept and I've been using it in Primary and it works great! Here's the concept:
After a lesson, conference talk, scripture reading, hard experience, etc, ask yourself- 'SO WHAT'. Don't say it like a spunky, sassy teenager but say it like a son or daughter of God- "SO WHAT..." Then fill in the blank with what is appropriate like-
"So what... did I learn?"
"So what... is HE trying to teach me?"
"So what...does this mean to me?"
"So what...will I do differently?"
Sometimes it may even turn into deeper reflections like-
So Why? So How? So When? So Where? or So Who?
So how do I use this in Primary? After I've taught a new song or sang an old favorite, I'll simply ask one or two children to answer- "So What... does this song teach YOU?" It's a great simple, easy, fast way for the kids to reflect on the message of the song. It also helps THEM to verbalize the lessons they have learned.
My daughter learned this concept from a gospel doctrine teacher in her ward. She can't remember his name now after all these years but whomever you are THANKS for sharing. This has helped me so many times in my life. I use it when I write in my journal, study scriptures, have a bad or good experience, listen to conference, or hear a talk or lesson in church.
For the opening song this month,, I'm doing 'Jesus Is Our Loving Friend.' This is one of my favorites from my childhood. Some of my kids know it but others don't. I hope a lot of the teachers know it. So I put a flip chart together just in case.
I think I have another new favorite Primary song. Our pick for April's program song is 'This Is My Beloved Son' CS page 76. I taught it on Sunday and the kids and teachers LOVED it. I was very surprised how fast they learned it.
Here was my plan:
When I introduce a new song I like to focus on the words and meaning of the song. I found in this book how Bro. Gardner came up with the idea for the song.
Love this book. It is out of print but you can probably find it somewhere.
I also made a flip chart for later in the year to practice with.
I finally made a decision as to what to sing for Mother's Day. We are going to do a little medley of My Mother Dear CS 203, Love Is Spoken Here CS 190, and Dearest Mother I Love You CS 206. It's nothing fancy and it's easy for my pianist. I went to LDS.org/music/index and transposed My Mother Dear and Dearest Mother I Love You to one flat (key of F Major). On the Church's website page, on the top of the song, there is a title that says 'key'. Just change it to F Major and it like magically changes the song to one flat.
It's wonderful and easy! Love Is Spoken Here is already one flat so now you have all the songs in the same key.
We are singing My Mother Dear first with a little introduction. Then we go right into Love Is Spoken Here with it's introduction as well. We are only singing the first verse. Then without an introduction we go right into Dearest Mother I Love You. Then back to Love Is Spoken Here 3rd ending to finish.
My kiddos already know Love Is Spoken Here and Dearest Mother I Love You. We'll just need a little review with the flip charts. But I need to teach My Mother Dear. So I've put together some puzzles and I'll use Sharla Dance's approach.
I'm excited to start practicing these songs. Here are the downloads if you'd like them.