You’ve made it to the final part of the Primary Survey! This is a 4-post series that answers the most frequently asked Primary questions with results from actual music leaders!!
I originally complied the data and wrote one MASSIVE post back in 2022. However, it was super long and it was hard to share with anyone when someone would have one of the relevant questions. So, I’ve broken the post down to make it easier to digest based on 3 main topics, plus the introduction post which has super interesting demographics!
In this post, I’ll share ideas for how music leaders prepare for singing time. We’ll go through weekly activities prep, using visuals, and even the budget!
Take the time to visit the original main post to dive into the demographics that are super fascinating and give a lot of additional insights, especially international shifts in the results! Head over to read the original post here.
Preparing for Singing Time
Now, we will explore questions about how music leader prepare ahead of time for Primary! This next series of question covers how much time music leaders spend prepping, how far in advance they plan, all the favorite singing time resources.
Then, we’ll transition to some questions on flip charts, song visuals, and even the Primary budget! The questions included in this post are:
- 11: How much time do you spend each week preparing for Singing Time?
- 12: How far in advance do you plan your Singing Time activities?
- 13: What are your favorite resources for finding singing time ideas?
- 14: Do you use flip charts?
- 15: How do you most often make your visuals and song helps?
- 16: How much of a budget do you have for Singing Time each year?
11: How much time do you spend each week preparing for Singing Time?
The majority of music leaders (1 in 3) spend about 1 hour each week planning for Singing Time.
From there, the results are all relatively close with the next most frequent answer being that 22% think about Primary all week long!
One sister talked about simplifying singing time efforts and that we should be putting less stress and time into fulfilling our callings. Instead, focusing on the important aspect of teaching from the heart and connecting with the kids personally.
I’ve heard this thought before come up in the Facebook group. I’d love to hear more perspectives on this. When I hear this it sounds like their saying all the various ideas are “too much” just for the sake of saying they are too much? Maybe it’s just me.
I guess my creative side tends to think spending a half hour or so printing and assembling or gathering supplies, or creating an interactive lesson is not a wasted effort at all if you have the time to devote to such efforts. From my experience, they almost always payoff with really engaging singing time for the kids that are memorable and fun.
Of course, if you are tight on time there are tons of ways to make planning quick and easy! I hope that my printable singing time ideas on this blog help make your planning easy and painless!
I do agree that no one should be feel that they HAVE to take time away from other important responsibilities just to make an elaborate singing time if their current circumstances would require making big sacrifices to make that happen.
When I’m ready to run another survey, I’d love to dig a little deeper on this topic! If you have any good questions in mind, I’d love to hear your ideas on how to “unpack” this question a little more.
The INSTANT Primary Singing membership helps cut back on the overall time needed for singing time prep! You’ll get a 1-click download with lots of singing time ideas for each of the monthly songs plus holiday activities!
The membership includes extended printables not offered as part of my free in-post printables. It will save you time, effort, and give you TONS of added value! Learn more about the membership offer and grab the free I Am a Child of God packet in this post.
12: How far in advance do you plan your Singing Time activities?
There are a LOT of different ways to plan your singing time and I knew this question would need a lot of options, but still I find the answers fascinating!
Most Primary music leaders (25%) plan Singing Time during the week for the upcoming Sunday. Interestingly, 5% wait until Saturday night or early Sunday morning to finalize their plan.
I did include an option in the survey for “I wing it! I don’t plan anything in advance” as that was how the music leader just before me operated singing time. However less than 1% selected this option, and each respondent had at least 3 years experience as a music leader.
I had a couple responses in the comment that talked about planning ahead of time and then filling in additional details as it got closer. Such as picking the songs in advance and then finalizing the activity during the week. Or making a rough plan for the year, and then fleshing out the details as it got closer.
Those in Utah are have a few slightly skewed stats with 18% that plan a month at a time and 29% plan during the week, but fewer prepare a rough plan at the beginning of the year (8%).
13: What are your favorite resources for finding singing time ideas?
A Note About Facebook Bias:
A big disclaimer for these stats, before we dive in further. I ONLY shared the survey link in a Facebook Group. I planned to share a link to the survey here on my blog as well, but I had a wonderful response (over 350 people took the survey) that I went ahead and just tallied the results and wrote up this post.
This obviously meant that since the source of the survey came from one particular resource, most would also suggest that location as a very helpful place to find Singing Time ideas.
Of course, I completely agree that a Facebook group is a wonderful resource!! But, it can also be VERY overwhelming with tons and tons of posts and not everyone uses Facebook.
I do think it’s just important to remember the bias in this response, and hopefully over time the results will become a little more balanced and fair as others take the survey by finding the link from additional resources such as on this post or from a social share. 🙂
Most Popular Resources for Singing Time Ideas:
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the results!
More than 9 out of 10 respondents utilize Facebook Groups to find singing time ideas!
One comment mentioned that Facebook has been the most helpful as it points to all sorts of different resources. There was also a thought about being able to use different resources was helpful because it gives totally different types of activities as people think and create differently – love that!
Another popular resource is finding singing time ideas on blogs or websites with 40% of music leaders marking this as one of their favorite resources! I did create a really long in-depth post with over 70 resources for singing time ideas here.
It was a really close result between both Pinterest (30%) and YouTube (29%) being the next best go-to place to find idea for Singing Time.
I would love for you to follow me on your favorite and preferred platforms! I have Pinterest Boards themed by song title that are a wonderful resource!
You’ll also find easily organized activities by song title in the Facebook Group for Singing Time Ideas!
A great resource one person commented was using music professionals to learn how to teach music! I love that! And of course relying on learning from others can be a great resource! 17% found previous music leaders or a friend helpful.
One final note on inspiration for singing time: I did receive a couple responses about inspiration being the leading guide for what to do in Singing Time. Of course, that would have made a wonderful option on the list. But, I also think the Spirit guides us to finding ideas and how to adapt them to our own Primary.
Inspiration most likely has big influence on how many plan and implement the activities they use in singing time! I think it’s a given, even if we don’t always recognize the Spirit guiding us, all good ideas thoughts and promptings come from the Spirit!
14: Do you use flip charts?
I feel like this one is a HOT topic. Like one of those taboo political topics you really shouldn’t get in the middle of. It seems a little polarizing into camps of “you should never” and those that choose to frequently use flip charts.
Well, the results area actually almost as polarizing as the topic seems. It’s pretty evenly split between 41% rarely or occasionally use flip charts and the other 43% use flip charts often or most weeks. These numbers came from grouping the two least often and then the 2 most often responses.
The most popular option, by a slight margin at 28%, was to use flip charts whenever they are helpful in Singing Time. I think that’s a very reasonable response.
I see value in flip charts (see my huge printable list here), for sure, but I don’t use them as a Primary means of teaching, personally. But I’m totally okay with music leaders using them as much or as little as they would prefer.
Some may need to depend on them for language barriers or for limited time to prep, for example. One comment specifically talked about how they use flip charts for the teachers so they actually sing along with the kids, which is unfortunate but often necessary.
I do offer several different styles of Primary Flip Charts including slideshows for most of the songs I’ve taught on my blog. If you like using them, head over to see the ones I have available.
15: How do you most often make your visuals and song helps?
This question was slightly influenced by my own curiosity to know how to best provide printable singing time ideas here on my blog. But it was also prompted by a few recent comments about sending things off to a print shop to be printed!
Most Primary music leaders print song helps at home (78%) with 10% of those printing mainly in black and white.
I had a few other options in the survey including to print at the ward building, have a friend or ward member print for you, or just use the whiteboard/chalkboard, but the total together was pretty small, so I lumped these 3 together under “other” which makes up about 5.5% of all responses.
I also had comments about using more than one of the methods above. I thought it would be most helpful to see which is used most often, but it may be more insightful to have made this question multiple choice.
Another 9% make their own visuals with paper or posters and 7% send files to a print shop!
Some use pictures from Church magazines to help make song helps! What a great idea. And there were some comments about using what was already previously available from other music leaders.
Some additional comments suggested they use PowerPoint for everything, and don’t print anything. I totally understand using PowerPoint or a TV for a lot of things (videos, flip charts, even some games) but I still think a lot probably need either the white board or printing.
I’ve talked about HP’s Instant Ink service on this website before, but I can’t talk about printing without mentioning it. I’ve been using it for 4 years now and I still LOVE it! They send me new ink cartridges about every other month on the $12/month plan. I print a TON for this blog and as a big family and it saves me so much. My ink cartridges are $80 retail!
If you want to give Instant Ink a try, use my link and we both get a free month! It helps me a lot to cut down my costs in printing (and reprinting) my singing time ideas to make sure they’re just right!
16: How much of a budget do you have for Singing Time each year?
Most people responded (44%) that they didn’t have a budget. This may include those that also did not know what their budget was or didn’t have a specific budget.
I did receive several comments with some that didn’t know what their budget actually is. Some are able to submit receipts for reimbursement without a set budget and others choose not to submit most of their expenses and decide to just keep the things they prepare for Primary.
1 in 10 have a budget under $25 for Singing Time. Another 1 in 5 have a budget between $25 and $60.
A total of 16% said they are given a budget between $61 to $100 each year.
The survey originally had a category for $100-150 and then More than $150, but they were both relatively small so I combined the two and have noted them above in a budget more than $100 category, which includes 9% of all respondents.
It’s definitely interesting to see what others budgets might be. If you haven’t had a conversation with your Primary Presidency about a budget yet, don’t hesitate to do so. Music Leaders have a BIG calling and need a lot of supplies!
If you do have a budget, you’ll love this post with all of our favorite and essential supplies for music leaders. It may even remind you of things you’re already buying that you should be expensing!