So, you were recently called as a new Primary Music Leader? Congratulations on your new calling! It may seem incredibly overwhelming right now, but you’ll quickly come to love your new calling.
While it can seem like an impossible task, especially for those of us like myself that don’t have musical training, the calling to be a Primary Chorister really doesn’t take any musical skills, deep gospel knowledge, or even a big budget. It all comes down to loving the Lord and expressing that love through your efforts and music.
Here are 5 things that all new Primary music leaders should know, plus resources to help you get started in your new calling!
5 Things New Primary
Music Leaders Should Know
1. You Don’t Have to do “It All” – It can be hard to see the ideas of other music leaders or pinterest ideas and get caught up in thinking you have to make elaborate posters, prepare endless props, and come up with hundreds of new games each year.
Your calling is to teach the songs and to share a love of the gospel through music. The props and games don’t have to be elaborate.
Sometimes, simple is the very best of all! Especially as you are just getting started don’t over do it or you’ll quickly burn out.
2. Do Your Calling Your Way – It’s hard not to be tempted to take what the chorister before you had and feel like you need to follow in her footsteps exactly. Don’t put those unrealistic expectations on yourself.
We have all been given unique talents, interests, and teaching strengths. You have been given this calling from a loving Heavenly Father who wants to use your strengths and talents to teach the kids in your own way.
Often times, a new chorister can help mix up the teaching style and present the songs in a different way that help the kids learn the music and the song in a different way to help reinforce what they’ve learned.
If we simply try to stay in the shadow of the previous chorister, we may miss opportunities to teach with our unique style that can reach one of the children in just the way they need it.
3. Having Fun is Key – The best way to draw in the kiddos attention and engage them in your lessons is to make singing time fun.
The kids have just sat through over an hour of Sacrament meeting where they’ve been poked and prodded to be quiet and reverent. Senior Primary has even spent another hour in class with more instruction time.
Singing Time is often their one outlet to get the wiggles out, get up and move about, and have some fun! Take advantage of your unique opportunity to have fun with the kids while teaching them.
4. Seek the Spirit to Guide You – You have the opportunity to teach Primary songs to the children that can stay with them through their entire life and be a resource they can draw on through their own trials and temptations.
Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost to know what choice songs, lesson plans, and messages your Primary needs to hear.
I’ve heard many stories of Primary music leaders being inspired to introduce a song that has directly spoken to someone in their Primary and made a difference.
What a blessing it is to be given the flexibility to select music to teach to the kids during the year.
5. Remember – You’re Teaching the Gospel Through Music! The most important thing to know and remember on a weekly basis is that your calling is one where you are preaching and teaching the gospel through music.
What a unique opportunity we have to be teachers of gospel principles in a way that the kids can absorb the lessons taught directly to their hearts and minds.
Tips for New Primary Music Leaders
Learn the Songs – You’ll want to know the songs before you start teaching them. You don’t have to be perfect in knowing the songs, but the better you know the songs including the tune, lyrics, and message of the song you’ll be able to share the song with a conviction of it’s message and words. To help you learn the songs:
- Visit LDS.org Children’s Songbook. Choose the song you want to practice and click to play the music and listen to the words.
- Listen to new songs you may not have heard before to help inspiration guide you to your choice songs for the program.
- Download the music and listen to it on your smartphone, ipod, or transfer the songs to a CD and pop them into the CD player in your car to listen while you multitask.
- Study the sheet music. It can help clarify words, notes, and the overall flow of the song. I was surprised to notice a time signature change on one of the songs I was working on, which helped me understand the flow of the song so much better.
Make a Basic Outline for the Year – Having a plan for the year can save you so much stress and worry from week-to-week and month-to-month.
Even after you have created your basic plan for the year, you are still free to adapt and change your plan as the year goes along, but the early prep still makes your weekly responsibilities so much easier.
Take a look at the songs in the year’s Sharing Time Outline. Decide how many (and which) verses you’ll teach and which ones you’ll use in the Primary Program.
If there is a really difficult song on the schedule and you know you will struggle to teach the whole song, you might plan just 1 or 2 verses that your Primary most needs to hear.
Think about and pick out your choice songs and any additional songs you’ll want to work on through the year. That could be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas songs. You may also have time at the end of the year to work on other songs from the songbook.
Once you have your list of songs for the year you can plan out what songs to work on during each month – giving more time for harder songs and less time for short and easy songs.
You don’t have to stick to one song per month or only the song of the month’s outline. Doing so can leave you in a bind when General Conference and Stake Conference eat up your weeks.
See this post where I shared my Monthly Song Lists and printable (on my other blog) to help you get started with your own yearly plan!
Finding Ideas & Lesson Plans – There are so many resources to help you plan your lessons, especially those last minute lesson plans during a busy week. Here are some of my favorite resources to help you with your calling:
Of course, start with my blog – Primary Singing! I’m sharing all of my lesson plans and with a goal to make it as easy as print and use each week!
- Primary Singing – This blog! 🙂
- LDS Primary Music Leaders Facebook Group – Be prepared for information overload!!
- Pinterest – Follow my board, Primary Choristers Singing Time Ideas
- To Teach a Child a Song – Using movement and instruments in Singing Time
- Camille’s Primary Ideas – A variety of ideas and very active blog
- Purposeful Primary Music – Sensory activities
- LDSChoristers.com – Lots of flip charts
- The Primary Pad – No longer active, but still a good resource for some songs
Do you have other tips or resources to share with new primary music leaders? Leave your insights in the comments!