I see a lot of repeating questions asked by fellow music leaders, especially those new to the calling. To help make Answers to Singing Time Questions a little more easy to refer to, I thought I’d share a Primary Survey with 17 FAQ’s and common questions.
I shared this survey on a Primary Music Leaders Facebook Group and was thrilled with all the responses. That did mean one of the questions below is highly skewed, but I’ll make note of that below.
A quick note on the results before we get started. 57% of the respondents came from the US (excluding Utah) so when I compared results to sub groups by location, the statistics didn’t change very much for this group as it is the largest representation here.
Then, 37% of the total results were from those within Utah. There are a few slight shifts in the stats, and I’ve included those below.
Only 6% of the responses came from those outside of the United States. There are some interesting variances from those living Internationally so I have included a section specific for the International responses at the end.
Affiliate links are included below.
Singing Time Survey Questions Index
Primary Songs: Read Post 1 with Answers Here!
- 1. How many songs do you actively teach on a typical Sunday?
- 2. Do you sing any songs while the Primary children are entering or exiting the Primary room?
- 3. Do you sing any of these extra songs regularly in Primary?
- 4. Do you teach any special Primary songs?
- 5: How many verses do you prefer teach for each song?
Primary Program: Read Post 2 with Answers Here!
- 6. How many songs do you plan to include in your Primary Program?
- 7: Which of these ways do you use to practice for your Primary Program?
- 8: Do you do anything special after the Primary Program?
- 9: How many “occasions” does your Primary usually perform a song for the ward (excluding the Primary Program)?
- 10: What occasions has your Primary performed a song for?
Preparing for Singing Time: Read Post 3 with Answers Here!
- 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?
Demographics: (Information included below!)
- 17: Where are you located?
- 18: What groups do you teach?
- 19: How big is your Primary?
- 20: How long have you had the calling of a Music Leader?
Take the Primary Survey Here!
The survey is still open for responses and I’ll likely update this post from time to time to keep the data relevant!
It’s a fun and easy Primary survey that needs no email or personal details, so head over here to take the survey if you’d like to add your input! I would REALLY love more International responses and more feedback on favorite resources that might a little more balanced.
Survey Part 1: How Many Primary Songs Should I Teach?
Survey Part 2: Teaching Primary Songs for the Primary Program & Holidays
Survey Part 3: How to Prepare for Singing Time
General Survey Demographics
To help me classify the results a little bit better, I asked 2 organizational question and then 2 general demographics questions including location, experience, and Primary size. These categories helped me sort through a few of the questions to get more specific!
You’ve seen many of the Utah-specific results sprinkled in above, but there are a few additional included here plus lots of additional details for our International Primary answers!
17: Where are you located?
The majority of members that responded (57%) live in the United States, but outside of Utah.
An additional 37% of responses came from members who live in Utah.
6% of our International Primary Leaders added feedback to the survey. It’s a pretty small sampling so I do hope more International members chime in! But of course this blog and the survey are in English, so that will have some impact on the number of responses.
Still, I think we can find some interesting trends with the results. Just keep in mind that the sample group was marginally relatively small (20 respondents).
International-Specific Survey Results:
- Primaries outside of the US had much smaller Primary groups with most being under 25 children and only one in the 61-80 range.
- 73% have a combined Primary.
- Only 1 response of singing while the kids enter the Primary room.
- 30% include 6 or less songs in their Primary Program.
- None of the International Music Leaders selected they only teach the 1st verse. Almost all the responses were 2-3+ and that It Varies.
- 35% sing on 4 or more occasions!
- 45% use flip charts most or every week and another 25% include them regularly (whenever helpful). I wonder if varied attendance or language barriers have some affect on this result!
- Budget was a really interesting one! Most (52%) don’t have a budget but there was almost no middle ground. They had either a really large budget or next to no budget.
- Experience was another fascinating result. 50% are new music leaders (under 1 year experience) and another 20% with 1-2 years in the calling. Then a higher percentage are music leader veterans (15% have served for more than 8 years!).
A Few More Utah-Specific Stats!
- 14% use a Print Shop, which was kinda of surprising to me!
- Members in Utah had a slight shift downward (2% shift) from always to never using flip charts with the middle number staying roughly the same percentages.
- Utah had a slightly smaller # of combined Primary classes (45%) which is likely in part due to the larger overall Primary sizes. Despite fewer combined Primary groups more music leaders also lead Nursery with 29% (4% more than the average).
- Less (28%) spend about 1 hour with the shift in time mainly going towards 30 minutes or less and 2 hours.
18: What groups do you teach?
There’s the age old question about combined versus separate Junior and Senior Primary groups. I was so curious to find out which is more common, only to be almost ironically perfectly split between both options (49% each)!
While there wasn’t a clear winner, it was still really helpful information for me, and other music leaders to know!
I think since what I knew as a music leader was two separate age groups, I plan most of my singing time with that in mind. It will be help me in the future to consider how combined Primary’s might best use a particular singing time activity.
I was really interested to learn that approximately 1 in 10 Primary music leaders have a co-teacher and divide up singing time in some fashion. I’d love to ask a question about that in any future survey – such as do you divide Jr/Sr or rotate weeks/months, etc!
There was a comment about a Primary being recently combined and the Music Leader much preferred the two groups separate. I do think most often this decision about combined versus is out of our control as the music leader, though I’m sure we can add our input.
I was thrilled to see that 25% are still able to teach Nursery singing time! That was my ABSOLUTE favorite and I had a little singing time bag for Nursery that I really loved, and the kids did too! That post has TONS of info if you are one of the lucky ones that get to teach the littlest ward members.
That 25% equates to roughly half of those with a combined Primary (that would then have the available time to be able to go to Nursery) take advantage of that opportunity. Of course, some wards may simply have the Nursery leaders include songs or call someone just to take over that responsibility.
19: How big is your Primary?
This was another one of those questions that I really had no idea! It’s pretty even across the 3 top groups: 10-25 kids (28%), 26-40 kids (28%), and 41-60 kids (27%) each had approximately the same # of responses.
I feel like I hear questions about really small Primary groups often, so I thought there might be a little higher percent under 10 kids. If I were to run the survey again, I’d probably adjust the bottom group to 15 and skew the other groups accordingly.
Only 3% of Primary classes are under 10 kids! The question specifically asked to consider the entire Primary, if split into 2 groups.
Another 14% of Primary groups have 61 or more children, which breaks down evenly between 61-80 and 80+ kids.
Not so surprisingly, only one Utah ward had less than 10 children. 10% have a Primary with 61-80 kids and 11% have a Primary with more than 80 kids. Their results are all slightly skewed towards a large Primary, but not as much as I would have thought.
20: How long have you had the calling of a Music Leader?
1 in 3 Primary Music Leader have had the calling for less than a year! I really love this statistic! That means there are many who are getting to learn the joy of teaching music to children, but also may be struggling learning the ropes of a new calling. This is super helpful info!
Another 28% have been in the Music Leader calling for 1-2 years. I think in this timeframe you’re just starting to get into the swing of things and feeling confident in your calling. Hopefully you’ll get a few more years!
1 in 5 respondents have served as a music leader for 3-4 years.
I was really curious to see how many might have had even MORE experience due to multiple times in this calling or maybe just a short staffed ward that needed the help. Just shy of 1 in 10 (9%) have served as a music leader for 5-7 years and another 8% have served for 8 or more years!
A Fulfilling & Challenging Calling:
I loved the several comments I read about how much they love this calling! I felt the same way! Of course, it’s a VERY difficult calling that can have a lot of demand on your time and talents. I know it’s not easy for everyone.
There were some comments, and rightfully so, about how demanding the calling can be with other commitments. And not feeling very supported by the Primary Presidency. Or, feeling like there aren’t a lot of clear directions or training on how to be effective in this calling.
However, there was also several comments about how amazing it is to be a teacher of Gospel truths to all of the Primary aged children every week! It is definitely a calling where the Lord has certainly entrusted a lot to our hands!
This quote may have been my favorite, and I hope the sister is okay with me sharing her words:
“It’s like teaching the best investigators class, primary children, using the best spiritual tool, music. I love it!”
I think it’s the perfect place to end and start wrapping up this incredibly long post! It’s over 6,000 words and has taken me an ENTIRE day to sort through the results, create the graphics, and write up this blog post! I hope you’ve found a lot of value here!
Future Primary Survey Questions to Ponder
If you missed taking the survey, it is still open for responses and you can take the Primary Survey here! I hope to update this post in maybe 6 months or so to have even more balanced and accurate results! It’s fun, easy, and there’s no personal information collected!
I’m not quite ready to tackle an entire new survey, but this one prompted serval additional questions. I’m adding them here, as I think they would be interesting to think about, talk about, and eventually I will open a new survey with some of these and others for a round 2 post. I will probably work on another survey in the fall.
- How do you feel about this calling?
- What do do if you feel burnt out?
- Who picks the songs for the Program?
- What kind of ways do you teach songs?
- How supported do you feel by your Primary Presidency?
- Do you have a pianist?
- How much time are you typically given for Singing Time?
- Do you have any additional calling(s)?
- How many weeks do you practice specifically for the Program?
- How do you split your time with a co-teacher?
In the meantime, I’d love to hear what additional questions YOU have that would be great to include in a survey! I also would love any additional insights or thoughts you’ve had from any of the survey results above. The comments are open for your thoughts and ideas!