New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


These are the beautiful loving hands
of my daughter-in-law
A couple of month's ago I took pictures of something I was holding in my hands. My first impression upon looking at the pictures was, 
"Ooooooooo, my hands are so old and worn looking." After staring at the picture for a bit, I noticed the scar on my hand from when I was crossing a busy street one day when the baby in my womb moved in such a way to pinch a nerve that caused me to loose all feeling in my left leg, which resulted with me falling to the ground in the middle of the crosswalk. The scar reminded me of my attempt at protecting the child of mine from the fall and despite the blood and pain from my arm and hand at the time, I was exhilarated from the life I felt that let me know that this baby was still alive. Having lost several babies before around the 6th & 7th month of pregnancy, every movement I felt was a JOY no matter how much pain or discomfort it caused. As I continued to look at my hands, I began to also SEE the things I cleaned around the house, the foods I cooked, the dishes I washed, the clothes I ironed, the dresses and costumes I sewed, the weeds I pulled in my garden, the places I drove to take my children, the diapers I changed, the school projects I helped put together, the pages I turned during bedtime stories, the massages I gave to tired and aching muscles, the hugs I gave to give comfort and love, the hands I held in moments of fear, the tears I wiped in times of sadness and joy, the kleenex I held to wipe runny noses, the babies I held to rock gently to sleep, the many letters I wrote to my sons serving missions. . . oh, the list goes on-and-on and let's not forget the children who are led in song in Primary each weekLooking at my hands I saw a lifetime of hard work and love given to others. So yes, every scar, wrinkle, freckle, age spot, puffy vein, cracked and pudgy part have all been well earned and told the story of my life and the loving things I did. That is what got me thinking about the loving hands of those who love and take care of us.

So in-light of that, this is what rattled around in my head back then to do when Mother's Day came up. As a side note, using the gloves and dynamics part to sing can also be used any time you want to review a song or do a choose and review activity.  
  • Take pictures of the loving hands of all the Primary children's mothers or where applicable, those who help take care and raise them, because these days, not all children live with a mother. Sometimes it is their grandma, their dad, an older sibling, an aunt, a foster mother, so take a picture of their loving hands if the mother is not available.
    • It has taken a few hours to get pictures of loving hands for every child (I'm still trying to get the last few), so a quicker solution is to only take pictures of a select few, especially if you have a large Primary.
    • I'm probably going to print out the pictures of the hands and group several together to post on the board at a time, but another option might be is to show them on a laptop or iPad, but that might be more cumbersome to flip back-and-forth with if you have a lot of pictures.
  • Before I begin I will have the children take a look at their hands and ask them to think of kind things they have done with their hands this past week and maybe have a few children share. I'll also make a quick mention along the lines that our hands are capable of doing many kind and good things and when we do kind and good things, our hands become loving hands. I'll then segue into how we also have people in our lives who help us with their loving hands.
  • Post on the board or hold up a few pictures of loving hands and have the children see if they can recognize any of the loving hands. I am a little nervous on how much time this might take, so be careful and only give them a little time to guess before giving them the answers. Depending on how many pictures you have you could print one or two sets of hands per page. I wouldn't go smaller since it might be difficult for the children to see the pictures.
  • Have a selection of gloves displayed in a basket or laid out on a table. I will use my singing apron with big pockets to put the gloves in. The children will choose a pair of gloves that will determine the song to be sung and how the song will be led with loving hands. I may have a child help lead with the gloves, but I am leaning this time towards leading myself to help save on time and because that will also give me more control on leading the songs with the various dynamics since sometimes kids can get a little silly. I'll give a list of possible gloves that you can use and some dynamics for how to sing below.
  • If you don't want to use gloves, you could just assign a song to the picture or group of pictures or maybe you just want to use the gloves and not worry about the pictures of the hands.
  • After singing a song, repeat taking a moment to guess a few more loving hands pictures before going to the next song.
  • Here are a few options for types of songs to sing:
    • Mother's Day songs
    • Program songs
    • The mother's favorite Primary song. If you are choosing songs by picture instead of gloves and have a lot of pictures you are grouping together, you could ask the mothers for a few of their favorite Primary songs instead of just their favorite and then group the pictures together of those that have a similar favorite song. So far in the list I've gathered of the favorite songs from mothers and grandmothers there are many common ones between the mothers which helps make it easier to group together since I am trying to get pictures of all the loving hands.
    • Have a mix of Mother's Day songs, program songs and some of the favorites off of the mother's favorites list you've made. I'm going with this option using the gloves.
  • Gloves—Here is a list of possible gloves you might have around the house to use for the children to select from. Assign songs and a way to sing the song to the gloves. If you want to just review a song over and over again, just assign a way to sing to each pair of gloves you use:
    • Evening or Dress Gloves (I love the elbow length gloves)
    • Gardening Gloves
    • Work Gloves
    • Cleaning Gloves
    • Oven Mitt
    • Winter Gloves
    • Surgical Gloves
    • Driving Gloves
    • Leather Gloves
    • Exercise Gloves (biking, weight-lifting, etc.)
    • Baseball Glove
    • Car Washing Mitt
    • Ski Gloves
    • Scuba Diving Gloves
    • Boxing Gloves (yes, mothers do fight for us in so many ways)
    • Maybe you can think of other gloves to help demonstrate the many things loving hands do. If you do, please leave a comment to share.
  • Dynamic Ways to Sing—assign to songs/gloves and lead the children switching between the dynamics. These are great ways to practice with the children on following you and familiarizing themselves with the different ways to sing in relation to how you will lead them. I do exaggerate a little on the leading to help them differentiate between the two I'm switching between and it also helps to keep their eyes on me. The kids seem to really pay attention to my hands when I put on gloves. I guess it gives them a focal point or maybe it is just my exaggerated "maestro" conducting. I've listed the musical terms and their definition. The list below is pretty self-explanatory on how you would lead them, but I'll give an explanation on a few that may not seem as clear.
    • Forte (strong and loud) & Piano (gently & softly)
    • Allegro (cheerful & fast) & Largo (slowly)
    • Staccato (short) & Legato (flowing & smoothly)
    • A Capella (without accompaniment) & Con Musica (with Accompaniment)
      • I will hold out my right hand in a stop mode toward the pianist to stop playing while I continue leading with my other hand then I lead with both hands for the pianist to play or you could lead up high for A Capella and down low for with the piano if leading with your non-dominate hand is more difficult.
    • Crescendo (growing in sound) & Diminuendo (diminishing in sound)
    • Ragazze (e is pronounced like an a) (girls) & Ragazzi (i is pronounced as an e) (boys)
      • Lead right-handed for boys and left-handed for girls and both handed for both to sing or up high, down low and in the middle
    • Fermata (every now and then, have them hold the note)
    • Vibrato (vibrating/pulsating change of pitch—like opera—you could have the children wiggle their finger on their throat) & Straight Tone (normal voice)
      • Use your finger on the throat for vibrato and off the throat for normal singing
Happy Mother's Day to all you fantastic women out there that give so much with your loving hands!!!


  1. Thank you so very much for sharing your creative ideas and amazing talents. I'm so impressed! I just had to tell you one thing that may help others. I'm so using your visuals for When I am Baptized this Sunday. One thing I noticed was that it helped to download from Firefox instead of Internet Explorer so the browser may be an issue for some people. Once I switched to Firefox and made sure I was logged into my Facebook account first, I was able to download it just fine. I just thought I'd pass that along in case it helps anybody else. Again, thank you for sharing. Maybe someday I'll get my stuff pulled together enough to share on my blog some things that I've done in our Primary. I'm still super intimidated by this calling!

  2. Rachel, thanks for that helpful tip for downloading. Hah! I know what you mean about getting your stuff together. Been there and still feel like I'm there many times. My theory is, when we finally get it all together, we'll probably get released. LOL