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

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I am so over winter and ready for spring to be here already. Although, I have to admit it was beautiful watching the snow fall today during the snowstorm.  Anywhooooo, with a bad case of spring fever as well as this month's Primary theme being "The Earth Was Created for Heavenly Father's Children", the song "I Think the World is Glorious"  is a fun one to bring out (albeit, I'm probably a bit late in posting it for February's theme—but spring is coming soon, I hope.) This is also a great song for the topic of gratitude and thankfulness.
A FUN way to sing this song is to divide your Primary up into four groups and when you get to the part "I sing, and sing, and sing, and sing" assign each group to sing and hold the "I sing" or "and sing" parts. To get a little more movement into it, have them stand when it is their part to sing. They continue standing until the last "and sing" is done then they all sit down. Repeat on the next group of "sing" words.  It really is beautiful hearing them harmonize. I've color-coded the "sing" words on the flip chart. This makes it easier to assign each group the color they sing on. It is always FUN to challenge them to see if they can hold their note out without taking a breath. Make sure the kids listen to themselves as they harmonize together. It always makes them feel so Mo-Tab like (the vernacular for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir around here.)

Another way to do it is to have them sing that phrase together but this time they all STAND UP on their tippy toes on "I sing" and then they lower their body a little on each "and sing" until they are sitting back down in their seats or crouching down close to the floor on the last one depending on your preference on the position you want them to end up in.

little something else that you could add to the mix for the first verse is to split into a secondary group of teachers, boys and girls and assign each group to sing one of the two word sets of "The birds—and bees—and blossoms" and then all three groups would finish the phrase together "bring sweet messages to me."  Oh my, I guess technically this would be the primary or first group set not the secondary since this part would actually come before the "I sing" part. For the second verse you could just have two groups having the teachers sing "For I have teachers kind and true" and then the children sing "and parents who love me."

I've attached the Scribd link to my flip chart. Try the song if you haven't. It is just a fun and happy song.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Did you know. . . 
that the part of the song "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world..." is sometimes sung by Primaries using the ascending scale as the melody of the song?  I have had several Primary Music Leaders that I know, including family members, say to me how difficult it is to sing that high in the song. They are surprised, but relieved when I tell them that the ascending scale was actually written as an optional higher harmonizing part for additional voices to sing or to simply have the pianist play.

We often think that the top notes in a song are the melody notes, which often times they are; however, what sometimes doesn't get noticed, as in this song, is that the top notes in that part of the song are smaller than the other notes identifying them as cue notes, not the melody notes. The notes beneath the cue notes are the melody notes. 

My songbook I purchased after I was married
when I started teaching in the nursery in 1980.
Still in pretty good condition.

Did you also know. . . 
that although Clara McMaster originally wrote it as it is presented in the current Children's Songbook, with the additional cue notes for the ascending scale part, it was originally published incorrectly with the ascending scale part in the Sing with Me songbook. That is how I first learned the song in my later Primary years only to discover I had to relearn it when I became the Primary Music Leader. I actually started Primary singing songs from the green book, The Children Sing (at least I think it was green if my memory serves me right) for more than half of my Primary years until Sing with Me  came out in 1969. Okay, I digress.

Check out the incorrect ascending scale starting towards the
end of the 4th treble staff. The top notes were not represented
as cue notes as Clara McMaster had written them.

As a side note in reference to my last statement above about learning the song wrong, I learned a valuable lesson the first week I was called as the Primary Music Leader when I attended a double stake training meeting. I was fortunate that Pat Graham was the keynote speaker. If you have ever attended one of her workshops, she will ask you to sing "Give," Said the Little Stream", specifically the part "I'm small, I know, but wherever I go the ________ grow greener still."  Sing it and then go and check it out in the songbook to see if you sang the correct word that goes in the blank. You may be surprised. I was. In fact, the correct word has always been the same word. The lesson I learned was that sometimes we learn a song and then we may teach it to others without questioning whether we learned it correctly or not and it just keeps getting passed on down that way. So I've learned to always look in my songbook and verify if I know the words and the melody correctly before I teach the children. 

Just thought I would share that tidbit of info with you that I learned. You can find wonderful stories like I have in Pat Graham's book"We Shall Make Music". It has wonderful stories of the Primary songs and their composers that Pat has compiled. One more thing. If you listen to the MP3 of this song on, you will find that they sing that part of the song in the first verse per the melody and the second verse per the higher, optional harmony ascending scale version.