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

Sunday, December 29, 2013


This past year I had so wanted to post so many more things that I have done/made from over the years I was the Primary Music Leader, but alas, as you can tell, it didn't happen. Interesting how new callings and life seem to take up those extra moments you had hoped to have. Maybe I'll eek out some time this year to post things I've done for the songs in this year's outline. No promises though, but I will try to once in a while.

I have had requests asking if I would be posting a Music Planner for 2014. Hadn't thought about it so I guess I wasn't really planning on it, but got in a bit of a mood today to get some planning done for Primary next year and was perusing the outline and before I knew it, I was on my way filling the Music Planner out. My brain started to churn with ideas as I was reading the outline and I had to keep reminding myself I wasn't in this calling anymore. Old habits die hard. Actually, the music leader that replaced me wasn't in very long since she ended up getting married (excited for her) so a new music leader was called a couple of months ago.  She is doing a fantastic job and it is so great to see the kids connecting with her. Makes me feel great after the wonderful relationship I developed with the children when I was put in and all the hard work over the years in getting the kids to love to sing (they did not like to sing when I was first called, especially the boys, now the boys love to sing—didn't help either that we were just divided when I was first called and our new ward was a melting pot from the various wards) that they are continuing to love singing with the new music leader and she does enjoy the time with them. It is nice knowing the kids are continuing to be taken care of. Makes me miss it though.  

Sorry, got a bit side-tracked. Soooooo, if you are still needing something to plan with and are interested, you are more than welcome to use the Music Planner. You can check out last year's post here for a short explanation and sample if you like.

2014 Primary Music Outline: Families are Forever

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Well, I did try to squeeze some time in to finish the flip chart. Didn't quite get some other things done, but oh well, gotta go with the flow sometimes.  Sorry I don't have time to share some ideas on presenting the song, but I'm sure at this late date, you have probably sparked a few of your own ideas. I won't be introducing this song either since the current music leader has already had the children working on it.  

Have to keep this post short.  Still have to work on what I'm going to do tomorrow as I sub and and I still need to run a few errands and do a few more things—it's already 7:00 p.m. Guess I better run faaaaaaaaast!!!  I'll try and post later what I did for singing time.

Friday, August 2, 2013


"Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand,
and give thee answer to thy prayers" (D&C 112:10).

"A Child's Prayer"    has been one of my favorites.  I've always liked having the children sing the first verse since it is as if a child is asking the questions and expressing his or her feelings.  The second verse I prefer the 
teachers/adults to sing since it has to do with answering the child's questions.  Last year I had worked a little bit on this song throughout the year (little did I know it was going to be in this year's program) and it always gave me goose bumps as I felt the spirit through the children's sweet voices.

Sometimes it can be hard teaching children how to do duets. Heck, it can be hard for me because I just want to start singing the other person's part when I hear them in between singing my part and before I know it, I'm mixing the song up between the different parts.  Sigh!!!  Teachers can have a difficult time at it too I've found. Anyway, one way I found very helpful in learning a song with parts, especially if they haven't had much experience singing parts, is to split them up—one group on one side of the room and the other group on the other side.  This helps them focus and hear their part better as they are learning the song, yet you still get the duet affect.  Besides, it is something a little different to do than the usual singing in their seats. After they get the song down, then they have a much easier time singing the parts all together in their seats.

I originally started doing a flip chart way back when I wanted to teach this song, but decided against it.  I felt it would be too difficult to deal with while singing especially when I physically separated them into groups across the room as well as when they sang their parts together—how would I handle two flip charts at the same time?  Of course, I could use my magnetic sheet protectors and post them all on the board, which I like to usually do with flip charts as we are learning the song, but I really wanted something more simple for this song.  So I did a poster-type version.

This is sized for an 11" x 17" sized paper.  You can have it printed at a copy center if you don't have access to a printer that prints this size. Make sure to have it printed on card stock and not regular weight paper.  The heavier card stock will help make it more durable and less flimsy.  Then just tape each verse together in order butting up the bottom of the first one to the top of the second section and so on.  This way you can fold it up at the taped seams for easier storage.  This poster makes it easy to hold each verse up or even post on the board if you like.  I usually have a helper for each group hold their verse up for their group. The first verse is in black text and the second verse is in red to help differentiate the verses.  Sorry for the bad lighting on the pictures.  It's late and I didn't have a good place to take them. Last minute thing you see.

I was going to still try and get the flip chart version done that I started a couple of years ago for those who may still prefer that format, but I was just asked tonight to sub in singing time this Sunday {{{YEAH!!!}}} and I'm going to be very busy with work and other activities this weekend and still have to somehow find time to figure out and prepare what to do for singing time.  If I do find some time to finish up the flip chart and post it, I will. But as I said, this poster version has been very easy to use in teaching this song.

A Childs Prayer—Poster-Nalani by nbirdhouse

Saturday, July 6, 2013



Sorry I've been MIA the past few months.  I truly thought I would have time to continue to post things that I have done from years past and share more helpful tips and ideas after I was released, but alas, life somehow finds ways to fill in those supposedly extra time slots and life continues on more busier than ever. 

Thought I would at least try and post the flip chart for this month's song in case you are still in need of one.  I only have the chorus in there one time, so print the chorus twice if you want to have it for each verse.

I'll try and post my poster for next month's song "A Child's Prayer" as well— hopefully soon.  

Hope you are enjoying singing time! I sure miss it but do get opportunities to sub. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Easter is sneaking in a little early this year, so I'm sure many have already started adding in some Easter songs in their repertoire. If you click on the Easter link on the side bar under 
"This 'n That", there are a couple of other Easter flip charts as well as some ideas.

One of my favorites, in my long list of favorites, is "When He Comes Again". This is REALLY one of my hubby's favorites and he thinks we NEVER sing it enough. Yeah, I know this is not categorized as an Easter song, but I love singing it at Easter time because it is about
Christ, and after all, Easter is a great reminder of our Savior, his life, his love, his example, his death, his resurrection and most importantly, his Atonement and because of his Atonement, I will one day be able to see my Savior and Heavenly Father again. So I think it is a perfect song to sing at Easter time—actually, anytime is a great time to sing it.

One way to teach this song is to assign each class one of the questions to sing and then everyone sings the last part together. Rotate the questions/phrases and repeat until every class has had a turn singing each of the questions. For movement, you could have them stand and sing on their turn or for more interest, you could do this as what I more formally call "Singing in the Round".  Basically, you post each of the question phrases or their flip chart pages on each of the four walls around the room, e.g. one wall would have, "I wonder when he comes again, will herald angels sing?", then the next wall would have posted, "Will earth be white with drifted snow, or will the world know spring?" and so forth. Assign each class to stand by one of the walls along with their teacher(s). They get 1/2—1 minute to work on their part. Take a timer or bell to ring when time is up. That helps to get their attention. Then everyone turns around and faces you—you'll be standing in the center of the room. You turn and face the first class and lead them as they sing their part, turning and leading each class as you go. When you finish the song, each class moves rotating to the next wall and phrase of the song. Repeat the process. For the little ones, the teachers will really need to help their class. If you have combined JR & SR, mix the older kids in with the younger kids.

Another way to teach the song is to list groups of words with three words in each group on the chalkboard or you could print word strips. The group of words will include a keyword from the phrase and two similar words not in that phrase. There are two groups of words per phrase.  To play, you will hand the eraser to a child and begin singing the song. The child needs to quietly go up and erase the words or remove the word strips in the first group that are NOT in the phrase you are singing. After he/she has erased/removed the words from the first group, he/she must quickly give the eraser or tap another child on the shoulder who has not had a turn and who is of the opposite sex from them (boy-girl-boy-girl) and in a different class and that child must quickly and quietly go up and do the next group of words. You will keep singing that phrase over and over until they have erased/removed the wrong words. You may want to stop after a phrase or two and have them sing that phrase(s) together a time or two and then repeat the process. Remind the children that there is no talking so that everyone can listen and hear.  If someone erases or removes the wrong word, just rewrite or replace the word strip on the board. You could also play this game after they know the song fairly well to test them and just have everyone sing the song through with you while the children erase/remove the words to see if they can do it before everyone is done singing.  Here are some word groups for the first verse. I've listed the actual word in the song first in the list, so make sure when you post the words, you mix the words up within each group:

Phrase 1-A: wonder, marvel, ponder
Phrase 1-B: herald, messaging, announcing
Phrase 2-A: drifted, blowing, wandering
Phrase 2-B: spring, summer, winter
Phrase 3-A: shine, glisten, shimmer
Phrase 3-B: brighter, lighter, higher
Phrase 4-A: daylight, moonlight, sunlight
Phrase 4-B: songbirds, robins, tweeting birds
Phrase 5-A: call, phone, tell
Phrase 5-B: knee, lap, feet
Phrase 6-A: gone by, before, past on
Phrase 6-B: come to me, come close by, come nearby

Here are some ASL signs you can use to help teach them the song. Choose less if you want to simplify.

I wonder, when he comes again,
Poster version but with a couple of
pictures different than in the file.
Will herald angels sing?
Will earth be white with drifted snow,
Or will the world know spring?
wonder if one star will shine
Far brighter than the rest?
Will daylight stay the whole night through?
Will songbirds leave their nests?
I'm sure he'll call his little ones
Together 'round his knee,
Because he said in days gone by,
"Suffer them to come to me."

If you are looking for a flip chart, look no further. Well, maybe look a little below and there you will find it. The flip chart has both verses. When I first taught this song I made a poster for the first verse. I've included that file too if you would rather do a poster. It does need to be printed on legal size paper (8 1/2" x 14") though. I've revised some of the pictures on the poster from when I originally made mine to pictures that I put in the flip chart. If you print on legal size card stock, you could butt them up together, top-to-bottom, then tape them together and then you would have a fold up poster.

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.