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

Friday, February 3, 2012


2/5/12 UPDATE: Because of the unexpected high traffic volume this weekend, the current links to the melody map and pictures are temporarily out of order.  They should be back up in a day or two.  I have added other links just below.  Remember, the files may take some time to download depending on your internet speed.

Melody Map
Melody Map Pictures  (I would suggest to click on the "Download original" button for better resolution pictures instead of printing directly from the first screen.)

WOW!  This week is going by at a rapid pace.  I can’t believe it is February already.  Didn’t we just have Christmas?????  Well, I’m a little behind schedule on things, but here it is, the melody map for “Choose the Right”.  It was a little bit of a bugger—such a BIG song to replicate in a melody chart format.  The first melody map I posted, “As a Child of God” was a basic melody map.  I thought on this one I would show a more in-depth version.  I wasn't planning on doing a melody map this month since I did one last month, but after looking over the song, I realized this song lends itself nicely to a melody map with it's "rolling hill" pattern.  So, here goes again but with a little variation on the activities we'll do.

On this melody map, you will notice that there are different colors and sizes of the CTR shield, each representing a different type of note, e.g. whole, half, quarter, etc.  I also added a line connecting the “notes” to help more visually show the movement of the notes.  I’ve also included some pictures and words here if you want to use them as an addition to the map.  You don’t have to use all of them.  Use what you feel you want to teach or emphasize in the song.  I just wanted to include a good variety for all three verses.  Click here for the explanation I gave on melody maps last month as well as some suggestions for use.   

I always ask what they notice about the map and receive their responses.  If they are slow on the uptake, ask more questions to help get their thinking going, such as:
  • What is the same in these patterns?
  • What is different in these patterns?
    • [some shields are the same color, there are different sizes of shields, each color is the same size, the shapes go up and down like mountains, there is a dip or valley in this part, there are more orange shields than any other color, there are less blue shields than any other color, there are 11 big purple shields, etc.]
Continue to encourage the children to look for more relationships if they aren’t picking them up by saying “What else?” or “What more can you see?” (If this is new to your children, they may be hesitant at first but will start picking things up with some extra encouragement. The children happily surprised me the very first time I used a melody map--they can be very perceptive.)

Ask the children to listen to you sing the song and tell you what all the "note" shapes have to do with the song. 
  • The small blue shields are the shortest notes.
  • The big purple shields are the longest notes.
  • Essentially, the smaller the shield the shorter the note.
You could put just the pics that say "CTR" on the chart at first and see if they notice that is where you sing the words “Choose the Right”.

Remember, you may have to sing the song 2-3 times before the children discover all or most of the relationships, but that is good because that gives the children a chance to hear the song a few times to become familiar with it.  You can also give hints by pointing as you sing or singing louder on the certain words or areas you want them to notice.
Sing it again and ask the children to sing only the words “Choose the Right” with you. 
Learn the phrases by showing a picture or two and asking the children to listen to see where on the map the pictures should go.  Let the child that answers correctly come and place the picture on the map.  (I am planning on taking a little folding stepladder—2-3 steps—so the JR children can climb up and put it up themselves.  They like that and it saves my back from picking them up.  Maybe you could point out that they are stepping up the ladder and down just like the song.)  Then have them sing it with you.

A few other examples of singing discovery questions you can ask are:

  • This picture or word(s) goes where it looks like it is going down a slide.  Listen and tell me which slide it goes on. [various answers like shining, heart confides, etc.]
  • What two words begin on the highest note in this 2nd phrase and then slides down? [“Holy Spirit”]
  • This word "Evermore" is sung on three different notes in this last phrase. What are the three notes it is sung on?  [the very last three notes] Is it going up or down when we sing it? [down]
  • Did you notice a couple of places that the song dips down?  Listen and tell me what words are sung in those dips. [Wisdom and God]
  • Do any sections/parts of this map look exactly the same? [1st and 3rd phrase]

Other Suggestions

  • Explain the pictures as you go and how they relate to the message of the song.
  • Have them clap the rhythm pattern with you.
  • Use rhythm sticks to tap out the rhythm or only when they sing the “Choose the Right” words. (I’m planning on using rhythm sticks.  I borrowed them from my sister’s school where she works, but dowels or unsharpened pencils are inexpensive alternatives—and much quieter.)
  • Use the CTR shields to pitch lead or just have them hold them up on the words “Right”.
  • Have them also stand up when they sing the words “you” or “your”.  (I just thought of something, maybe I should have made a few more "you" pics to place on the map or at least the word "you" and "your".  Maybe I will try and add some to the file and repost the pics Friday night.  If not, Oh, well.)
  • Have them use their bodies to pitch lead raising themselves higher as they sing higher and lowering their bodies as they sing lower.
  • When you have sung it with them a few times you could sing the first half of the phrase and then have them finish the phrase.  Point out that you are singing the parts going up the mountain and they are singing the parts going down the mountain.
  • Don't forget to share your testimony of the message.
I often try and use a variety of activities to keep them interested before they get bored otherwise I could lose their attention.  Children learn by repetition, but they also need variety—sounds like an oxymoron to me.  So, you may sing the song over-and-over again (repetition), but by using different methods as you sing (variety), it helps to keep the children engaged as well as you are sure to capture the different learning styles the various children may have.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE MELODY MAP (Also see post for "As a Child of God" melody map and above pic for reference)

  • I think this should print in the order of the song this time.
  • Cut off about 1/2" on the letter side (the letters are only for reference in making the chart) and cut off about the same on the other side depending on the minimum settings your printer needs for margins, being careful to not cut off any of the shields. 
  • Tape them together leaving a slight gap between pages for easier folding.  
  • The last four rows on the map are for the chorus.  I put each of the two sections together to make two rows or "stanzas" for the chorus by cutting pretty close to the shield on the right section and then lining it up to the left side and making a tick mark for where I needed to cut (where it looked good for the black line coming into the right side—part of the black line you will cut off.) You could take a black marker to help better connect the black line if you want.  
  • Oooo, is this all confusing?    
  • So each phrase will be three pages and both sections of the chorus will have 5 pages each with the second page of each for the chorus a smaller width size as well as the third page will be slightly smaller. Look at the picture above for reference.  There will also be 2 blank pages that will print out, but you don't need those.  Just part of the "poster" effect.  Don't forget to number the backside so you know which order to put them up on your board.


  1. Nalani-am i missing it or did you post the link to print the melody chart? I can't seem to find it...i love your ideas! thank you for posting!

  2. Hi Darcy, I just tried the link and it is working. It is right under the picture at the first of the paragraph that says " On this melody map". I guess it could be confusing since I changed the font on the words. Sorry about that. See if that works.

  3. now i feel silly-of course it was right in front of me! :) Thanks Nalani!

  4. Thank You so Much for doing this! I have not used a melody map before and after seeing your post on As a Child of God was trying to figure out how to make one. I am not very musically enlightened so this really helps me! Thanks for sharing your work!

  5. Can you email me the melody map and the CTR flip chart? Neither of them worked downloadin them with dropbox. Thanks! They look great - thanks!
    crystalchowarth at gmail . com

    1. Crystal, you didn't leave me your email address. I've added a google docs link in the post that is smaller, so hopefully that will work for you.

  6. I love this so much!! Help!! I can't get it to print. Any ideas?? thanks, Mary

  7. I was able to download the flip chart but every time I tried to download the melody map to dropbox it said the memory was full and would only show the ctr shields on the first few pages. The rest of the pages just had the lines. It appears to be working at first, but it's not the complete file. If you can help with this in any way I would so appriciate it. I really would like to start out teaching this song by using the melody map but I need it by tomorrow. Thanks

  8. I have added a link to a smaller file size for the melody map if you are having problems downloading because of the size. See the "Update" in the post.

  9. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you SO much for sharing your ideas and talents. :)

  10. Thank you!! We learned the first verse -- no problem!! Appreciate your idea!

  11. This is the best....when I was called to the primary as the chorister I laughed and cried because I have no musical talent what so ever! I am so happy I have found your blog and you are willing to share your talents. Thank you so much!

  12. Thank you so so much for taking the time to post this for us!
    It is so so helpful!

  13. I would love a melody map for "A Child's Prayer." My kids are having trouble getting the melody right.

  14. Hi, this is great. I am wondering if I can use your picture in a book of primary ideas I'm gathering. Will you please contact me asap? (support@ldsprimaryprintables or on FB Amy Nielsen?) Thanks.