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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Displayed with both verses
Well, it is that time of the month to start the new song for the month, so I thought I would post my visual for
"My Heavenly Father
Loves Me" 
and some ideas I've used to teach this song in the past.

First off, the visual I made has no text because this is a fairly easy song to teach using pictures and/or objects. As you can see by the picture on the right. I visualized this song using pictures that represent the different parts of the song displayed around a BIG WORLD with the first verse surrounding the top half of the world and the second verse around the bottom half of the world while sharing the world for both of the verses as well as the images where both verses meet on the right hand side of the world (Heavenly Father and heart). The first verse is color-coded with a red border and the second verse with a blue border.

Displayed with only first verse
I just printed the pictures, cut them out leaving a little white border around them, laminated them for durability and applied magnetic tape on the backside so they can be easily displayed and removed on the magnetic chalkboard. For the world I wanted it to be big, so I printed that page in a poster format as big as I could on four pages, cut and taped them together with their edges butted up. See the "How To" tab on the bar above on some tips on how to do poster format.

A quick and easy way to teach the song is to put up each picture as you teach and work on each phrase. 

As I've probably mentioned before, I love to use objects as teaching aids in teaching and/or presenting new songs to the kids. It is just a more fun, dimensional way to present something other than the usual flat pictures we often use. I keep a large storage container with a variety of objects I can pick from and use for many songs. When I first presented the song years ago, I used objects and played a memory game with the children, but you can use the song visuals I made too. I had the pianist play the first verse of the song as I showed each object to the children. I did not sing the first time through; I just let them listen to the music and concentrate on the objects. I had the objects in a bag and showed them one at a time putting each back in the bag as I grabbed the next one. I then asked the children if they remembered what I pulled out. I had each child come up and hold the object that they remembered/answered correctly in whatever order they came up. If they didn't remember them all the first time, I sang the song through the next time and had the children holding the objects step forward when their object was sung while the Primary listened for the objects that they hadn't remembered the first time through. After singing, I had the children answer which items were still missing and the ones that answered correctly came up and joined the other children holding their objects. After all the objects were up, we sang to see if we had them in the right order. Of course they weren't originally in the right order. We did that 2-3 times until we were sure they were all in order. To help in determining the right order, each child stepped forward then back when their object was sung. Later in teaching and reviewing the song I used the visuals on the board while doing the hand signing.

  • Have them put your visuals up in the correct order.
  • Have a child leave the room and another child remove 1 or 2 of the visuals (or objects if using those), have the child come back into the room and after singing the song through, the child needs to guess which one(s) is missing. For the SR kids you may want to mix up the visuals on the board.
  • To review, have all the visuals displayed around the room and as the Primary sings, you walk around and tap a child on the shoulder or head which singles them to reverently go and get the part of the song that you just tapped them on and place the visual in the correct order on the board and then they sit back down. This is a continuous process as you tap and sing nonstop through the verse. Sing the verse over and over until the children have them all on the board. If they aren't in order, sing again and tap a child to go up and fix one and sit back down repeat tapping the children while singing until they are all in order.
  • Divide the Primary in half and have one side tap out the STEADY BEAT of the song with their hands on their lap and the other group tap out the UNEVEN RHYTHM of the song. Switch.
  • Sway & Freeze: Sway the arms back-and-forth to the tempo of the song like a metronome and freeze on the last word of each main phrase making sure everyone ends up in the same direction. This helps the children to feel with their bodies the rhythm of the music as their ears process the melody and words of the song. Here is an example of when to sway and freeze for the first phrase:
    • right--------------whenever
    • left----------------hear
    • right--------------song
    • left----------------bird
    • right--------------look 
    • left----------------blue
    • right & freeze----sky
Here is my cheat sheet on signing and objects I've used. Click on the hyperlink words in the table to see how to do the signing.  Oh, I forgot to get a picture of some of the objects I've used. I'll try and add one later.

Hope this gets you thinking on ways to present and review the song.

Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Point to both ears on “hear”
Toy or stuffed bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,

Binoculars or picture of sky
Whenever I feel the rain on my face

Rain stick or spray mister with water
Or the wind as it rushes by,

Pinwheel or fan
Whenever I touch a velvet rose

Big, velvety fabric or silk rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,

Silk lilac branch
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world 
Smile BIG on “glad”
Little globe

He gave me my eyes that I might see
Point to both eyes on “eyes”
The color of butterfly wings.    

Toy butterfly
He gave me my ears that I might hear 
Point to both ears
Fake ears
The magical sound of things.      
Pull on both ears for "sound"
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:

Toy child, toy brain & heart
I thank him rev’rently
I have them fold their arms for rev’rently
Picture of a child praying
For all his creations, of which I’m a part.

Picture of creation
Nod head in yes gesture as you sing “yes”

My Heavenly Father Loves Me Viz—Nalani by

Saturday, January 19, 2013


If you only have the 8-note handbelset, which would be the basic set of bells to purchase first out of the 20-25 total bells, then "I Am a Child of God" is the perfect song to play with the handbells since there are no sharps or flats in this song and all notes are within the middle C to high C range of the bells.

If you need more info on handbells, take a looksie at this post from last year and this one too.  

I've converted my original bell chart from the 11" x 14" tabloid size to the 8 1/2" x 11" paper size. This should make it easier to print.  I've included all four verses with the chorus only once. Just print the verses you want to work on with the bells. You can tape the pages of the verses together or keep separate and post on your board. If you don't tape the verses together, you may want to number the pages in order and mark which verse they are so if you happen to drop the pages and get them mixed up, you can easily put them together.
Have fun chiming away!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Well, it is the start of a New Primary Year and time to get going on the first program song of the year. If you are like me, or rather how I was before I got "booted" out of my singing job, {sniffle—sniffle} I liked to just have some singing fun the first week and spend time getting to know the new, little  SUNBEAMS by singing all their favorite and familiar songs they've sung in nursery and let them be the stars of Singing Time by letting them be your helpers. Besides, it always seems to be chaotic the first week as the children and teachers try and figure out where they are supposed to be, so some fun, no pressure singing is just the ticket the first week. 

However, if you are ready to jump right in and get going on this month's song, here is a flip chart for "I Am a Child of God" for all four verses.  I have also included the descant part in case you want to venture a stab at it.  Since your Primary is probably very familiar with the chorus, I only added it once in the flip chart. If you want to have the chorus after each verse, just select those pages and print how many copies you want. 

I don't have time right now to post ideas on how to present the song, but you probably already have thought of or found some to do. If I have time later, I will post some ideas that I brainstormed when I was making my plans last fall before my demise as Primary Music Leader. ;-)

I told you I would be back!
In fact, stay tuned because sometime in the near future
I plan on doing another give-away!

I Am a Child of God FC—Nalani

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


The clock tolls midnight.

It was bound to
happen sometime.

Yes, I am released from my calling as the
Primary Music Leader
in our ward—or at least I will be officially released this coming Sunday.


I have known that I was going to be released since after our Primary program, and yes, I bawled and bawled when I first found out. You know, I thought I would be ready for it when it finally came, but I was quite surprised at how much I wasn't when it hit me that I wouldn't be teaching and singing with these kids anymore. I have grown quite attached to them over the years. It has been hard these past couple of months knowing my end was near and not saying anything and pretending with the children that everything was normal. But, maybe it was good too since it allowed it to sink in for me and get me use to the upcoming change. As hard and time consuming as this calling can be, I have to say, I have reaped many blessings from it and have loved working with my Primary children and have not regretted one moment of this calling.

So now as we leave the old year behind us, so do I take my leave from this calling. The new music leader has so many musical talents she brings with her that I'm sure will be a treat for the children. 

Now, what am I to do with this blog, you may ask?

Well, I still have many things I have done from past years that I have yet to post, so I am still planning on keeping this blog active for now in hopes to get them posted. I have also wanted to post more helpful tips that I have learned over the years that I have never seemed to find time to post with all the current stuff to do for each week, so maybe I'll find some time now to share them.  Also, I had started brain storming and planning for 2013 last fall and had some ideas, so maybe if time permits, I might be able to get some of them posted as well.

I am jealous of you all that get to continue on as music leader. I was so looking forward to this year since my kids knew or were fairly familiar with the songs for the 2013 program, so I was excited at the prospect of having more time to teach some other new songs this year. So, enjoy the year and I hope to still hear from you on how things are going.

Happy singing in 2013!