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MUSIC FOR CHILDREN: PLAN AHEAD

In teaching music to children 4-7 years old, preparation is vital, said Ruth Gardner in a class on techniques for teachings songs to children.

Sister Gardner, former member of the Primary General Board and a specialist in children's music, suggested these steps in preparation:

Study the words.

- What gospel message or principle do I want the children to learn from singing this song?

- What words will I need to explain or pronounce?

- What key words or phrases will help the children learn the song quickly? (words that rhyme or indicate chronological order)

- What teaching aids or actions do the words suggest?

- What personal experiences could I relate that would bear testimony of the message?

Study the music.

- What is memorable about the melody? (repeated patterns, shape or unusual intervals)

- What rhythm patterns make the song interesting?

- How many phrases are in the song? Are any alike?

- What words are given musical emphasis? (high or low notes, holding, slowing down, verse/chorus)

- How could the mood marking and tempo add to the feeling of the song?

Plan the song presentation.

- Use an attention-getter that focuses on the main message of the song.

- Direct the children's listening through questions and activities that challenge the children's thinking.

- Involve the children in singing with a plan that involves more singing than talking.

- Bear testimony of the message of the song.

Practice the plan.

Prepare spiritually by asking in prayer for the influence of the Spirit.