When you are teaching music in Primary, sometimes you just need to shake things up when you are learning a new song. Each music director has their own favorite way to teach songs. However, sometimes it is good to change the methods you use in order to keep things fresh for the kids and for you.
Here are some ideas for teaching new songs in Primary:
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
Sing a song over and over inviting the children to listen
Ask questions that are answered in the song
Use an attention getter
Wear a costume
Enter room as a character singing a new song
Invite a guest to dress up and play a part
Have children do role play
Use an interesting prop/object
Use a puppet with a different voice to introduce a new song to the children
Tell a story about the composer and how they wrote this song.
Play a guessing game
Play only the melody on the piano and hum along
Make pitch charts to show how each melody of the song moves up and down
Discuss the meaning of the song in an interesting way
Arrange the chairs differently
Have the children line up quietly and lead them to another room, outside, or out one door and into another to introduce a new song
Use pictures to express key words/phrases
Use objects in place of pictures
Flannel Board figures
Make Large cardboard cut outs that correspond to the song with a face hole cut out for children to hold up during a song
Roller box to teach a song. Take pictures from old primary lesson manuals of the things mentioned in the song and glue them on a long sheet of butcher paper with the words beside or below the picture. Then the kids or you will crank the dowel to turn the picture. Once you take the time to make a nice box you will find you use it for several other songs. The kids love the moving pictures.
Chalkboard/dry erase boardwrite the words on the board to the whole song, and write some WRONG. See if the kids can figure it outand you sing what is written--tell them you need their help to get it right
Write key words on chalkboard, and erase them as you learn them (eraser pass): write the words to the verse/s up on the blackboard, sing the song through properly, then select children to come and rub 2 words out each. Then sing the verse again, and have more children rub words out. Sometimes you can allow them to circle words as well and that means that where the word is circled the children sing "la" instead.
Preparation: Choose major words of the song. Find 2 or 3 synonyms/like words and/or opposites for each of the major words. On the board are a list of words in groups of three. Each distinct group includes one word from the song being taught and two words that mean the same or opposite. List the major word and its like words together in a group (with each major word having its own group) on either a blackboard or white board.. If possible putting each group in a different color. Tell the children to listen to the song and erase the words that do NOT belong in the song. Example: The song being taught is Seek the Lord Early. You would choose SEEK as your first word and with it place the words LOOK and SEARCH. The next group might be for the word YOUTH. With it CHILDHOOD and ADOLESCENCE. Another group might be FATHER, MOTHER and HOLY GHOST.
Make sure the children erase only the words NOT in the song (you want the words that remain on the board to be the words in the song in the order they appear in the song).
Hand the eraser to a child and start singing the song. DO NOT STOP SINGING. You may go through the song several times before all the wrong words are erased. The children them come up one at a time and erase one word not in the song.
Teachers may help non-readers, or you may need to prompt when few words are left. If a child erases a wrong word, be prepared to write it back on without stopping your singing. After all the wrong words are erased, have the children sing only the words on the board. Then switch and have them sing all the words except the ones on the board.
I'll share some more ideas for this next week. Until then, happy singing!