To the Music Leaders
by Debra Coe (c) all right reservedYou have one of the very most important callings in Primary. Certainly you have the most direct and long lasting influence on the children. I was raised in the church and when I look back on my years in Primary and Jr. Sunday School, I can honestly not remember a single lesson I was taught in the classroom, but I can remember not only nearly every song I learned over all those years, but I can clearly remember actually learning many of them and the music leader who taught them (I can even remember some of the visual aids used to teach us the songs) I remember loving to sing, I remember our music leader explaining the gospel message and thinking about that message every time I sung the song.
I am sure that the lessons I cannot remember did make an impression on me, that they touched my soul and have come back to me on a subconscious level. But there is no doubt in my mind that the music made the greatest impression.
It is important that as music leaders you realize you are doing far more than teaching music and words to a song. You are teaching gospel principles. Please let this thought guide you in how you go about teaching the song. Use methods that go with the message of the song. I once heard of a Primary music leader that taught "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" by playing a game that made the children laugh. They may have learned the words, but the message to the song was lost. Use every opportunity you can to explain the gospel principle involved. Bear your own testimony often.
Remember that teaching songs to children is not done effectively when the words are just written down and then taken away. Many of the children do not read or do not read well. Ask a specific question about the message of the song and then have them listen to you sing it and see if they can hear the answer to your question (do this several times, asking several questions, before you even have them sing it once.) Use some visual aids to help them remember the words, but be careful because too many visuals detract from the song.
President Benson said, In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it --you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devil's power. But now is also the great day of the Lord's power, with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth.
The children you teach need the gospel firmly implanted - more than any other generation. I ask that you always consider this. So often when we let the children sing a variety of songs, we use some game method of choosing the song to sing that is fun but that does not teach anything. While there is nothing wrong with picking raindrops with name of a song off of an umbrella or popping balloons to find a message for a clue to a song, perhaps we can increase our opportunities to teach by using objects that Christ used or that are commonly used in the scriptures. For example, use fish in net and take one minute to explain that Christ asked the apostles to be fishers of men, or have a hen with little chickens that she gathers under her wings and again use just one minute to explain the analogy.
I hope you all love the children and that they will feel this love. They will feel it by the way you touch them, talk with them, your expression, and everything you do. They will literally feel their Heavenly Father's love through you.
Thank you for the service you give. As you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto Him.
Love One Another, I Am a Child of God, Choose the Right Way, Listen to the Still Small Voice, Dare to Do Right, Kindness Begins with Me, Search Ponder and Pray, Give Oh Give, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Follow the Prophet, Keep the Commandments, Pray in Faith, Jesus is Our Loving Friend, He Died that We Might Live Again, Jesus Has Risen, The Priesthood Is Restored, I'll Seek the Lord Early, Where Love is There God is Also, I Want to Live the Gospel, I Believe in Being Honest, I'm Glad for Many Things, I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth, The Lord Gave Me a Temple, Stand for the Right, I Will Be Valiant, Families Can Be Together Forever, When We're Helping We're Happy, Jesus Said Love Everyone
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