Category Archives: Primary Chorister/Music Director

When I Do What’s Right I Feel Good Flip chart

I found a catchy song on the LDS Church website called ‘When I Do What’s Right I Feel Good’ by Margie Lindsay found here:


I made up a flip chart to go with it.  My Snr Primary LOVES the song, and I’m sure it’s one we can sing as long as I am Primary Music Leader :-)

Here is my flip chart: When I do whats right I feel good flipchart pdf

Dynamics and Italian Terms for Singing Time

I have one child in Primary who loves to torment me (why is there always one?).  Anyways, he said “Why don’t you teach us actual music?”  So I thought “Okay, I will”.  So I quickly made up these Dynamics and Italian Terms cards to use whenever I want to revise a song with the children.




I did do them quickly, and added to them as I went so they’re not consistent.  Here are the secrets:-


The Dynamics cards are not back to back on each sheet.  Rather the first side of page 1 goes with the first side of page 2.  The second side of page 1 goes with the second side of page 2…if that makes sense.  Etc.


The Italian Terms cards are easier.  They’re on the same page.


Cut each little half page out, match it up and laminate.  I stuck a giant paddle pop stick onto one side of a page with sticky tape.  Then I stuck the matching side on with more tape.  Simple but effective.


If I were to print them out again, I would do all the Italian Term cards one colour, and all the Dynamics cards a different colour, but I’m not going to waste paper at this point.  Besides, it keeps the children on their toes :D


Just to avoid confusion, here are what the fronts and backs of each card is supposed to say:-


P – Piano/Soft

F – Forte/Loud

(Rectangle hanging from a line) – Semibreve Rest/Whole Bar Rest

Sfz – Sforzando/Strong Accent

(Looks like a greater than sign) – Crescendo

(Looks like a less than sign) – Diminuendo



Staccato – Short and Separate/Detached

Legato – Smoothly, Well Connected

Calando – Gradual decrease in volume and tempo


The children absolutely love these, especially Snr Primary.  I generally use two at a time for each verse of a song I want to revise.  I might throw in an extra ‘surprise’ in a verse.  Use Sfz sparingly.


Here are the pdf’s of the cards:

Italian Terms for Singing Time 1

Dynamics for Singing Time1

Chorister or Music Director?

I am a Mormon (nickname for member of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), have been a Ward Music Chairman for 8 years, a music teacher for over 15 years, started piano when I was 4, violin when I was 8 and been trained professionally as a chorister (singing in a choir from the age of 7 or maybe it was 6.  It was a LONG time ago anyways…) . I have often wondered why we are the only church to call music directors as ‘choristers’. How can we get it so wrong?

The definition of a chorister according to The Collins Australian Pocket Dictionary is “a singer in a choir, usually a choirboy”.

Boy would our Young Men LOVE to hear that!

The question I have is: What is that game you play with a big orange ball, and have to throw it through a hoop? Oh that’s right. Handball.

Aren’t Ward Clerks and Executive Secretaries the same thing? No? Well neither are Choristers and Ward Music Directors.

So what is the difference exactly?

Well, Ward Choristers can actually be called to sing in the ward choir. We don’t generally do that, usually asking for volunteers instead, but it can be done.

Ward Music Directors (and any other director, I might add) leads or conducts the music. In Primary we call them the ‘Music Leader’.

The job of the Ward Music Director, as outlined in the church Music Handbook:-

 “recommends and conducts the congregational hymns for sacrament meetings and for other ward meetings as requested. To recommend hymns for sacrament meetings, the music director obtains a schedule of future topics from the ward music chairman, selects hymns that correlate with the topics, consults with the organist, and gives the recommendations to the ward music chairman to obtain the bishopric’s approval”.

May I add that the term ‘chorister’ is not mentioned ANYWHERE in the Music Handbook. Someone with intelligence did actually type it.

I know we Mormons don’t have great big cathedrals with gorgeously high ceilings and wonderful acoustics and enthralling young men and boys singing glorious hymns directed heavenward. We have temples instead. We also have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (on a side note, the ABC mentioned that they were “The most disciplined and skilled choristers in the world”).

Someone tried to tell the Relief Society group I was with today, whilst discussing time signatures, that choristers conducted. I don’t ever recall as a chorister (singing in the choir from the age of 7 to the age of 11) actually ever conducting the music. Our Choral Director/Conductor did that. I mean, call a violinist a viola player, and you would get poked in the eye with their bow.

Can we please stop referring to our Ward Music Directors as choristers?

If you REALLY have a burning desire to continue using the term ‘chorister’, please join I’m sure they can help you out :D