Singing Time – learning a new song (with a bouncy die)

I am helping out with our Ward’s Singing Time until the end of January as the Music Leader has gone to Hawaii (lucky her!!!).  We were asked to do a Christmas musical item in Sacrament Meeting however only had 3 weeks to learn something.  I chose to do a Medley of ‘When Joseph Went To Bethlehem’ and ‘He Sent His Son’ (same tonality and they had already learned ‘He Sent His Son’ for the Presentation).  The task of learning ‘When Joseph…’ wasn’t too bad.  The Seniors picked it up no problems, but the Juniors were having trouble with the second verse.

I decided to do this game with them (both Jnrs and Snrs) and it worked wonders.

You will need:-

  1. One die
  2. One white board marker
  3. One white board
  4. An enthusiastic bunch of kids and leaders

How to play:-

  1. Write up the words of the song you’re going to sing beforehand on the white board.
  2. Sing the words through a couple of times with the kids once so they are familiar with the words (I played this game the Sunday before they had to sing it – they had already been learning it for 2 weeks prior).
  3. Ask a child to come up and roll a die.  I use a giant bouncy one, which adds to the fun.  They all want a turn of it.
  4. If they roll a 3, rub out every third word (or third word of the verse you are working on).  Roll a 6 – rub out ever 6th word etc.  The problem is if someone rolls a 1.  You would have to rub out EVERYTHING!  That’s also part of the fun.

I was so amazed at how focused the children were, and the adults in the room. I love getting the teachers involved, and as I had asked them also to sing up the front with the kids, they were determined to learn the words as well.

Of course, this isn’t limited to just Church, you could use this idea:-

  • in a classroom situation at school learning poetry
  • learning a new song on a staff (use notes instead of words – and rub out the notes instead)

Angels We Have Heard on High – Handbells

I was thinking about Singing Time in Primary next week, and I decided as they’re going to be singing in Sacrament Meeting, that I could do something a little more enjoyable in Singing Time and use the set of bells I have.  We did something a few weeks ago that they loved, and I will post that up soon however I got a little creative today and did my best attempt at drawing notes in Publisher.  There is a secret to getting notes in there, I just don’t know about it yet so please ignore the stems.  They are driving me nuts enough as it is :D

The colours on my version of ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ are taken from the set of Aldi bells I purchased about a year ago.  The bells are numbered, so you may prefer to number the notes before you laminate the bell music.  You can also just use the second page if you prefer the ‘chorus’ only (and yes, the quavers are the smaller noteheads).  Unfortunately at this point the crotchets and minims look the same.  The kids I’m doing this with won’t be able to tell anyway.

I will be pointing along to the notes as the children play them.

For a copy of the handbell music of ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’, click here: Angels We Have Heard on High HANDBELLS

Edited to note: My printer decided not to differentiate between the dark blue and light blue, so you may need to write in “LB” (Light Blue) and “DB” (Dark Blue) if your printer does the same.

Music rhythm game ‘Don’t clap this one back’ with rhythm flash cards

I first heard of this game through Samantha Coates at the Winter Piano Teacher’s Seminar and I loved the idea.  I have tweaked it a little though.

How to play:-

  • Clap a rhythm to your class/Primary.  They have to clap it back to you.
  • The only rhythm they can’t clap back is “Don’t clap this one back” (aka crotchet, crotchet, quaver, quaver, crotchet – the one school teachers tend to favour).
  • Clap whatever rhythms you like, and throw in the “Don’t clap this one back” rhythm to trick them.
  • Don’t eliminate students in this game, as the ones who tend to get out first are generally the ones who need the most practise.

To print out the guide sheet with basic 4/4 rhythms on it (semibreves, minims, crotchets and quavers, no dotted notes), click here: ‘Don’t Clap This One Back’ guide sheet

If you would like flash cards of all the rhythms used on the guide sheet, click here:Don’t Clap This One Back rhythm cards

Variations on the game:-

  • Student chooses the rhythms to clap and the teacher/other students have to clap (or not) the rhythm.
  • Print out a few copies of the rhythm cards and play memory or concentration, clapping the rhythms each time a card is turned over.
  • Blu-tac the cards to a wall.  Teacher claps a rhythm and the student needs to identify the rhythm card that was clapped.
  • Use percussion instruments, one note on the piano/violin, body percussion to tap/clap the cards.

This is a fantastic game to develop those aural skills and will capture the children’s attention.

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