Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith, week 2

I attended our annual stake primary conference earlier this week and left feeling renewed and inspired. It makes me sad that so few choristers attend. They are really missing out on a great opportunity to exchange ideas. There is always room to improve and grow.

I exchanged ideas with the only other woman that attended and with our stake primary leader. I loved seeing how we had different versions of the same basic concept, and I want to try every version.

I also had a nice reminder of some wonderful things to remember when you are teaching music in primary:

1. Pray always
2. You are the best visual aid, not your props
3. Get down on their level, especially in Junior Primary
4. Don't try to do sharing time. Do singing time!

So some of my idea exchanges that I am thinking about for Sunday:

To practice the lyrics in Junior Primary, one chorister will let children raise their hands to have a ball thrown to them, and then say the next line of the song. She says they love it, although it's funny how many of them will raise their hand because they want the ball, even if they don't remember the next line. I might try that in primary Sunday to review the first two verses that we learned last week.

This reminded me of how I like to play pass the [insert object here] and have the pianist stop playing. Whomever is holding the object has to tell the next line of the song, or get help from the person on either side of them.

Mainly, though, since I enjoy making creative visuals, it was nice to be reminded that WE are our best visual - moving our bodies, interacting with the children, etc. So, with that in mind, this Sunday, I am going to go back to an old standby that I have done with two other songs (last year). I am going to have the children help me make up motions to remember each verse of the song.

Make Your Own Song Motions
Last year, I had people show motions from their chairs and just picked someone's motion and showed it to everyone. Another time, I had children raised hands and selected them. This time, I think I'll ask some questions, and if they answer correctly, have them show us a motion related to the song. Sometimes the motions are too random though, so I'll be prepared to influence them if necessary.

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith - maybe point upward or hold my arms out
And from the ground he took - lean forward and scoop something off the ground
A sacred record hidden there - pretend to hold a book, closed
A precious, holy book - pretend to open a book
It tells of people long ago - Look far away and move your hands karate boy style "wax on, wax off"
Led by the Lord's own hand - hold one hand in the other
Who left their homes and crossed the sea - form waves, like in "book of mormon stories song"
To reach a favored land - Hold one arm out like showing a land ...

I have done this in Junior and Senior, but it is hard to keep track of two different sets of motions for each class, so this time, I think I'll have Junior make up the motions for verses 1 and 2. Then, I'll show those motions to Senior. Then, I'll have Senior add 3 and 4. Then, I'll show those motions to Junior. I'll just go with the flow but I like back-up plans to help me flow better :)

One other thought I had - was simply assigning each class to discuss the motion they wanted to do for each line. Then I could have them come up and demonstrate their line of the song. Then, while they are up, I will ask them a question about their line of the song, to help everyone remember and learn what they are singing about.

So, if I go that route, the questions I would ask are:

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith - What was the name of the Angel (Moroni)
And from the ground he took - What did he take from the ground (the Gold Plates)
A sacred record hidden there - What do we know the sacred record as (The Book of Mormon)
A precious, holy book - Where is the book now? (Hidden away.)
It tells of people long ago - What people did it tell of?
Led by the Lord's own hand - Name an object that the Lord used to lead people, that was like a compass (Liahona)
Who left their homes and crossed the sea - Where did Lehi's family go (The promised land)
To reach a favored land - What is the name of the land today?

Had peace when they obeyed the Lord - What does this picture represent? (The Anti-Nephite-Lehis, a name given to the Lamanites who were converted by the sons of Mosiah, as they buried their weapons. Learn more here.)

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