Sunday, August 25, 2013

Teaching "A Child's Prayer," continued

I want to focus on a few aspects of "A Child's Prayer" that are tricky - a few sections where the notes drop or go up in melody, somewhat unexpectedly, and a few sections where the rhythm speeds up or slows down.

I'll play my usual clapping game - simply sing while clapping to the rhythm. Stop the children and show them a part if they are not clapping in sync - which means they don't have the rhythm right. If they get this down, then you can divide them up and have one half clap to the rhythm while one half claps to the beat. I love playing variations of this game with my primary, especially my Senior Primary. They seem to really enjoy it, and more importantly, it really helps them to get the words and rhythm down fast, in a fun way.

Pitch Leading
I've pitch lead them before and even made up motions for one of the program songs where for a tricky part, the motion is a pitch lead of three notes. However, I've never had the children pitch lead. So, I'll have them put their hands up, and follow me as they pitch lead.

Pitch Lead Game
I looked at "A Children's Songbook Companion," to see if they had any new ideas and they mentioned the perfect idea to go with this week's focus - melody pictures! This isn't an exact science but these four sheets of paper represent the melody of the second verse. I put shapes in the corners so that I could have children raise their hand and tell me which paper goes next. Focusing on the dots will help them think about the pitch as they sing. The book I referenced had some other activities around this that are fun but as this is a copyrighted book, you'll need to go check out the book yourself to see the rest of the ideas. (I purchased this book two years ago. I would say that I hardly ever use it, but even being able to refer to it once or twice a year when I am stuck or haven't had time to plan, has made it worthwhile for me. There are plenty of awesome ideas on the Internet but the think I like about this book is that it's just good, plain, basics.) 

Also, I'm going to have the Junior Primary at least, hear the song on before I have them trying breaking the song up into a duet themselves.

Next up
I'll probably bring out my rhythm sticks and/or bells next week but I didn't want to do that until we had this song down better. I haven't been working on this song for as long as this blog implies, since we have had Stake Conference and other things come up that threw off my plans. Otherwise, I would switch to reviewing songs next week, to keep things from feeling too much like we are spending every Sunday drilling on one song over and over.

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