I don't have any special activity planned. I think it's important to just focus on fixing any issues and making sure we run through every song at least once. There are certain songs where the lyrics are a little quieter or weaker, and I'll stop and focus on those pieces as necessary.
I have a few special things planned so we'll work on the songs, fix any issues, and make sure to run through all the special things:
1. For "Every Star is Different" I have some children singing parts of the songs as little mini solos.
2. Most of the songs are being played by children so I will spend extra time on songs where the children play, as time permits. This is a unique and fun thing our ward does, and one I have mixed feelings about - it's difficult to put so much effort into a song and then sing it differently than practiced because the children that are accompanying are not at the appropriate skill level to accompany the song. I figure, the same could be said for a lot of our callings as adults - we learn as we go, so I will work to find ways to be supportive, and am refining my process of how I am involved and how I give input. For one thing, I am going to push back harder next year. My first year, I was completely taken by surprise and it was difficult. My second year, I wasn't asked at all, but since that had happened the previous year, I wasn't as surprised. I didn't express my shock that I wasn't involved in that decision so I guess it was my own fault. Fast forward - and next year, I'm going to take some control, including making it mandatory for kids to accompanying throughout the year, not just at the end of the year, for a specific song assigned to them. If they aren't comfortable and good enough to accompany during primary, they shouldn't be accompanying during the program yet. I'll still let children that aren't at that level yet accompany, but I will at least take control of making sure they are more ready. I want to find the balance between my intellectual understanding of quality playing and not letting intellect get in the way of the spiritual. If the ward music leader prayerfully chooses children, and if the children prepare faithfully, and if I am faithful, I expect at the end of the day things will work out, and they have in past years.
3. We have children playing strings for some of the songs, so we'll also practice with the strings.
4. For "A Child's Prayer," I'm having the primary teachers sing the duet with the primary children, so we'll work on that and see what adjustments need to be made. I have not been able to hear the teachers and children combined between junior and senior primary, so I'll have to pay attention and prepare to make adjustments when we have our practice on Saturday.
5. I'll still focus on volume, lyrics, and singing the song with the energy appropriate to each song. I'll bring a few props that I might want to use - my "mumbling mummy" sign, my "bored bat" sign, etc. that I will have the primary presidency hold up to show them how they are doing. I will bring my puppet, "Shy Samuel," who only responds to beautiful, loud singing, and will hide in his box if the children are singing too softly. I might also bring stickers to put on children to reward them for singing beautifully and with energy throughout the class time. I'm not sure if I will do any of this but I will bring some props just in case. Most of my focus though, will be simply on interrupting them during the song if I need to, to call out specific areas that need to be enhanced.