In teaching music to children 4-7 years old, preparation is vital, said Ruth Gardner in a class on techniques for teachings songs to children.
Sister Gardner, former member of the Primary General Board and a specialist in children's music, suggested these steps in preparation:
Study the words.
- What gospel message or principle do I want the children to learn from singing this song?
- What words will I need to explain or pronounce?
- What key words or phrases will help the children learn the song quickly? (words that rhyme or indicate chronological order)
- What teaching aids or actions do the words suggest?
- What personal experiences could I relate that would bear testimony of the message?
Study the music.
- What is memorable about the melody? (repeated patterns, shape or unusual intervals)
- What rhythm patterns make the song interesting?
- How many phrases are in the song? Are any alike?
- What words are given musical emphasis? (high or low notes, holding, slowing down, verse/chorus)
- How could the mood marking and tempo add to the feeling of the song?
Plan the song presentation.
- Use an attention-getter that focuses on the main message of the song.
- Direct the children's listening through questions and activities that challenge the children's thinking.
- Involve the children in singing with a plan that involves more singing than talking.
- Bear testimony of the message of the song.
Practice the plan.
Prepare spiritually by asking in prayer for the influence of the Spirit.