Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Word on Memorization

I want to spend just a minute to talk about when it is appropriate for children to memorize a song.  Here it is, in the simplest way of explaining my own personal thoughts on the subject.

Primary Program = memorize everything with no flipcharts or posters.  Cue cards for Follow the Prophet may sometimes be appropriate if you're singing a lot of verses.

Every other performance, including Christmas program, Christmas parties, Mother's Day, Father's Day, random invitations for Sacrament Meeting performances, and other holidays = no need to memorize.  Have appropriate visual aids available.

Why? I have seen a couple of different primaries in the last few weeks, at church and at ward parties, with half of the children looking completely horrified and not singing because they don't remember the words to the song.  The other half were mumbling, with the exception of 3 or 4 kids who were singing their hearts out.  They had probably only spent a week or two learning the songs, and when the pressure was on, many of them forgot the words.  I felt so bad for them!  Singing songs for special occasions should be fun!

I know this may chap some hides out there, and if you are a stickler for memorization, I don't mean to offend. But I just want to let others know that it is okay to use flipcharts for songs that are literally sung once a year.  If the kids memorize the song, great!  But for those that missed a Sunday or need more than 20 minutes of singing time to memorize a song, it is sure confidence boosting to know what the words are.  Our job as choristers is to teach the gospel through music, teach the joy of singing, and help our little ones share their testimonies.  So let them enjoy performing!

OK, climbing down from the high horse now.  Have a great week!

P.S. don't hate me!
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  1. I agree. Although I have found that sometimes, even in the program, if they seem shaky on a song, If I have some cue cards they sing with a lot more confidence.

  2. Hear! Hear! Performing should be their opportunity to bear their testimony through song and not something that is frightening. Thanks for all of your great ideas . . . they always help!

  3. I'm so glad you wrote this! It's always been so frustrating to me as a member of a ward to see the kids singing in Sacrament using visual aids, but now as the chorister I realize they weren't using the aids cause they weren't teaching the songs, but because they just need the extra help on those songs they hardly get to sing!!! I always thought I'd never do that when I was called to this calling, but I've definitely changed my ways. I love the songs and want the kids to know them by heart, but until they do, I"ll help them out when they're performing!

  4. AMEN sista! That's been my philosophy from the get go. We use flip charts often for opening or closing songs that flow with Sharing Time, but they haven't really learned. Teachers appreciate them too:)

  5. Agree! I do sometimes have visuals for even program songs. The Tabernacle choir sometimes uses music, ward choirs often have music, we as adults get to use the words every week when we sing the hymns so why can't the children. It makes them feel more confidant in what they are singing. If they didn't really know the song it wouldn't matter if they had words, half of them can't read anyway.


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