This Sunday our primary will be in the chapel practicing for our upcoming program. It makes for kind of a long primary (as we'll be using the 2 full hours) but somehow we all manage and get through it. I'd like to share a few little tips that I've used to help shake up the monotony of this practice...
First I bring in this big guy:
I've had trouble finding smiley face balloons in stores lately so I've been resorting to Amazon:
I then took it to my local party store and had it filled with helium and attached to a really long string! Long enough so he can touch the chapel ceiling. When the kids are singing, I have a counselor raise and lower the balloon contingent on how well she can hear the children. If they are not loud enough, the balloon comes down. If they are singing out (I try to not emphasize the word "loud" as that leads to yelling), the balloon stays high. I like to tell the kids "never louder than lovely" and they have responded well to that.
My second tip is one I tried out last year during the program and will be doing it again. If you follow me, you know I like to post words in primary. We sing a variety of songs that not everyone knows the words to and this is a simple method so all can sing (including the teachers!). You can see how I post words in primary HERE and download all of the primary songs I've put into this format.
Most (okay, almost ALL) of my primary kids KNOW our program songs by heart. But there is a handful of kids who only occasionally make it to church (split parents, semi-active families, etc.) and I don't want them to be singled out as the child who doesn't sing because they don't know the songs. Breaks my heart.
So for the program I still post the words like I've pictured above (plus, I will have all reading pair of eyes on me - a total bonus!). My kicker is I have the same words posted on the other side of the binder for ME to read! It's SO much easier to have these big words than the book (although I do use the book as a weight to hold the binder from falling over the back or just in case I totally messed something up!). This way I know when to flip the page over. What they see is what I see - it's really nice to just flip the pages. Also on my copy, I like to write the time signature to the song for quick reference:
With the words facing out, the kids also are able to know what song is coming up (of course none of this pertains to the little ones as they just mimic what I sing but that should go without saying, right?). Anyway, you might want to try it. I'd just recommend trying it during your chapel practice before your program so you know all your pages are in the right order :).
I like to have the first song we sing placed as the last song in the binder, with the 2nd verse in front of it (so it's all backwards if you looked at it like a regular book). Then all your pages to flip are right in front of you and as you go to the next verse or next song, you simply take your page you are reading and flip it over the music stand. Clear as mud?
You can also check out some other of my program helps HERE if you like.
As for standing to conduct, our primary is big enough to fill the choir seats with a few chairs in between. So it works best for me to stand right in front of the first bench off to the side by the piano. We have a riser that's big enough to fit my music stand and myself. When it's time to lead the song, I stand on the riser, raise the music stand so it's just above the privacy wall (can I call it that??) and so the kids can read the words. When we're finished, I lower the stand then sit back down on the first row. Pretty simple.
Then for primary right after our program, I've got planned to use my Primary Music Memory HERE. You can also check out all my After-the-Program ideas HERE (scroll through all the posts). This is my FAVORITE time of year as the possibilities are endless! Have your primary learn some oldies-but-goodies or sing all those fabulous fall songs! I'll have more to come once our program is over.