Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.1 Teaching with Music Workshop Anyone Can Teach with Music, Really! Goal This workshop is designed to provide encouragement and resources for Christian educators and church school teachers who desire to incorporate music and singing into their educational programs. Objectives Activities in this workshop are designed to enable participants to: • incorporate music into their Christian education program(s) in at least seven ways; and • use and make music regardless of their level of expertise. Overview In her book, Teaching with Music Through the Church Year, Judy Gattis Smith recognizes two basic roles of music in Christian education: 1. It should help a person grow in his/her understanding of God, of self, and of others; 2. It should intensify a personal commitment to Christ and his church. She goes on to say, “Through music we reach a deeper level of commitment than words alone can express.” Thus, it is important to remember to use music for music's sake, not just to fill time or silent spaces. The use of music in education takes students beyond intellectual learning. Since faith is something that is modeled and experienced rather than taught, music can serve as an aesthetic way to help Christians to grow in their faith. Music stimulates the right side of the brain, the side that processes feelings, emotions, and numerous other aspects that make up one’s faith. In order for Christians to grow in their faith, they need a healthy balance of right and left brain religious experiences. The enjoyment of music contributes in its own unique way to that kind of personal growth toward a relationship with Christ. Demonstrate Ways to Use Music Tape/CD player Use the handout “How To Teach A Song” to teach a simple hymn such as “For the Beauty of the Earth” (TNCH #28).* If you are not comfortable singing in front of the group, have a choir or a soloist record this hymn for you to use in a tape or CD player. This method works well with all ages. Rhythm instruments If there is not enough time to teach “We Are Marching In the Light of God” (TNCH #526), play a recording of it while the participants play rhythm instruments (found in most preschool and public elementary school music programs). Vary the movement with each stanza: stand, bounce, walk, march, move from side to side, etc. This method works best with preschool through early elementary ages. Bible story song When presenting a story from the Bible, consider teaching a song that tells the story. “Wee Sing Bible Songs” has a wide variety of Bible story songs (The Wise and Foolish Man, Zacchaeus, Noah’s Ark, etc.). These songs work well with preschool through elementary ages. *TNCH = The New Century Hymnal (The Pilgrim Press, 1995) Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.2 Play a singing game Use your imagination to transform a traditional singing game such as “The Farmer in the Dell” into a Bible story game. For example, Disciples in the Dell, or Abraham in the Dell. “London Bridge Is Falling Down” could become “The Red Sea is Falling Down.” Encourage the participants to come up with their own ideas to share. If there is time, come up with a group list of traditional games that could be incorporated into a lesson musically (such as musical chairs and hand-clapping rhythmic games). These games are most effective with preschoolers and Kindergartners. Folk dance Teach simple dance movements with a song. A simple example follows with the song, “Allelu, Praise Ye the Lord.” The group forms a circle. Allelu, allelu, allelu, alleluia, (circle to the right); Praise ye the Lord! (circle to the left, then repeat these two phrases again); Praise ye the Lord! (five baby steps to the center of the circle); Alleluia! (one giant step backward, then repeat these two phrases two more times); Praise ye the Lord! (walk toward center of circle and raise hands upward). If there is time, invite the participants to suggest other movement to use with this song. Depending on the complexity of the dance movements, this method will work well with older elementary through Senior High ages. Simple movements can be done, with practice, with early elementary ages. Metrical index Using the handout, “Using the Metrical Index,” show the participants how to use the Metrical Index found in the back of hymnals. Middle and Senior High students enjoy using this index, especially when they learn that they can easily write their own hymns. Discuss a popular song Bring a recording of a popular song and discuss it with the participants using the handout, “Using Music with Middle and Senior Highs.” Closing Close the session by singing “Jesus Loves Me” (TNCH #327). Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.3 Songbook and Music Resource Bibliography Wee Sing Bible Songs and Wee Sing More Bible Songs, songbook & cassette, Price Stearn, & Sloan, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, ISBN: 0-8431-1566-1 (Available at most bookstores and amazon.com.) Teaching With Music Through the Church Year, Judy Gattis Smith (ISBN: 0-687-41133-5) I’m God's Child All God's Children Sing Rainbow Songbook Songs for A Gospel People Spirit Anew All available from Logos Productions, (800-328-0200); www.joinhands.com Seasons of the Spirit Songbook & CD, United Church Press, (800-537-3394); www.spiritseasons.com Copyright License Services [These licenses make the use of thousands of songs affordable, legal, and ethically appropriate.] LicenSing (800-328-0200); www.joinhands.com, click on “Church Music” CCLI (800-234-2446); www.ccli.com GIA (800-442-1358); www.giamusic.com Bryan Sirchio (www.sirchio.com) and Christopher Grundy (www.christophergrundy.com) are singers/songwriters who are also UCC ministers. Their songs are entertaining, thought-provoking, and good discussion-starters. Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.4 How To Teach A Song (Even if you can’t play a musical instrument) All you need to evoke creative musical expression is: • clear enunciation • a light singing tone • sparkling eyes & enthusiasm • a feeling for rhythm If you lack any of the above aspects, use a CD or cassette and a CD/cassette player: • Have your church musician record the melody on a cassette (piano or someone singing). • Play the recording while your class is doing a craft or quiet activity. • During the next session, present the song as a total entity (have your church musician record the song with accompaniment); while they are listening, have them follow the words on a sheet of paper or on the board. • Discuss the meaning of the words/song. • Play the song again to listen to the melody. • Repeat the first verse over & over, asking the class to join in when familiar with the tune. • Learn other verses. • Younger children will enjoy using simple hand motions to help them learn the words. Sign language is good for older children. • Repeat the song each week or often throughout the year. Repetition can be fun: • Ask all whose name begins with A-M to sing it. • Then ask all whose name begins with N-Z to sing. • All who have blond hair. • All who have dark hair. • Create your own divisions... • Make it a part of your classroom routine (opening, closing, etc.) • Write the words on the board. All sing. Erase one or two words and challenge them to sing it again remembering the missing words. Continue to erase and sing until all the words are gone. Everyone-Can-Sing Qualities with hymn examples from The New Century Hymnal Simple Words: Jesus Loves Me, God of the Sparrow, For the Beauty of the Earth Easy Refrains: Rejoice, You Pure In Heart; Angels We Have Heard On High; The First Nowell Echo Songs: This Is the Day; any hymn – echo each line Short Songs: Little Children Welcome; (Caribbean) Hallelujah Repetitious Songs: Let Us Break Bread Together; Lord, I Want To Be A Christian; Enter, Rejoice, and Come In; I’ve Got Peace Like a River; This Little Light of Mine; We Are Marching In the Light of God; I Thank You, Jesus; I Woke Up This Morning Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.5 Using the Metrical Index Locate a familiar hymn in your hymnal, such as “Joy to the World.” Somewhere on the page should be a series of numbers with periods after each one, for example 126.96.36.199. This code represents the meter of the hymn. There are 8 syllables in the first line, 6 in the second, 8 in the third, and 6 syllables in the fourth line. (Count out the syllables in the first stanza of “Joy to the World” and you will see that it fits this 188.8.131.52. code.) This means that if one follows a certain code when writing poetry, the resulting words will fit any tune with that code. (The only exceptions are poems that have non-traditional accents on certain syllables.) In the back of the hymnal is a Metrical Index that lists all of the hymn tunes by their code. (Be aware that the hymn tunes are listed by their names, not the first line of the hymn. You must look up the name of the hymn in the Index of Hymn Tunes.) This allows you to sing a hymn to another tune, or create your own words to sing with a favorite hymn tune. Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.6 Using Music with Middle and Sr. Highs Discuss a popular song Invite your students to bring in a CD or cassette tape recording of one of their favorite songs, as well as the jacket so you can make a copy of the words for everyone to follow. Have them bring in their choices a week in advance so that you can screen them before class. Be sure to use the following guidelines (as well as some of your own): • no foul language • no sexual language or innuendo • no demeaning of others (ethnic groups, women, etc.) • no condoning of violence Some Questions for Discussion: • What is the song about? • What words jump out at you? (List on newsprint) • What emotions or feelings are being expressed? (List on newsprint) • Does the music project the same feelings as the words? • As Christians, how do you react to this song? • What (if any) are the Christian teachings in this song? • Do you agree with the message of this song? Why or why not? Partners In Education United Church of Christ Teaching with Music Workshop Page 5.7.7 Musical Abilities of Children and Youth Preschoolers • • • • • • • • • • • • Confidence level is at its height at this age. Learn from imitation. Learn best through movement; moving with music. Enjoy and benefit from repetition. Can use rhythm instruments and clapping, etc. with music. Loudness/softness distinction is developing at this age. Subject matter: Should be familiar topics with simple statements that tell a story, involve action, such as Jesus as friend, Jesus’ life, God the creator, God’s love, God’s world, family, simple Bible stories, etc. (concrete images that relate to the child’s experience). Text: natural word order, words they understand; no more than 2 or 3 syllables per word. Not too many verses; singing one verse through twice is appropriate for and enjoyed by this age. Melody: simple step-by-step melodies are best – no large leaps. Vocal range: from Eb above middle C to C above middle C. Love to be sung to. Some Hymn Refrains for Preschoolers Jesus Loves Me Jesus Christ Is Risen Today Rejoice, You Pure in Heart (in D) O Come, All Ye Faithful The First Nowell Angels We Have Heard On High Some Hymns for Preschoolers Jesus Loves Me This Is the Day Enter, Rejoice, and Come In I’ve Got Peace Like a River This Little Light of Mine We Are Marching In the Light of God Elementary • • • • • • • • • Music brings Bible stories alive; enjoy Bible story musicals (see local church Music Director). Repetition in the song’s tune is preferable but not mandatory. Enjoy clapping with the beat and learning more complex clapping patterns. Don’t quite understand the impact of death & resurrection yet; choose Easter texts that focus on spring and new life. Text: Topics may expand beyond home and family to the not so familiar. Ready for rounds (two parts). Range: from D above middle C to F above middle C; melody should mainly center around G above middle C to D above middle C. .The child’s voice sings more easily in the upper register (no higher than 2 Es above middle C). Ready to learn how to use the hymnal. Middle and Sr. Highs • • • • Prefer non-singing musical activities (at this age level, it is best to leave the singing to the trained musician). Folk/circle dances. Study contemporary lyrics in light of the gospel message. Use hymn texts in lessons and write own tunes; write own texts to already existing tunes.
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