Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pat Graham Workshop

Last Saturday, thanks to the lovely ladies on the Primusic site letting me know about it, I attended a workshop given by Pat Graham, who knows just about as much as there is to know about the Primary Children's Songbook!  It was WONDERFUL.  I found that a lot of what she said is found in her book, the green Songbook Companion, but seeing it in practice made a world of difference for a newbie like me.

You can find out more about Pat at www.grandmamusic.blogspot.com/.

Here are some of my notes for those who weren't able to make it.  If they don't make sense or you have any questions, comment and I will do my best to interpret them for you!:

- We are music leaders, NOT choristers!
- Harold B. Lee - "it is the business of every child to learn to act like a son or daughter of God".
- Don't be afraid to share your ideas with your Presidency - if it is right, it will spread.

- Helps us REMEMBER - like a tattoo on the sub conscience
- Helps us to UNDERSTAND gospel principles

There are healing benefits from music, physical and mental and spiritual.

If we TELL them, they will retain 10%.  If we use a PICTURE, they will retain 40%.  If we use a story, they will retain 50%.  But with WORDS AND MUSIC, we retain approximately 90%!!

D&C 25:12 - teach the children that their songs are a prayer unto Him

How is singing time/Primary music blessing their lives??


- REPETITION - we learn the song by hearing it and repeating.  Come up with excuses to sing over and over again without it being boring.  Example - ask them to count how many times a certain word is said.  Even if they get the right answer, jokingly say "6?  Are you sure???  I thought it was 5, can we count again??"

- INVOLVE THE KIDS!!!  Ask questions (great examples in the songbook companion),
WORDS: define words, count how many times they appear, which words on high/low notes, etc.
RHYTHM: What words occur in this rhythm?
SOMETHING TO DO: Actions, beat, make hand mirror the melody, copy my hands and make an arch with each phrase of the song, etc.

- Make singing BEAUTIFUL.  Doesn't have to be loud - if they are yelling, help them to put their chins down.  Give them a REASON to watch you - fermata, dynamics, etc. 


They don't call us because of what we know, but because of what we are willing to learn.

Children can feel and sense truth long before they can verbalize it.

Instrument ideas - hand bells, tone bells, Easter eggs filled with rice and taped, chopsticks, etc.

Pretend you're playing a trumpet for something important.

Pass out envelopes with wordstrips and have each row arrange them in order while you sing.  Then the 2nd time have them come up and insert them in paperclips on back of picture, then turn the picture over and talk about it.

Have REASONS to repeat the song.

Give them a REASON to watch you!!

WHAT PRINCIPLE are you trying to teach?  Not enough to just know the words, we need to help them UNDERSTAND.


Thomas S. Monson verse for Follow the Prophet:

Thomas Spencer Monson
gave his Christmas toy
to a poor and lonely
little neighbor boy
Now he is our prophet
loyal, kind and true
If we serve as he does
We'll be happy too.

Examples for I Think the World is Glorious: What word means 'awesome'?  How many words start with B?  How many times do we say 'sing'?

Make large interchangeable paint sticks - solid color laminated circle where you can switch out the pictures on the front.

On song "I Sing", break into four groups, each holds 'sing' until you have a beautiful harmony.

Use an attention getter relating to the song you're trying to teach.

If you're quiet, really quiet, if you sit so still,
You just might hear this pin drop, do you think you really will??

Make a flip chart for Feliz Cumpleanos to help them get the foreign words - Pat 'killed herself' writing the second verse so use it!! :)

Sign language for I Am a Child of God chorus.

DON'T USE THE PIANO/FULL ACCOMPANIMENT until they know the song - full accomp. is a reward once they have it.

Don't beat the song to death - louder and softer


  1. Thank you for sharing your notes! I love that you've taken time to begin this blog. It helps me remember why I'm called to this and gives me fresh ideas.

  2. Thank you, Nicole!!! I'm so glad you can use it!!

  3. Thanks so much for posting your notes from the workshop.
    I've enjoyed reading them and will definitely refer to them in the future.
    Is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?

  4. Hi Teryl, thanks for suggesting that! I just added a 'Follow By Email' link on the right, hopefully it works, I've never tried it before. Let me know if you sign up and don't get updates.