Sunday, May 29, 2016

Father's Day Song: Fathers

For Father's Day, I'm teaching the Primary "Fathers" (Children's Songbook pg. 209). Because I have a mandatory work meeting on June 5th, I won't be able to do with the Primary what I had originally intended. So, maybe one of you could do it or save it for next year! :)

My original plans included singing all 3 verses like this:
  • verse 1: have the children of a large family in the ward sing this verse. Primary joins in on chorus.
  • verse 2: the Bishop's children (whether they're in Primary or not, but only IF they're in the ward) sing this verse. Primary joins in on chorus.
  • verse 3: Primary sings this verse and chorus.
To teach the song, I wrote words and drew pictures on a large easel pad. This is what I ended up with:

I chose to put verses 2 and 3 on the same paper instead of writing/drawing the chorus 2 more times. The children loved it! And to motivate them even more on June 12th - the Sunday before we sing "Fathers" in Sacrament Meeting - we're playing the cut the tie activity along with rolling the dice! I'm so excited--and so are they! They have no idea what's coming. I love my Primary kids! They're such great singers! <3

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What My Child Taught Me About Singing Time

My son doesn't like to sing. :(

That's right: the 7-year old child of a pianist, accompanist, piano teacher, strong and loud alto, Primary Music Leader...doesn't like to sing. He won't even try. He just assumes he can't sing. He's a class clown in Primary, especially during Singing Time. But, as the Sunday of Rolos for Solos approached, he wanted the Rolos--without the work.

We had a talk about his attitude toward singing, what he hears versus what I hear when he sings, why it shouldn't bother him if other kids laugh at him when he sings, how practice makes much better, etc. I tried to cover the bases without it being a lecture. I assured him that he doesn't need to be the loudest singer: he just needs to know and sing the songs. Then, we had a somewhat unsuccessful singing session.

But it helped. Immensely! He asked me later to practice with him again, and he did great! On the Sunday we did Rolos for Solos, he sang a trio (I allow for duos and trios) and earned his Rolos. I was so proud of him.

Why doesn't every child like to sing? I feel so free and carefree when singing. I know some are shy or have been teased in the past; maybe some believe they are tone-deaf or have been told so. Are they scared to sing in public? Maybe they'll forget the words. Maybe they're not hearing the right notes or they hit a note off-key.

In all the pomp and circumstance of Singing Time, in the simple messages or hand motions that we use, what are we teaching the children? What are they actually learning from us? Have you talked to them about your experiences with singing--the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Yesterday, I saw my ENT at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA. She had good and bad news about my lifelong hearing loss and problems. You see, I had a lot of ear infections as a child - think toddler and little kid age - and, as a result, my eardrums are scarred, causing some hearing loss.

Well, at least that is what all my ENT's up to now have believed and told me.

My new ENT looked in my ears and nose, felt my throat, watched my eyes (dizziness test), and has no idea why my hearing is so bad. She has me scheduled (on a 4-6 month waitlist) for a tympanoplasty surgery which requires grafting a piece of my skin to make a brand new eardrum. During the operation, the surgeon will do a middle ear exploration to see if I need a mastoidectomy--surgery to remove a mass of dead cells called a cholesteatoma from my ear/head bones. In addition, the surgeon will see if any of my ear bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) are fractured, broken, etc. That would be an entirely separate surgery to fix: a stapedectomy.

In the end, my hearing is decreasing year by year, something I didn't want to believe or admit; I need surgery to (hopefully) fix broken things, remove bad things, and replace non-working things; and, although the prospect of hearing better is STUPENDOUS, I'm anxious and have a lot of thinking and planning to do before I have the surgery...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Featured Chorister: Sharon Wilson Kartchner


Sharon Wilson Kartchner



Each color has a different item inside (rice, noodles, paper clips, beads) so I can have different groups shake to the beat (or rhythm) for each phrase of the song and then have them all shake together at the end. Can use for Easter or anytime for reviewing a song.

Sharon's Egg Shakers post