Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Engage kids with songs

Julie and I play music for the youth (up to 4th grade) at our church once a month. Over the Easter service, we played three services with about 150 kids at the largest service. The big challenge was keeping the kids engaged for 30 minutes. A few things that we have noticed that help keep kids engaged:

· Providing an opportunity to add to the song. We do Karen Drucker’s song “Thank You For This Day” and we ask them what they are thankful for? We then do the verse with their suggestions. To close the song out we do a final verse and ask them to just shout out their responses, everyone participates. Another opportunity was having them add sounds like on “All God’s Creatures,” with verses that end like “the old coyote (howls)....”

· Using hand motions – We always play Barry Ebert’s song “Growing With Spirit.” Most of the kids know the sign language parts for the song. We also do “This Little Light of Mine” where the kids hold up their finger as a light. Lately we’ve added “Give Yourself to Love,” and we made up hand signals for the chorus. It helps the kids remember the chorus and they have something to keep their hands occupied.

· A one line chorus with a simple melody – Barry Ebert wrote the song “Gingerbread Man,” and the chorus goes “run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” This repeated numerous times throughout the song and the kids sing it without you.

· No more than a four line verse – In almost all these songs, there’s never more than a four lines verse before some sort of engagement.

Having kids clap along hasn’t worked that well for us since we both have instruments and can’t lead them in the clapping. A dangerous way for engagement (sometime good or something bad) is having them dance along to a song. Potentially out of control....

If you have any other tips or suggestions for engaging kids in the songs, please leave a comment.

Labels: , ,

17 Comments:

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Marco Rivero said...

Marco Rivero

I guess nowadays most of the kids's interests are in computer games etc. Only few can really have the passion in music. But try to let them listen to a song that is catchy or has the melody that would be easy for them to remember. :)

 
At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Writing a Song said...

I agree on that Marco. Mostly, kids are now having fun computers games than literally do some song writing.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Mia Bergmann said...

I love songwriting and have been working hard at it. I am 13 years old and am trying to write songs for kids my age...check out my latest video and let me know what you think..http://youtu.be/nLuilqcdp-w

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Hammy said...

I can understand where this assumption comes from,as I'm15 and often get frustrated byother youths about me.
but you should not generalsall young people into the same category....
you wouldn't believe how many creative children exist but don't express themselves due tofear of judgement.

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jeff Oxenford said...

Thanks for all the comments. I agree that there's plenty of creativity in youth. What Julie and I try to do is provide the opportunity to express that creativity. See some of my earlier posts about SongCamp.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Jeff Oxenford said...

Mia,

Great job with Secret Crush. I especially like that it fit who you are. The video was also great, since I grew up on the Jersey shore.

I also checked out Trust My Heart. 2 for 2!

Keep writing and keep working at it!

 
At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Simon George said...

I really dig the reviews, opinions, and tips about writing music. It’s a hard thing to progress at and sites like this help. Great post, keep up the good work. Thanks. IStillGotMyGuitar

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Brandon M. Royer said...

I tried to write kid's songs before..never was too good at it. Guess I'm just too old!

I have a few songwriting tips on my blog if anyone is interested.

http://brandonroyer.com

 
At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I think it is a great idea to get kids involved in the songs. I know one thing my kids love is to participate with musical instruments! They always have a great time! Thanks for the song info!

 
At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

 
At 5:35 AM, Blogger Gaurav Bawa said...

http://micsonbawa.blogspot.in/

 
At 10:25 PM, Anonymous First Aid Training said...

I agree With Marco now mostly people Spending there Times with Computer Games and Other activities

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

Very good stuff here. I think a loy of songwriters get played into specific forms and layouts and it is hard to break away from that.

 
At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Andy Montgomery said...

Hi Jeff, I find that engaging kids with percussion instruments is a good way to keep their attention because it doesn't require a great deal of musical skill and kids like to bang and shake things.

Even better, is to rotate the percussion instruments around the class to give each child a taste of sound.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger raju ahamed said...

Fine post about music and really helpful info for
musicians .Please write write more about songwriters wanted .I wanna read more similar post from yours .Please keep writing for music.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Rakib Hasan said...

Fine post about music and really helpful info for
musicians .Please write write more about singer wanted .I wanna read more similar post from yours .Please keep

writing for music.
0

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Elisa Jed said...

Kids really can benefit from song. A lot of children songwriters take into account the mathematics behind the song. Listening to music develops a child's brain. If the song has dynamic rhythm in particular, the child can experience an increase in brain activity.

Elisa Jed | http://www.thurstonsigns.com.au

 

Post a Comment

<< Home