12 Practical Transition Songs to Teach to Your Children's Choir

Transitions. They are a fact of life, but they can seem especially cumbersome and drawn out when working with a group of children. 

It takes time for everyone to come in and get settled.
It takes time to get everyone quiet and listening to directions.
It takes time to pass out instruments or other props.
It takes time to collect instruments or other props.
It takes time to move to another area of the room.

You get my point. And when your rehearsals are only 30 minutes in length, the amount of time you spend transitioning from one thing to another can really add up.

Here’s a question: What if we could make these transition times musical? What if we could keep children engaged, listening, moving, and singing, even, as they transition from one activity to the next?

Today, I’m sharing 12 practical transition songs you can use in your children’s choir rehearsals.

The great thing about these songs is that the lyrics have directions embedded in them. For instance, when you want children to have a seat on the floor in a circle, sing “Everybody Have a Seat.” The lyrics are:

“Everybody have a seat, have a seat, have a seat; 
everybody have a seat on the floor. 
Not on the ceiling, not on the door! 
Everybody have a seat on the floor."

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What's in a Name? An Historical Look at Several Mainstream Protestant Denominations

What's in a name?

Most of us, if asked, probably have some sense of denominational affiliation, or at least partiality. Perhaps you grew up with close ties to a certain denomination. For some of you, maybe you've been able to work within that same denomination throughout your career. For others of us, our work experience is varied - based on jobs that become available, places we live, worship styles, family decisions, etc.

I know, for me, my experience includes Episcopal and United Methodist (growing up) and United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, UCC, Presbyterian, and American Baptist/United Methodist throughout my career.

If you’ve ever been in a position where you’re considering a move to a new-to-you denomination, you’ve probably found yourself asking/googling questions like:

What do Episcopalians believe?
How are Methodists different from Lutherans?
What sets PCUSA churches apart from PCA?
What does it mean to be congregational?

To delve into some answers to these questions, we need to step back in time for a little history lesson.

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Six Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started in Ministry

Hindsight is 20/20, right?

If we knew then what we know now, we probably would have done things differently, handled that situation another way, said “yes” instead of “no” (or vice versa).

But the thing about life is we can only live going forward. We can’t go back and edit our choices later on, though hopefully, we take the time to reflect and learn from our experiences as we go along.

I’ve been doing that lately with ministry. What have I learned over the years? How have I grown and changed? What would I tell my younger self? We all have different answers to those questions, but they’re important to think about and perhaps even voice from time to time. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

In the spirit of all that, here are six things I wish I’d known when I first started in music ministry:

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What to Teach When in Children's Choir: Preschool

Over the past month, or so, I’ve been putting together a few lists of what to teach when in children’s choir. Here are the links for the other posts in this series, in case you missed them:

What to Teach When: Younger Elementary (K-2nd grade)
What to Teach When: Older Elementary (3rd-5th grade)

Today, I’m going to talk about what to teach when in preschool choirs.

There’s no denying it: preschool choirs are pretty adorable. Watching them sing and do hand motions and wave to mom and dad is both sweet and heart-warming. But, if you’ve ever worked with preschool-age children, you know that leading a group of little singers each week takes a lot of thought, care, and intentional planning (and energy!).

Related Post: How to Create a Seamless, Joyful Experience for Your Preschool Choir

Preschool choir rehearsals often have lots of vocal exploration, steady beat movement activities, musical play (with instruments and story-telling), and lots of opportunities to experience musical contrasts: fast vs. slow, high vs. low, soft vs. loud, short vs. long.

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11 Modern Choral Hymn Settings for Christmas

Fall is in the air (literally, here in Rochester). The nights are cool, the pumpkins and mums are out, and Fall cups are back at Starbucks.

This can mean only one thing: it’s time to start listening to Christmas music. Naturally.

Every year around this time, I spend some time browsing online music catalogs and listening to a variety of Advent and Christmas anthems: seeing what’s new, discovering old favorites, and looking for inspiration (you, too?). Not necessarily because I need to buy something; perhaps more out of curiosity. 

In my recent perusing, I was struck by the number of traditional hymns and carols I found that have been reimagined and creatively set in fresh, modern ways. So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you. I tried to include a variety of anthems in this list - most are SATB (some with divisi, others without), but there’s one SAB and one 2-part anthem in the mix, as well. Hope you find something you can use with your choir this year!

Whether you’re in the not-quite-done-with-my-Christmas-planning-yet camp or the I-could-use-a-little-seasonal-inspiration, I hope you enjoy listening to and browsing these modern hymn arrangements.

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