Teaching Hymns to Children - Part I

hymns, children, singing, teaching, children's choir, hymnody, tradition, church music, church, worship, church service, choir, choir rehearsal Is there value in teaching hymns to children? Are they effective teaching tools? How do you incorporate them into rehearsals? Here are a few thoughts:

WHY TEACH HYMNS TO CHILDREN?

Church heritage • Connect the children to the church's history and invite them to be a part of the legacy • Help develop their identity as a choir. How is a church children's choir different than an elementary school or community choir?

Spiritual formation • Connect the hymn texts to Scripture verses • Discuss the meaning of the text and communicate its relevance for today

Music education • Use hymns to teach children about singing: unison, 2-part, canon, vowels, consonants, shaping • Identify elements of tonality and rhythm once the hymn is learned: recognition of patterns, phrase structure, meter, melodic lines • Introduce the children to the various genres of music represented in the hymnal: spirituals, folk melodies, etc.

CONSIDERATIONS

Hymns in rehearsals • Choose a hymn to use as a gathering or welcome song • Select a hymn of the month (I tend to use only the first verse) • Connect hymns to anthems and other special music with a common theme or musical element

Hymns in worship • Use hymn arrangements as anthems • Have the children lead the opening hymn for the congregation (from the front or while processing in) • Give children an opportunity to be active participants in the service

Role in worship • Children in leadership • Emphasis on purpose over performance

Check back on Wednesday for Part II of this discussion - hymn selection and suggestions for worship!

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