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.
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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