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?
- 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?
- Connect the hymn texts to Scripture verses
- Discuss the meaning of the text and communicate its relevance for today
- 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!