Category Archives: Music

Introduction of New Primary Leaders: Show and Tell Music Time Idea!

I just got called as the Primary chorister in our new ward!  I’ve served in ward and stake Primary presidencies, taught Sunbeams and CTR 4 and subbed in Primary in various capacities but this is the first time I’ve been the Primary chorister and I’m so excited!  I have secretly wanted to have this calling for years!

I’m new to our ward already so I don’t know a lot of the kids in Primary yet.  I am excited to get to know them.  I also thought it might be fun for them to learn a little about me.  So, for my first Singing Time I decided to bring a few different items as show and tell and use them to tell the kids something about myself and then sing a Primary song that I chose to go with each particular item.  While music was playing, I had the kids play “Hot Potato,” passing an object around until the music stopped. Whoever was holding it got to choose an item from my show and tell display.  I would tell the pianist what song it was so she had a minute to find the page number I had written down on the list I made for her  And then I would tell the kids a little something about that item.  Below are the items I chose:

primary-music-picHere’s the song list for you and the pianist:

  1. “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!)
  2. “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228)
  3. “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008)
  4. “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78)
  5. “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173)
  6. “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95)
  7. “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169)

Here’s the object and explanation to go with each song:

  1. A Book of Mormon–I showed the picture in the front of the book of Samuel the Lamanite to go with “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!) When this was chosen I said, “One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon about Samuel the Lamanite.  I love Samuel the Lamanite because when he was scared he trusted in the Lord and the Lord helped him do hard things.  I get scared too, a lot, but I know the Lord can help me do hard things.  We are going to sing a song called Samuel the Lamanite.  It’s a new song to you because my husband and his father wrote and arranged it.  I think you’re going to love it!”
  2. A real leaf from my favorite plant to go with “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228). I said, “I love nature.  I love camping and hiking and being outside.  How about you?  Do any of you like hiking or camping?”  (Suddenly we had something in common.) “My favorite Primary song is called ‘Heavenly Father Loves Me’ but I always call it ‘Beautiful World’ because it’s all about all the beautiful things that Heavenly Father created for us.”
  3. A picture of my family to go with “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008). I told them about my family. Only 2 of my 4 kids are in Primary (my twins are in Nursery) so they were surprised to learn that my Senior Primary-aged son has 2-year-old twin siblings.
  4. A picture of Jesus to go with “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78) I said, “I love Jesus.  And my most important goal in life is trying to be like Jesus.  But guess what?  I’m not always very good at it and in fact, I make a lot of mistakes and have to repent and try again. I hope you will always try to be like Jesus and know that when you make a mistake you can repent and try again.”
  5. My baby book–I showed a picture of my baptism to go with “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173).  Of course, I might have chosen one of the songs specifically about baptism, but getting baptized is like joining God’s Army so I thought it was appropriate.
  6. My wedding album to go with “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95). I showed them a picture of my wedding day at the temple and told them how special it was to be married there.
  7. My missionary name tag to go with “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169) I told them that I served my mission in Spain and it was the best and hardest thing I did as a young adult.

Next week I am going to sing a few of these same songs and see if anyone can remember any of the details I told them such as where I served my mission or what my favorite plant looks like.  I’d like to also do something similar when I ask for a child helper; I’ll ask the child to share one thing about themselves so I can get to know them better.

It would also be fun and simple to do a show and tell like this to introduce a new Primary Presidency or new teachers or new pianist.  You could potentially bring in one item for each person if you wanted to do several people at once.  I think the kids would really enjoy seeing into the real lives of their leaders who they often only see in church clothes on Sunday and never out hiking or camping.



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Original song: “Repent and Forgive” audio, sheet music and backstory

Download the sheet music  and listen to a recording (with vocals or accompaniment only) of Catherine’s original song: “Repent and Forgive.” (Copyright © 2017 Catherine Doxey White. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.)




Our remarkable guest author Catherine is back! Mother of five children ages 7-22, Catherine loves to sing (very loudly and occasionally off-tune), scrapbook, read, and write. She is the author of the LDS young adult novel, Cupcake Girl (Walnut Springs Press). She has written a few songs, from the silly to the sacred. Catherine writes:

Ever since she was a very young child, my daughter Janie has been very hard on herself when she makes mistakes.  If she accidentally hurts someone, Janie feels so bad that that she cries harder and longer than the person she hurt.  Though Janie is only seven years old, she already has a repertoire of self-criticism to beat herself up with when she makes mistakes.

One Sunday morning I was in the car and was thinking about how to help Janie better understand the repentance process, and more importantly, the deep love that our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ have for her. I was blessed with a gift of inspiration as this song began to take shape in my mind:  “When I make a mistake, I know just what to do—I will turn to the Lord to repent.”

I tried to include in the lyrics each step of the repentance process, from the ABCD’s (A—Admit; B—Be sorry; C—Confess; D—Don’t do it again) to the Repentance R’s (Recognize, Remorse, Repent, Right the Wrong, and Repeat the sin no more). When I shared the lyrics with my brother-in-law, he noted the irony that I’d written a song about repentance that was not about the Savior.  The original lyrics were too much about what WE do to repent and very little about the miracle of what actually happens:  the Savior extends His grace to change us and make us clean.

I stopped trying to cram each step of the repentance process into the song, and changed the lyrics to hopefully capture the humility and awe we feel when we repent.  I changed the last few lines of the song to a testimony of the Savior: “I know Jesus will help change my heart.  Through His mercy and grace, Christ will make my soul clean, when I turn to the Lord to repent.”

I was blessed with another gift when I started singing the words to the second verse:  “And when someone wrongs me, I know just what to do—I will turn to the Lord to forgive.”  This verse required additional thought and prayer, since to my knowledge, there isn’t a recognized process or series of steps for forgiveness like there is for repentance.  The strength to forgive and ability to find peace after pain always comes from the Savior.  His atonement helps us to heal as we exercise faith to forgive.

My inspired friend and co-author, Andrea Landaker, suggested that we repeat the phrase “I know Jesus will help change my heart” in both verses.  A change of heart is the essence of both repentance and forgiveness as we humble ourselves and turn to the Lord.

Though I originally thought that I was writing this song to help Janie, I quickly realized how much I need its inspiration and hope to both repent and forgive.  I pray that this song will help Janie and children everywhere to “know just what to do” as they humbly turn to the Lord in faith to both repent and forgive.


For sheet music, a recording of the song, acknowledgments, more resources, and more information about Catherine (author of the lyrics and melody) and Andrea (arranger of the music), click here.

See another powerful, relevant song by Catherine published on this blog: My Mind’s a Sacred Place: Arm Your Children with the Power of Music to Fend Off the Evils of Pornography!

For another memorable original song published first on this blog, see The Power of Music: NEW Samuel the Lamanite song (with sheet music)!

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Nov. Sharing Time and every day: Add some “scripture power” to your Primary music!

Want to keep children’s interest by keeping them challenged and engaged? One of my favorite resources is right in front of you, and you may not have known it!

Open your Children’s Songbook (CS) and check out the bottom right corner of the page for one or two scriptures that relate to the song topic. Then weave those scriptures into your lesson or singing/sharing time. For example, the November 2016 Sharing Time theme is “Reverence is Love and Respect for God.” Week 4 is “Reverence for God helps me respect and love others.” The Sharing Time manual suggests that you sing a few songs such as the ones below. After each song, discuss the accompanying questions.

  • “Kindness Begins with Me” (CS, 145). Ask: What are some ways we can show kindness to our friends? The scriptures at the bottom of the page are: Luke 6:31 (“The Golden Rule”), Luke 10:30-37 (the parable of the Good Samaritan), and Ephesians 4:32 Choose one or more of these scriptures to deepen the children’s understanding. Senior Primary children can look up the scriptures and read them aloud; Junior or Senior Primary children might enjoy acting out the Good Samaritan story as a child or teacher reads it aloud from the scriptures.
  • “I’ll Walk with You” (CS, 140–41). Ask: Who are some of the people who need our kindness? How can we show kindness to them? The scripture at the bottom of the page is: John 13:15: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” And how did Jesus “do unto us?” How would He like us to follow His example?

In short:

  • Sing
  • Read the corresponding scriptures
  • Discuss
  • Testify

(By the way, are you looking for that catchy tune? Find it here: “Scripture Power“)


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The Power of Music and Sign Language in the home, community and Primary classes

Today’s guest author is Pamela, aka Grammy Pammy, whose motto is Make your influence felt in a positive way. She writes:

Our two oldest grandsons were diagnosed with autism when they were very young.  Aunts, uncles and grandparents rallied to support by learning enough American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with the one diagnosed as non-verbal.  Years later, he speaks as well as anyone—when he has something to say.

With ASL still fresh in my mind, I was asked to help with the nursery in our ward.  I wondered if their fidgety little hands would better focus on singing if they were signing some of the words as we sang. I taught the nursery children a few signs to use during Singing Time.  Eureka!   They became more focused on singing.  Doing signs helped them remember the words to the songs and helped them keep their hands to themselves.

One of the nursery teachers had an older son who needed to do a service project. She and her family went to a local nursing home and entertained the residents, many of whom were hard of hearing. Doing the signs helped the elderly folks connect to the music and feel the joy of being engaged. It was a wonderful event for the singers and listeners alike.


For related posts, see “Why Sign Language?”

“Music in Nursery: Teaching the Gospel” and


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Children as Guest Singers in Youth or Adult Classes

Catch this revolutionary idea in the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way“:

“Consider how you can make music part of your lessons; for example, you could play a recording of a hymn or invite a family or some Primary children to sing in your class.” While this probably should not happen too often, so as not to interfere with the children’s own gospel instruction, an occasional class visit gives the children the opportunity to bear their testimonies through song. Children rarely have the opportunity to share their musical testimonies besides the sacrament meeting presentation.

“Music has boundless powers for moving [us] toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel” (“First Presidency Preface, Hymns, x). And music sung by children, either children without sin (under age 8) or children not very good at sinning yet (ages 8+)? Even sweeter. Such a musical number could be a powerful addition to any lesson.

While you’re at it, have you seen the video of children explaining gospel principles in their own words? Like this one: The Atonement: Children’s Bible Videos

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Bringing Cultural Awareness to Your Primary Through Multi-language Music

Children's Songbook in Kekchi (also spelled Q'eqchi'), one of the Mayan languages spoken in Belize and Guatemala in Central America

Children’s Songbook in Kekchi (also spelled Q’eqchi’), one of the Mayan languages spoken in Belize and Guatemala in Central America

Sure, why not? Music is the universal language. Learning songs in another language can send a message of inclusion to all children, expose children to new ideas and new words, and even relieve boredom!

Are there children from another culture in your Primary? in a neighboring ward or branch? Are any of your children learning another language in school? Did someone serve a mission and speak a language your children might like to learn more about? Is there a favorite General Authority whose picture you’d like to show as a child, as you sing a song the way he would have learned it growing up? From “Soy un hijo de Dios” (Spanish) to “Ich bin ein Kind von Gott” (German), each child can learn that “I am a Child of God,” regardless of what language they know.

Children’s Songbook is published in 30 languages!! See if you’d like to consider ordering a songbook in a new language. Or visit, click on the globe icon on the upper right, and see what materials are available in which languages.

In my ward with lots of Spanish speakers, we alternate between Spanish and English hymns to give everyone in the ward a chance to praise the Lord in the language of their heart, and work to build unity and acceptance.

For a related post, see “What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?”

Just for fun, here’s the complete list of languages in which materials are published at Numbers 89-115 below are entirely new alphabets for me!

  1. Afrikaans
  2. American Sign Language (ASL)
  3. Apache
  4. Aymar Aru
  5. Bahasa Indonesia
  6. Bahasa Malaysia
  7. Bats’i k’op
  8. Bislama
  9. Cakchiquel
  10. Cebuano
  11. Česky
  12. Dansk
  13. Deutsch
  14. Diné bizaad
  15. Dulegaya
  16. Èdè Yorùbá
  17. Eesti
  18. Efik
  19. English
  20. Español
  21. Euskera
  22. Faka-tonga
  23. Fante
  24. Fiji Hindi
  25. Fosun Chuuk
  26. Français
  27. French Creole Pidgin
  28. Gagana Samoa
  29. Guaraní (Avañe’ẽ)
  30. Hiligaynon
  31. Hiri Motu
  32. Hmoob
  33. Hrvatski
  34. Igbo
  35. Ilokano
  36. Íslenska
  37. Italiano
  38. Kahs Kosrae
  39. Kajin Majōl
  40. Kichwa
  41. Kiribati
  42. Kiswahili
  43. Kreyòl Ayisyen
  44. Latviešu
  45. Lietuvių
  46. Lingála
  47. Magyar
  48. Mahsen en Pohnpei
  49. Malagasy
  50. Malti
  51. Mam
  52. Nederlands
  53. Nivacle
  54. Norsk
  55. Palauan
  56. Pampango
  57. Pangasinan
  58. Papiamento
  59. Polski
  60. Português
  61. Portuguese (Portugal)
  62. Q’eqchi’
  63. Quechua-Bolivia
  64. Quiché
  65. Rarotongan
  66. Reo Tahiti
  67. Română
  68. Setswana
  69. Shona
  70. Shoshone
  71. Shqip
  72. Slovenčina
  73. Slovenščina
  74. South Sotho
  75. Suomi
  76. Svenska
  77. Tagalog
  78. Thin Nu Wa’ab
  79. Tiếng Việt
  80. Tok Pisin
  81. Türkçe
  82. Twi
  83. Vosa vakaviti
  84. Waray
  85. Xhosa
  86. Yunkay Quechua
  87. Yunkay Quechua
  88. Zulu
  89. Ελληνικά
  90. Български
  91. Қазақ
  92. Македонски
  93. Монгол
  94. Русский
  95. Српски
  96. Українська
  97. ქართული
  98. Հայերեն
  99. اردو
  100. العربية
  101. فارسی
  102. አማርኛ
  103. हिन्दी, हिंदी
  104. বাংলা
  105. தமிழ்
  106. తెలుగు
  107. සිංහල
  108. ภาษาไทย
  109. ພາສາລາວ
  110. ဗမာစာ
  111. ភាសាខ្មែរ
  112. 한국어
  113. 中文
  114. 日本語
  115. 简体中文

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Music in Nursery: Teaching the Gospel

I peeked into nursery recently to make sure my twin toddlers weren’t still sobbing with separation anxiety.  And to my great surprise they weren’t sobbing.  In fact, they weren’t even whimpering.  Instead, they were mesmerized by the Primary music leaders who visit nursery each week. The music leaders had gathered the children to sit on a cozy blanket laid out on the floor and were singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam with great animation.  They had given each child a bracelet tied with ribbons (called wrist ribbons or a rhythm ring) so the kids could punctuate their “sun-BEAM” with ribbon flourishes.  The children were enthralled.  They were happy.  They were learning the gospel!

I teach music classes outside of church for young children ages 0-3 years.  I love music and know what an amazing teaching tool it is.  But in my professional classes I don’t get to teach about Jesus or the plan of salvation.  The songs I sing and the ASL (American Sign Language) I teach are about animals, colors, feelings, actions, vehicles, balls, and more.  All super fun and enriching stuff. But not the best stuff, not the gospel.

Nursery is the perfect place to teach about Jesus, the plan of salvation and other basic gospel principles through music. And toddlers are definitely not too young to understand.  If they can do actions and sign language to “Wheels on the Bus,” they can do the actions and signs for “I am Like a Star Shining Brightly (Children’s Songbook, 163).  Music is the ideal way to teach this age group!  Want something to sink in and grab their attention? Sing about it.  Take advantage of this perfect opportunity to teach the gospel to these young children through music.  It’s 1) memorable 2) fun and 3) teaches the gospel.  Boom!  That’s Triple Threat Teaching!

So what made music time so successful for my twin toddlers this particular Sunday?  Here’s a few of the ideas our Primary music leaders are implementing now with great success when they visit nursery each week:

  1. Plan a set of songs and sing them for 6-8 weeks to provide repetition and familiarity.  If the nursery kids transition to Primary knowing 10 songs that would be amazing!
  2. Create some physical structure and boundaries by laying out a blanket for the kids to sit on during music time.  That way they know where you want them.
  3. Incorporate movement and visual interest by using inexpensive props such as shakers, scarves, rhythm rings, song sticks or others.

More blog favorites about nursery music: Hands-on Singing: “Song Sticks” and Using Music Effectively in Nursery


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Learning the Articles of Faith: 3 fun ideas

Learning the Articles of Faith as a child will reap blessings throughout their lives. Even if they don’t understand all the words now, knowing the Articles of Faith gives children solid grounding in doctrine that they will understand layer by layer as they continue to grow in the gospel.

Here are three ideas for learning the Articles of Faith:

  • SundayLessons_Front_RGBTry Articles of Faith in Pictures by Jon Forsyth, from page 22 of “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids” (the book that grew from this blog!). See the book for the explanation of how the number of the Article of Faith is woven into the picture; i.e. 5 fingers for the 5th Article of Faith about laying on of hands, 6 temple spires for the 6th Article of Faith about the organization of the church, etc. These clever, memorable pictures help visual learners particularly.


  • A of F posterTry a poster with the first letter of each word. The Monumento Ward in Sao Paulo, Brazil teaches the children in this way (see photo – with the first letters of the words in Portuguese, of course). As you recite one of the Articles of Faith, children can follow along without giving away too much of the words. After awhile children won’t need the poster with the first letters.


  • You can’t beat the staying power of music! The Articles of Faith set to music begin on page 122 of the Children’s Songbook.


Happy memorizing!


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Families in the Scriptures: Musical Clues (Sharing Time or Family Night Lesson)


“Families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan.” Featuring families in the scriptures, here is a lesson plan built on the good ideas in the Sharing Time manual. Download the one-page lesson plan here:  Families in the Scriptures lesson outline.

Adam and Eve: Ask a child or teacher to read this clue: “Our family was the first family on earth.” Then give this musical clue: sing verse 1 of “Follow the Prophet,” Children’s Songbook, 110 — but hum the words “Adam” and “Eden” and let the children guess. Discuss the important role his wife Eve played as their family followed Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Read more (particularly Senior Primary children) in Moses 5:4-12, 58-59.

Abraham and Sarah: Ask a child or teacher to read this clue: “We were very old before we had a child.” Then give this musical clue: sing verse 4 of “Follow the Prophet,” Children’s Songbook, 110 — but hum the words “Abraham” and “Isaac” and let the children guess. Discuss the important role wife and mother Sarah played in having faith that God would keep his promises to send them a child, as their family followed Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Read more (particularly Senior Primary children) in Genesis 21:1-3.

Lehi and Sariah and sons: Ask a child or teacher to read these clues: “We crossed the ocean to get to the promised land” and “Our sons went back to Jerusalem to get sacred records to bring with us.” Then give this musical clue: sing “Nephi’s Courage,” Children’s Songbook, 120 — but hum the words “Nephi,” “Laman” and “Lemuel” and let the children guess. Discuss the important role the mother Sariah played as their family followed Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Read more (particularly Senior Primary children) about how happy Lehi and Sariah were when their sons brought back the plates: 1 Nephi 5:1, 7.

Joseph Smith Sr., Lucy Mack Smith, and Joseph Smith Jr.: Ask a child or teacher to read this clue: “Our son was the first person to ever see God the Father and Jesus Christ together.” Then give this musical clue: “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” Hymns, 26, or “On a Golden Springtime,” Children’s Songbook, 88. Their family followed Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Read more (particularly Senior Primary children) about all the people in the Smith family and Joseph’s remarkable experience in Joseph Smith History 1:3-4, 14-17.

Pioneer families: Ask a child or teacher to read this clue: “We crossed the plains to get to the promised land.” Then give this musical clue: “Pioneer Children Sang as they Walked,” Children’s Songbook, 214, or “Pioneer Children were Quick to Obey,” 215. Pioneer families followed Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Read more (particularly Senior Primary children) in Doctrine & Covenants 136:1-2, 20-21.

APPLICATION: Whatever your family looks like — whether a mom and dad, or just one parent, or grandparents, or whatever — your family can follow Heavenly Father’s plan for your family. You can pray to find out what Heavenly Father’s plan is for you. You can read the scriptures to find out how these families and other families followed Heavenly Father’s plan. Children can be leaders in holding family prayer, scripture study, and Family Home Evening. Remind your parents, and be as helpful as you can be!

TESTIMONY: Testify that the Heavenly Father has a plan for each child and each family, and He will help us accomplish it.

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Video Workshop: Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service

Primary leaders: feel free to share this post with parents, or adapt these ideas for use in Primary. 

So often we hear a lesson about service and immediately feel guilty for what we aren’t doing yet all the while feeling overwhelmed with all the things we are doing.  This post is for you!

How and when do I fit in service to others in my already busy family life?  How do I add one more thing to my already-too-long to-do list, even when I want to fulfill the Savior’s call to “do unto others as you would have done unto you?” (Matthew 7:12) How do I sit through one more lesson on service without feeling guilty?

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?  They rolled off my mind with ease since I’ve asked them myself more times than I’d like to admit.  When Marci and I were asked to present a workshop on the topic, “Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service,” at first we were stumped. The one thing we were sure of was that we would only teach something that would be attainable for your typical busy and overwhelmed woman.  I have felt too much guilt over the years because I just can’t see how to add one more good thing to my day where I already can’t get half of the things done that I need to and want to.  Rather than be another one of those good things that you wished you could accomplish, we hoped to offer realistic strategies and resources that you could implement in your family and community immediately.

Creating a culture of service in our families: that is the goal.  We think we’ve come up with some ideas, resources and strategies to do that and not add to your already-too-long to-do list.  So, after two months of prayer, brainstorming and study this is what we came up with.  We were surprised when the Lord guided us in unexpected directions and led us to go deeper.  So much of what we share in this workshop came from above.  We hope you feel inspired too.  We’d love your feedback.  We’d love to hear about your application of these principles, ideas, and strategies.  If you like what you see please share it!  This video workshop is a live presentation from May of 2015 with 150 women in attendance.

These are the documents we reference during the workshop:

Download and print and get ready to begin your plan for “Creating a Culture of Service” in your family in as few as zero minutes! (You read that right – creating a culture of service in no time at all. It IS possible!Watch and see what we mean.)



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by | January 11, 2016 · 9:03 am