{Scroll to the bottom of this page for videos of Primary songs with American Sign Language}

Type “Music” into the search box on the right for more music ideas!

Music teaches important gospel principles in memorable ways that can comfort, teach and bless them throughout their lives. Using sign language to teach Primary songs increases the level of participation and excitement. Sign language is easy enough for the youngest Sunbeams and yet challenging enough to pique the interest of those “too-cool-for-singing” — 10 and 11 year olds!

Using Music to Teach the Gospel in Primary

Click here for a PDF version of this page that you can use as a handout

1. Come Prepared.
Have a list of the song titles you will sing and their page number; give this list to the pianist before you begin so they can easily and quickly look up each song.  If you’re going to be leading a song you need to know it first!  If your eyes are glued to the songbook you will lose the kids attention.  Spend some time at home practicing the song beforehand.  Using music to teach the gospel is certainly NOT limited to “Music Time”.  Children always remember the songs they sang more than anything else.  If you are teaching a certain  principle in your sharing time lesson, consider teaching the principle  through song!  How many sharing time lessons do you remember from your own Primary days?  How many Primary songs do you remember?

2. Use Visuals.
Make sure the visuals draw the child’s attention rather than distract (sometimes too many visuals can be distracting, or if the visuals are unorganized).  Simple ASL signs can be very effective at drawing the child’s attention and help remind them of the lyrics.  Choose the main words in the song and learn those signs, then teach them to the children as you sing.  You’ll be amazed how interested they can be in sign language; it’s a great way to put those fidgety hands to work!

3. Have Realistic Expectations.
Consider the children in your primary, their ages and their mood on any given day.  Remember the most important goal of Primary and singing time is to let the children have fun while learning the gospel.  Things may not always go as you had planned.  Be flexible and have fun!  When things don’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped, rather than blaming the children for irreverence, first think about your own preparation and what you could do differently to create an engaging, fun, reverent environment.

4. Be Patient.
When teaching a new song expect a lot of repetition.

  • Begin by allowing the children to listen to the piano play the song.
  • Next, sing it for them (you don’t have to be an excellent singer, the kids don’t care).  Take a moment to talk about and describe any unknown words or phrases in the song.
  • Then, sing it again!  Ask them to join you.
  • Consider taking a break and singing an action song or some songs they know then perhaps return to that new song again.

Having the kids repeat the words after you with no music is not usually very effective.  How many of you still have songs from your youth memorized?  Words accompanied by music are naturally easier to remember; it’s more interesting to your brain!  Make sure you make it fun, not monotonous!

5. Plan an Activity!
It’s not very fun for kids if we expect them to sit quietly for 3 hours and constantly harp on them about being reverent.  Make Primary fun!  Make music time into a game.  Children can feel the Spirit when they are happy and having fun. (Click here for a whole bunch of singing time activities)

6. Use Positive Reinforcement to reward good behavior.
Make a point to thank children who are listening and ready to sing, “Wow, I love the way Robert is sitting and looking right at me!”  “I could really hear Amy trying to sing the words of this new song.  Great job!”  This will be more effective at encouraging the other children who may not be listening than saying, “Christopher, sit down and keep your hands to yourself.”  When possible, look for positive behavior and reward it!  You’ll be amazed at how quickly “Christopher” sits up and stops bugging his neighbor, because he too will want to earn your encouraging words!

7. Take Time to Share your Testimony. 
You don’t have to stop singing and tell the kids you are going to bear your testimony.   Rather, weave your testimony into the natural flow of singing time.  Be sincere and express your love for the Savior, the Prophets, and the children themselves, when it seems appropriate.  A few small words can make a much bigger impact than a long sermon.  Also, help the children recognize the Spirit when it is present, a life skill that will help them more than anything!


If the Savior Stood Beside Me, 3 verses

With the following ASL signs: 1st verse: Jesus, stood, beside me, do, think, commandments, try harder to be true (hold to the rod), follow example, live, see, Jesus, standing, “nigh” beside me, watching over, me 2nd verse: Jesus, stood, beside me, say, words, kind, “never far away” near me, share, gospel, speak, see, Jesus, standing, watching over, me. 3rd verse: “He” gesture heavenward, near me, do not see, love, “watchful care” help me, “kind of person that I know I’d like to be” follow his example, Jesus, standing nigh, watching over, me.

As a Child of God, all three verses

With the following ASL signs: 1st verse: came, earth, power, choose, bless, family. Chorus: child, God, receive, light, Holy Ghost, know, right. 2nd verse: feel, safe, happy, feelings, peace, family, love. 3rd verse: my, home, happily (happy), serve (give), strengthen (strength), family, good.

Teach Me to Walk in the Light, verse one

With the following ASL signs: teach, walk, light, love, teach, pray, father, teach, know, right, teach, teach, walk.

Nephi’s Courage, two verses

With the following ASL signs: commanded, build, boat, would not float (sink), mocking, courageous, reply, plates (book), wicked, city, afraid, go, do, commands, know, way, obey.

I Love to See the Temple, verse one 

With the following ASL signs: love, temple, going, (some)day, feel, Holy Spirit, listen, pray, house, God, place, love, beauty, prepare, young, duty (work).

I Love to See the Temple, verses one and two

If I Listen With My Heart, verse one

With the following American Sign Language (ASL) signs: little child, Jesus, lived, walk, listen, words, search, scriptures (book), hear, peace, listen, heart, hear, voice.

My Heavenly Father Loves Me, verse one

With the following American Sign Language (ASL) signs: hear, song, bird, look, blue (make the letter “b” and twist your hand), sky (sweep your hand up over your head to indicate the sky), feel, rain, wind, touch, rose (flower), walk, tree, glad (happy), beautiful, world, Heavenly Father (God), me.

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission, verse one

With the following ASL signs: hope, call, mission (make the letter “m” and circle the name tag area), grown, hope, ready, teach, work.