This is MasaFukuda (@masa.fukuda), Director of the One Voice Children's Choir, and my all-time producer. He's a genius at teaching music to children.
Okay, so we're not him, but we ARE working with amazing children, and they can do more than we think they can. Just sayin'.
To begin with, I know what you're thinking. "How am I going to teach 3 verses?!" Which might be code for, "What in the world was she thinking?!"
Well, I was thinking that I just HAD to have that 3rd verse, because it's the most beautiful, and because the song kind of 'grows up,' just like a child does. And I'm also thinking about several easy ways to teach it. Yes. Easy.
Here are a few ideas for you, and then a detailed description of how to teach the song quickly -- with NO visual aids:
- Assign each verse to 1 or 2 children (or Young Women!) then teach only the chorus to the group – just like I’ve done on the YouTube video. (By the time they’ve have heard the soloists sing the verses a few times, the whole group will know the verses. Then you can decide whether to use soloists or group when you perform it.)
- Send the YouTube video link and/or the mp3 to the parents of each child. The kids can watch or listen at home, and by the time next week rolls around, they’ll know it all.
- You could opt to teach 2 verses, not 3. But if you do that, do me a favor and leave out the 2nd Leaving out the 3rd verse is not one of the options. (It’s my favorite.)
Now, for the details of teaching the song:
This will take you a total of about 8 minutes to teach, and when you're finished, the kids will know the chorus. I promise.
First of all, I get a lot of people asking if I’ve made a flip chart for a particular song. And the answer is “No,” and it will always be no. I have nothing against flip charts – but it's possible to teach a song without any visual aids at all. And in fact, in some cases, I think visual aids can be more confusing than helpful.
So here is a written description of how I would teach this song, starting with the chorus.
This is the method I use every time I teach a song – which consists of a repeated series of asking questions, singing the song, and receiving answers. And I ALWAYS have the pianist play THE MELODY ONLY when we’re learning.You can add the accompaniment after the children are comfortable with the song. Here goes:
Chorister: We are going to learn a new Mother’s Day song today! I’m going to sing the chorus for you, while (pianist) plays the melody with me. The chorus lists several things mothers often do for their children. While you listen to me sing it, I want you to count how many things are listed. (Then sing the chorus – by yourself, with the pianist playing the melody only.)
Chorister: How many things did you count?
Chorister: That’s right! There are 5 things. Now I’m going to sing it again, and after I’m finished, I’m going to see if you can remember all 5 of them. (Sing the chorus again.)
Chorister: Okay, let’s see if you can come up with all 5 things. (Write the answers on the board in whatever order the children give them to you.) If you're teaching it to a younger group that can't read yet, get their responses and don't write anything on the board.
Chorister: Wow! You listened so well! You remembered all 5 things in the chorus that mothers often do for their children. Now I’m going to sing it one more time, and then I’m going to ask one of you to come up to the board and put these things in the right order. (Sing the chorus again.)
Chorister: Okay, who thinks they can put these in order? (Volunteers raise their hands.) [Andrew], would you please just come to the board and number these things 1-5, in the correct order? (Andrew does that. The chorister repeats the phrases as he puts the numbers in front of them.) For the younger group, just get the answers in order, and keep repeating them all, over and over, each time they add the next thing.
Chorister: Would you sing these 5 things with me? (Have them sing only the 5 things with you.)
Chorister: Wow! You are learning this so fast! You're amazing! We stopped before the last line of the song. Who can tell me what the last line is?
Child: Then I think you’re doing enough.
Chorister: Right. Would you sing that part with me? (Have them sing just that part with you.)
Chorister: Okay -- just like that, you know the entire chorus! Let’s sing the whole thing. (Sing the chorus together. The pianist is still playing only the melody.)
Chorister: Now can you do it if I erase the board? (Of course they can.) (Sing the whole chorus again.)
Chorister: (This is VERY important): Who can tell me what the main message of this chorus is?
Chorister: That’s right. Our moms love us so much and they work so hard for us, and they worry about us. And some days it's just nice for them to know they’re doing enough. Would you go home today and give your mom a hug and thank her for everything she does for you? Maybe you can even sing her this little chorus you've learned today. She would love that.
Thank you for being so reverent and attentive today. And thank you for learning the song so quickly. Now let's sing it one last time together.
*Next week, you can review what they already know, then sing the 2nd chorus and ask them what's different about it. By the time that second week is finished, they'll know all 3 choruses. Then you can decided how to handle the verses.