It appears that most of the 2nd hour of church is going virtual for the time being. In my area (Utah), direction for primary and singing time is yet to be determined. But with Relief Society, Elders Quorum and Sunday School all going virtual, I’m going to assume that we’re looking at a virtual singing time coming soon!
That said, I’m a little freaked out! I don’t do really well on camera! If you’ve been on my YouTube channel, you already know! You can check out my channel HERE (it’s not geared to be a virtual singing time but that may be coming!). Just be forewarned – don’t go expecting to be impressed!
With no singing time, I’ve preferred a more home centered approach these last few months – as that’s what I’ve been posting with my home centered singing time ideas. You can find all of those HERE if you need.
So just know that if you have absolutely no idea how to proceed with a virtual singing time, a lot of us are in the same boat! Nonetheless, we can do hard things, right?!
I’ve been researching how to best go about doing a virtual singing time if that is indeed the direction we head. A HUGE thanks to the Primary Music Leaders Facebook group where lots of ideas, opinions and suggestions have been shared.
Here are a few tips I’ve garnered so far:
- First, you’ll want to figure out your platform. Zoom, Google Meet work well for a live (more interactive) singing time. YouTube or your ward’s private FaceBook page for pre-recorded videos.
- Singing together on a live meeting doesn’t work well. There is LOTS of feedback. It’s best to have the kids all muted at least during the portion where you are teaching.
- Make sure you can be heard. The video may be amazing but if no one can hear you, it’s not worth the effort. You may want to invest in a small microphone if you aren’t standing near the camera/phone mic.
This is the microphone I use when creating my own YouTube channel videos. I’m not sure how necessary it is for a simple Zoom meeting, however. (note that this is an affiliate link below where I make a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase. But know that I only suggest what I love!):
- And on that note, make sure you can be seen! Hold your virtual singing time in a well-lit room or outside during the day. Natural light that comes from outside is usually best. If that’s not an option, turn on lots of lights and use high-watt bulbs.
- So you aren’t singing a solo, sing along to recorded music. Use the church’s Sing Along App on your phone, or the church’s website with all the music HERE. Or maybe you have a pianist in hour home! Use them!
- A weekly virtual singing time might be too often and overwhelming for both you and your primary families. See if the primary can get one week a month. Optionally you can alternate with the other ward auxiliaries each week (example: Relief Society 1st Sunday, Elders Quorum 2nd Sunday, Sunday School 3rd Sunday, Primary/Youth 4th Sunday)
- Engage the children! Use lots of actions, movement (try my primary Yoga cards HERE), props, anything to keep their attention! I LOVED this sister’s comment on one of the FB threads:
I like live Zooms! We’ve been doing most weeks since March. I use a lot of YouTube videos and share my screen and share internet sound, but they can still see me too in the tile box. I mute all the kids and myself too while singing so they just hear and sing along with the track.We do a lot of actions! I introduce the actions before I play the video and then we do the actions together—they see me leading the actions and singing. Cup patterns, scarves (or a dishcloth), rhythm sticks (two butter knives), clapping patterns with a partner, swinging patterns, yoga positions—at home have tons of room to move!We also do a lot of signing. I taught them a few in simple ASL (love Sara Zimmerman’s “I love to see the temple” signs on youtube)!A few songs I’ve gone through the song line by line and they have raised their hands and unmuted and gave sign suggestions. Then we sing it all together with their signs.They love being called on to do little things like choose a scarf pattern or answer a question.We go for 20-25 minutes. The families choose whether to show their screens or not, but at the end I always tell everyone to unmute and say hi to each other and they LOVE that. I love every week being able at the end to say all of their names tell them I love them!Midsummer I posted a map of a little local mini geocache hunt with 8 caches I hid with treasures and a verse of a song we had been signing. They did it on their own time. Then it was fun in the live zoom to have kids talk about doing it.
- Use objects from around your house that most of the children would have around their house. Like kitchen utensils, cups, socks, pencils, etc. Tap out rhythms with spatulas together, create puppets with socks on hands, fold paper into an object, etc. OR
- Distribute musical objects for each child to use! I would suggest individual items found in my music bag: a shaker egg, a wand, a jingle bell, sunshines, missionary tags, a temple picture etc. You can find more information on my Music Bag HERE.
- Don’t let your virtual singing time be too long. I would aim for 10 minutes, at least to start. If you find your primary kids are still engaged, keep going.
- If you haven’t checked out my virtual singing time videos post, I would HIGHLY recommend it! It’s HERE. I’ve been collecting YouTube channels from music leaders who are AMAZING! You might occasionally want to simply share one of these videos!
- Use your imagination then follow the promptings of the spirit! You don’t have to be extravagant to be engaging!
What activities have you done that have worked well for your virtual singing time? I would love to know what other tips you may have! Leave a comment with your ideas. This is new territory for all of us and we can use all the help we can get!!