Are you ready to direct your children's choir? Do you have a list of volunteers available to help welcome, escort children on bathroom breaks during rehearsals, and provide snacks? Do you have a plan for putting lyrics on cue cards, slides, or lyric sheets? Do you have an accompanist or are you planning on purchasing accompaniment tracks?
And what about songs? There’s nothing like a song to put an exclamation point on a Bible lesson, or the worship theme or text for the day. Selecting songs is a very important part of the role of children’s choir directors – including music kids will want to sing.
7 tips for selecting music for your children’s choir
- Make sure they are age-appropriate and use kid-friendly language. It’s much easier for kids to sing with expression in their voices and faces when they understand the meaning of the words.
- Include a faith message. It might be the only thing your kids remember when they get home, so send them home from practice and worship with something of substance.
- Help children learn the promises of God and the stories of God's people. Choir can serve as a solid foundation along their faith journey.
- Feature an accessible vocal range. Middle C to high D is a good range for most children. If songs get too high, your fifth-grade boys won’t sing!
- Include motions, sign language, hand rhythms, and lots of “extras” like rhythm instruments, kazoos, bandanas, streamer sticks or sun glasses for your blues number. Including “extras” encourages all children to participate – even the ones who aren’t very excited about singing.
- Highlight a variety of musical styles. How about 50's, blues, island, waltzes, 6/8, country, marches, rag-time, rap, rock, spirituals, traditional, praise, or contemplative? A variety of musical styles will appeal to both your singers and your audience.
- Give children ownership. Pick a familiar song and let the kids create their own lyrics and choreography. Here’s a chance to see how creative they can be and give them a sense of ownership … all you need to do is be a cheerleader!
New music is a must, but be sure to sing a few familiar songs, too. Familiar songs provide ritual and ritual gives comfort to kids. You may want to create a weekly ritual that includes a song that welcomes kids, sends them out, or helps them get their wiggles out during rehearsal.
Do not underestimate the power of the songs you are choosing for your children’s choir to sing. Those songs are going to stick with your kids for years to come! I know they will stick, because I can still remember the songs I sang as a child at my little country church in rural Minnesota decades ago!