Did you know that combining information with a melody not only helps a child remember facts, but research indicates that it builds roads between the two hemispheres of the brain—across the corpus callosum—enhancing brain function?
These Family Home Evening lesson ideas add music to the information most important for our children to learn—the doctrines of the gospel.
1. FHE can be a time to ponder the beautiful truths held within the church hymns and to practice singing hymns less familiar to some family members.
*Choose a hymn. Perhaps ask your ward chorister which ones are planned for the upcoming Sunday.
*Read and discuss one or more verses. Have children create accompanying actions.
*Sing the hymn.
*Create a matching game with the hymn’s rhyming words. When a match is made, offer an extra point if someone can recite or sing by memory the entire rhyming lines. For example:
“‘Tis sweet to sing the matchless love
Of Him who left his home above[.]”
*Encourage children and youth to fully participate in Sacrament meeting by singing, rather than merely sitting quietly.
2. Partner music and religious text with service. Stop by the home of someone who could use a pick-me-up and sing a hymn. Who says caroling need only occur at Christmastime? The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is always newsworthy and noteworthy.
3. For families who’d like a rewarding challenge and have at least one member with some knowledge of music theory and musical instrument ability, compose a melody together, using all or part of a favorite verse of scripture for text to sing with it.
*Composing with the pitch choices of C major may be easiest, but remember the possibility of other scales (harmonic minor, pentatonic, etc.)! Display the chosen scale and scripture for everyone to easily see.
*Draw your staff, clef sign, key signature (or wait until the first random pitch choices determine the key) and time signature on a magnetic white board.
*Take turns placing a note on the staff. (Use half notes, quarter notes, etc., that you have cut out to fit the size of your staff, or draw notes with an erasable marker.) Keep eighth/sixteenth notes single while composing.
*Add barlines as needed.
*Check the sound of the melody occasionally on an instrument. Vote on proposed changes.
*Sing your composition!
*Bonus: Add harmony or rhythmic accompaniment!
Build testimonies and brain power as you fill your home with music.
Story by Robin Finlinson, The Arizona Beehive